By Nick Creely
For all associated with the Parkfield Cricket Club, Sunday 24 November is a date that will be etched into its history with significance.
From humble beginnings just two and a half years, the club’s women’s side has come on in leaps and bounds.
And now the Bandits have added a special piece of silverware to the cabinets, knocking off Officer to clinch the Cricket Victoria Women’s Community Cricket Twenty20 premiership in the South section.
An extremely proud club president, David Swierzbiolek told the Journal just what it means for his club to see the women not only lift the trophy after a brilliant season, but lift the club for what could be yet to come this year.
“The whole club is ecstatic, it’s a really proud moment for everybody involved – it’s great to see the success the ladies had on the weekend,” he said.
“Everyone was part of the celebrations, and the vibe at the club was brilliant on Sunday night – I reckon its given real motivation for the men to say ‘that’s one, how many more trophies can we get?’.”
The Bandits sent the Bullants into bat at Heatherbrae Recreation Reserve, restricting them to just 6/87 after a stellar team bowling performance.
Tasnim Ziard capped off a tremendous campaign with mind-boggling figures of 2/5 from four overs, while fellow new-ball bowler Katelyn Jones (2/19) also weaved some magic with the ball.
Despite losing an early wicket in the chase, the Bandits stormed to victory by nine wickets, with Nimnadi Dahanayake (41 not out) and Mollie Devine (22 not out) cooly guiding them home.
Swierzbiolek praised the group – led brilliantly by Ruvini Perera – for its ability to lift for the big moments against a quality opposition.
“It probably didn’t show Officer’s performance, they’re really well led by their captain Fern Brady, but the girls learnt a lot playing them throughout the season, and sort of put the tactics in place,” he said.
“The great thing about this team is there’s 11 players that can contribute in some way, whether it’s with bat, ball or in the field so it doesn’t matter if someone has a bad day.
“It was amazing that they all stood up on grand final and step up when challenged.”
The club – part of the Dandenong District Cricket Association – kick-started its women’s program almost three years ago, and since then have grown into two strong, and ever-growing sides.
Swierzbiolek said that this was not possible without the dedicated volunteers that have put so much time into the development of women’s cricket.
“Shane Cooray and Ruvini Perera are the two driving forces behind it – Shane has worked hard with building relationships with females from other sports and local girls from the community, and from there it’s grown,” he said.
“The first training session they put on there was only three people there, and now there’s been 41 girls that have played for the club, so they’ve worked really hard through recruiting and getting the message out there that girls can play cricket.
“Shane had that plan, and with a lot of support from former committee members and such it took off.”
With the women’s side set to now kick its one-day campaign on 8 December against Brighton District, Swierzbiolek isn’t putting a limit on just how many women’s teams the club can put together, but is confident with the momentum gained that anything is possible.
“It’ll probably be two (sides), but the premiership should help with growth and put us into Shield next year, but there’s no guarantees,” he said.
“We’ll see how it builds from there – we’ve had a couple more enquiries in the last week about playing, so if it builds so we can go into three, but if not, we’re happy to retain the two.”
Parkfield premiership side:
Ruvini Perera (capt, wk) – 9 matches, 35 runs at 11.7, 7 catches, 1 stumping
Nimnadi Dahanayake – 4 matches, 159 runs at 79.5
Carly Mittermair – 9 matches, 132 runs at 16.5
Mollie Devine – 9 matches, 159 runs at 53, 1 wicket at 71
Yelani Perera – 6 matches, 14 runs at 14, 6 wickets at 15.8
Katelyn Jones – 6 matches, 89 runs at 22.3, 7 wickets at 13.9
Tasnim Ziard – 9 matches, 6 runs, 15 wickets at 8.7
Mebal Kadian – 9 matches, DNB, 1 wicket at 112
Nilakshi Perera – 9 matches, 5 runs at 2.5, 7 wickets at 16.4
Thilini Wimalaratne – 9 matches, 62 runs at 10.3, 5 wickets at 22.8
Rongxin Huang – 9 matches, 14 runs at 14
Hadini Perera-Jayatunga – 8 matches, 5 runs at 5
Coaches: Shane Cooray and Rory Williams
Final score: Parkfield 1/88 defeated Officer 6/87