Recent influx of women in Wanaka event

Bella Couwenberg (26, left), Emma Shaw (26, centre) and Fi Brown (30), all of Wanaka, have a...
Bella Couwenberg (26, left), Emma Shaw (26, centre) and Fi Brown (30), all of Wanaka, have a cheeky drink while waiting to bat during the six-a side cricket at Wanaka Showgrounds earlier this week. PHOTO: MARK PRICE
Cricket is undergoing a makeover in Wanaka.

The Wanaka sixes has been in operation for at least 30 years, but in the past few seasons there has been a surge in the number of women playing.

Albion Cricket Club stalwart Jon Lovelock, who helps organise the tournament, said there were 10 women’s teams competing this season and they play in an all-female league.

There are also 32 men’s teams, so it is very popular format of the a game which has perhaps been viewed as stuffy and tedious.

But with a few tweaks and a much more casual approach to the game, the tournament is more inviting for people who may just want to have a bash, and, well, knock back the odd drink or two while waiting to bat.

"The ladies disappeared about four or five years ago," Lovelock said.

"We went from having quite a strong women’s competition to having no teams just through a change of the guard type of thing.

"But about three years ago we suddenly had a few younger players get keen on it again. We had four teams then we had eight last year and then 10 this year, so they play within their own draw now."

It is a six-a-side format with an innings lasting 15 overs. Everyone is expected to bowl at least two overs and you have to retire when you reach 30 runs.

The game is played with a baseball rather than a hard cricket ball and, in the women’s draw, you cannot get out first ball.

"We try and run it with asfew rules as possible ... and it has worked really well. The team numbers have grown for the last three or four years and people love it."

The tournament runs for five weeks before Christmas and for another five weeks in the new year.

The Otago Cricket Association has a multi-ethnic festival planned for November the 15 which will follow a similar format to the Wanaka sixes.

OCA general manager community cricket Andrew Petrie said he was expecting an Afghanistan women’s team and Tamil women’s team to take part.


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