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 the 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.
It has been nearly a year since Tasmanian cricketing legend Xavier Doherty officially announced his retirement from the game after a career spanning the best part of 15 years.
Doherty had been a stalwart of Tasmanian cricket since his debut, taking 163 first-class wickets, 190 List A wickets and 62 Twenty-20 wickets on top of representing Australia across all three formats of the game - including a key role in Australia's World Cup triumph.
Although Doherty’s giant influence on Tasmanian cricket is difficult to replace, his wife, Emma, is now playing a crucial role in the development of cricket in the state, with her role significantly influenced by Xavier’s time as a professional cricketer.
Now, Emma holds the role as ‘Player Development Manager’ for the Tasmanian Roar and Hobart Hurricanes WBBL players, providing support for players off-field so they can be fully prepared to perform on it.
“The role is all about looking after the players’ lives outside of cricket and making sure everything is happy and balanced there with work and study, any charity work they might want to do and living arrangements so when they go out onto the field they are happy and raring to go,” she said.
Emma, mother to Scarlett (5) and Eloise (2), learnt a lot about the importance of such a role while Xavier was going through his retirement process, with this inspiring her to take on such a position.
“Xavier recently retired and he used his PDM a lot in that transition period out of playing and it made me realise how important it is to have that support network when you are transitioning.
“Seeing how much the PDM helped Xavier made me think that I would love an opportunity to explore a similar role," she said.
Emma is enjoying being involved in cricket and is making the most of the opportunity to explore what she is passionate about.
“For a long time because Xavier played domestically and internationally our lives revolved around him and what he did.
“I stayed in the background and made sure everything was ticking over. It was hard in itself but I wouldn’t have had it any other way because he could go out and live his dream. He has no regrets now, which is what I wanted.
“Going back into the workforce with two young children is a real juggle, but it has worked out well. I am in my dream job and the fact that Xavier has retired and is around allows me to explore this opportunity,” she said.
Emma, who had been working as a primary school teacher before taking up this role at Cricket Tasmania, was attracted to the role by these experiences, but also through her time as an educator.
“I wanted to get the role on my own merits, but there is no denying that being married to an elite sportsperson, and a cricketer at that, gives me a huge insight into what it is like for the athletes.
“Although I don’t understand the performance side of things, the off-field stuff and the pressure around it I do get because I lived it.
“I thought a strength of mine as a teacher was building relationships with students, parents, teachers and staff and I think it is important to build those relationships with the players and make sure they know that I am there to help them with anything,” she said.
With the rapid growth in female cricket and participation across the country, Emma is excited by what the future has in store for the female programs at Cricket Tasmania.
“I think it is an exciting time for me to come in because the transition is really ramping up to make the female program nearer to the male program.
“The girls are really excited for that and it will be good to see them have the same access to facilities. A lot of these girls are working full time on top of training and playing cricket so the challenge will be to help them make cricket the priority as this professionalism continues.
“These women make a lot of sacrifices for cricket,” she said.
“They are a great group of girls who support each other and it is difficult for them because they don’t all live in the state year-round which will get better when players do start to move here permanently.
"They are the most resilient cricketers in the country. Some of them work 40 hour weeks and then train and then play - I don’t know many other people who do that, I admire them a lot."
This involvement with women’s cricket and the continued growth and popularity of women's sport has only strengthened Emma’s belief that young girls and boys can aspire to achieve anything.
“Working in women’s sport has opened my eyes to sport for my own children.
“Now more than ever I want to encourage them that they can do whatever they want. I don’t want them being female to stop them from doing anything.”