The Quality Wool Cup is set to be held for the 11th time mid-next month, and Australian female cricket star Megan Schutt is all too happy to be leading the charge.
The family-owned wool company's under-14 T20 cricket tournament will be held at Port Lincoln on January 19-20, with undefeated 2021 Quality Wool Cup winners, Tumby Bay up against the Lincoln Tuna Kings, Far West, Eastern Eyre, Lincoln Great Whites, Le Hunte, Kimba and Great Flinders.
With no under-16 competition on the EP, the Quality Wool Cup provides the region's under-14 cricketers with an opportunity to compete in their own age group.
It makes me smile when I drive past local cricket nets now and see parents practising with their daughters, not just their sons.- MEGAN SCHUTT
Megan, who grew up emulating her cricket heroes by taking "classic catches" in the water on Adelaide's southern beaches, said the increasing number of girls getting involved in cricket was exciting.
"There wasn't as many female cricket pathways when I was a junior, so it's great to hear young girls from regional communities are having a crack in this competition," she said.
"It makes me smile when I drive past local cricket nets now and see parents practising with their daughters, not just their sons.''
Three framed shirts signed by Megan will be awarded to the competition's leading batter, bowler and fielder - a desirable incentive for the more than 100 participants across the eight competing teams.
Megan is a member of Australia's world champion women's cricket team, which won the International Cricket Council Womens T20 World Cup on home soil at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of a world record-breaking attendance for a women's cricket match, with an 86,174-strong crowd watching on.
She also plays for the Adelaide Strikers in the Women's Big Bash League and captains the SA Scorpions in the Women's National Cricket League .
Quality Wool's Kane McKay said the company would continue to promote female participation in sport, which he said was "booming".
"It's our hope that one day we can have a stand-alone Quality Wool Cup just for the girls and give them their own stage," he said.
"And if the girls need any inspiration, they need look no further than Megan, who has gone from playing on the streets with her friends after school to starring in front of a world-record crowd at the MCG."
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