Wagga Wagga women’s cricketer hosts her Sydney Thunder teammates for clash
Sixteen-year-old Wagga Wagga state representative cricket star Rachel Trenanman is more than familiar with this weekend's venue for the Sydney Thunder double-header against the Adelaide Strikers in the Women's Big Bash League.
For many years it has been her home ground.
"It's awesome, being able to bring the cricket to Wagga is pretty special," she said.
The Thunder are looking for a second win in their double header against the Adelaide Strikers in the southern New South Wales city over the weekend.
Saturday's game, which saw the Thunder claim a 37-run win, resulted in them jumping to the top of the WBBL ladder.
If the team wins again on Sunday they will further increase their two-point lead on second place and home town rivals the Sydney Sixers.
While Trenanman failed to make the on-field XI for either match, she was named in the starting squad for the Sunday game.
As a young girl growing up in regional Australia, the leg-spinner said she did not think it was possible to play sport professionally.
"Women's sport in Australia grows every year to newer heights and it's fantastic to know that young girls can now have female role models and look up to and know there's a pathway for them," she said.
"One day they can play sport at the Australian level and internationally."
The year 11 student has got her feet firmly planted on the ground though and says school remains a priority.
"You can play cricket as much as you want, but if you get injured all of a sudden and you can't play anymore, you've got nothing to fall back on," she said.
Opportunities to capitalise on popularity of women's sport
There has been renewed focus on women's sport in the region in the lead up to this weekend's games.
The NSW Office of Sport held a forum in Wagga Wagga last week focusing on "unleashing the value of women's sport".
Manager of participation and partnerships, and former pro water-polo player, Kerry Turner, said now was the time for local sporting clubs to be capitalising on the rise in popularity of women's sports.
"It's a moment in time where our female athletes are actually shining brighter than ever," she said.
"It's having a wonderful ripple effect and we're seeing sports participating rates really go through the roof."
However, local sports administrators say that it is sometimes easier said than done.
Kate Wickson is in charge of junior development on the Wagga Hockey Board and said there had been a decline in recent years of female players due to the choices of sport available to play locally.
She said it is hard to stand out amongst a crowd.
"We'd love more sponsors because the money is where you get your profile," she said.
"We've found that is a hinderance here in Wagga for us because we are such a low profile sport. It doesn't interest major sponsors.
"We're stuck in a bit of a rut at the moment."