Like many Australians, Hobart-based 22-year-old Zoe Fenning’s love of cricket isn’t something she thinks about often, with her passion for the sport instead being something innate that she cannot imagine being without.
THIS THURSDAY 8 March 2018 is International Women's Day as set by the United Nations and is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women.
Cricket Tasmania firmly believes and promotes equal footing between our men’s and women’s players, administrators, staff, coaches, supporters and volunteers - from the grassroots right up to the Tasmanian Tigers and Tasmanian Roar plus our BBL and WBBL Hobart Hurricanes.
In the lead up to #IWD2018, we had a chat to local cricket fan Zoe Fenning.
When you ask Zoe how and why she got into cricket, her response is pretty simple.
“My father got me into cricket when I was really young, it is such a part of Australian culture. Ever since he showed me some highlights of ‘Gilly’ (Adam Gilchrist), I was hooked,” she said.
Zoe concedes she is a fan of many sports, but that cricket stands out from the rest.
“Cricket has been a real constant for me, different sports have come in and out of my life but cricket has always remained,” she said.
Zoe and Abby's signed cricket bat collection
As a passionate Hobart Hurricanes and Cricket Tasmania fan, some of Zoe’s favourite memories are from sitting at Blundstone Arena amongst a legion of fellow supporters.
“I used to go to most of the Tasmanian games before the BBL and WBBL even existed. I remember one day particularly fondly when George Bailey and Michael Di Venuto were batting together and smashing the ball everywhere.
“I was a huge Hurricanes fan from the very start, although it was tough when George Bailey, my favourite player, started his BBL career in Melbourne.
“I was a passionate fan anyway, but when he returned it made my passion for the team even stronger.”
Across her time as a cricket tragic Zoe has noticed a change in the presence and role of women within cricketing circles.
“I did get asked a bit when I was younger why I enjoyed such a long sport and other people assuming I only passingly liked cricket– but that wasn’t the case, it just means so much to me.
“Now cricket seems to be a much more common sport for all people to love and you see such a variety of people now getting behind it all. The success of the Hobart Hurricanes as both a men’s and women’s club seems to only be making cricket's broad appeal and acceptance even stronger," she said.
This rise in popularity and the improved acceptance of women in cricket is inspiring to Zoe, especially with the development of local Tasmanian cricketers.
“Sport as a whole is changing; female athletes are being accepted more and more as the exceptional athletes they are.
“The Hurricanes girls are killing it. Someone like Erin Fazackerley, who is from Hobart, is a gun and it is great to see local talent doing so well on a big stage.
“Unlike some other sports the Hurricanes and the Tasmanian teams seem to be closer and tighter to the community, I don’t know of many other sports on such a big level that are as inclusive and accessible for fans,” she said.
When asked what cricket, and the Hobart Hurricanes mean to her, Zoe’s answer was emphatic.
“Cricket is just a part of my summer life. It appeals to me on so many different levels and when November comes around the anticipation builds again for another big few months.
“I just love cricket, and I love the Canes.”