Australian and Sydney Sixers star Lauren Cheatle was delighted to discover that almost half the young cricketers under her charge at Robins Oval on Tuesday were girls.
"It's incredible, really great to see so many girls here to take part especially in the beginners group," Cheattle said at the Sixers Community Bash in summer-like conditions.
The Community Bash signals the start is near for both the national as well as state competitions and officials will be delighted in the number of youngsters on hand excitedly catching up with the Sixers male and female stars.
Cheatle was joined by fellow Sixers players Daniel Hughes and Jack Edwards as well as NSW player Harry Conway at Robins Oval on Saturday.
Cheatle was a valuable member of the club's powerful WBBL team that finished as the runner-up in WBBL|04 and said she hoped the Hunter could get behind the Sixers this summer.
The signs are good with plenty of the young fans donning Sixers pink shirts, although their was the odd green shirt of BBL rivals the Sydney Thunder.
Cheatle said involvement in the Community Bash was always great fun but it was all the more exciting each year with the involvement of more and more girls.
A left-arm fast bowler Cheatle said women's cricket was at an exciting stage of its development with a stand-alone WBBL competition this year and players able to play as full-time professionals.
"The pathways for younger girls in the sport are so much better now. When I started it was really a case of playing with a boys team in your junior years to play cricket each week," she said.
"To see the excitement on the boys and girls faces today is just fantastic. Cricket is now very much a game for boys and girls, men and women."
The Maitland and District Junior Cricket Association competition 2019-20 season starts on October 19 and the exciting new Sixers Girls Cricket League competition stars on Friday, November 1.
Cricket NSW Hunter cricket manager Gary Fisher all Maitland district cricket clubs would be invited to enter a team or teams in the Sixers Girls Cricket League which would be run on Friday nights.
"These matches are played on a modified format over a shorter time with rules to ensure maximum engagement and participation by every player," Fisher said.
"Younger girls and boys will continued to be introduced to cricket through the Junior and Master Blast programs."
Fisher encouraged parents to head to the playcricket.com.au website for contact details for their nearest cricket club and the types of programs on offer.
He said Junior and Master Blast programs were virtually fully covered by the Active Kids Voucher and the voucher covered most costs for registration in the weekly junior cricket competitions.
A Women's Social League will also be trialled this year probably on Friday nights.