Overwhelming junior participation numbers and a lack of a pathway to senior competition has prompted the creation of a local women's cricket team.
The Eastern Falcons is an inaugural open women's team based in the Murraylands and Adelaide Hills, competing in the Adelaide Turf Cricket Association women's first grade division this year.
Women aged from 14 to 70 years, of any ability, are welcome to join the team, which is being coached by Ben Hull and Bridee Tonkin.
Players from Meningie, Lobethal, Victor Harbor, and Mount Barker are part the team, which plays its first game at 1pm this Sunday, October 17.
Games are a T20 format played on Sunday afternoons, with trainings and home games based at Mount Barker's Summit Sport and Recreation Park and Strathalbyn Oval.
Coaches Hull and Tonkin bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team.
Hull has a long history of playing and coaching cricket, from Milo Cricket through to senior ranks; he is level 1 Cricket Australia coaching accredited and has worked with both males and females in many sports including football and netball.
Tonkin, from Langhorne Creek, has played with both Southern Districts and Kensington, and represented South Australia in Country Cricket.
Hull, along with Lee Spurling, have been heavily involved with the Upper Fleurieu Strikers Girls cricket league which has catered for under 16s since 2017.
With these juniors hitting the age of 16 and having to travel to Adelaide to continue playing, there was an appetite for a senior team to be created locally - "bringing cricket closer to home makes it more accessible to females in the region", Hull said.
"We saw that girls from the Strikers competition could be competitive and knew women based in the Hills that wished there was something in this area - it's very hard for women to play in the men's competition here," he said.
He said it was important to give girls the chance to play alongside and against other girls, as it provided greater comfort and the "ability to have a try without feeling as though you're not good enough", allowing for different standards, and making it less intimidating.
The team is affiliated with Echunga Cricket Club but the goal, with the support of South Australian Cricket Association, is to become a standalone club with several teams and potentially be a governing body for the Strikers competition.
"(We want to create) a club that has class leading gender diversity and pathways to promote the growth of female sport and development of cricket in the region," he said.
To get involved with the team or to sponsor it, email email@example.com or find Eastern Falcons on Facebook or Instagram.
Trainings are at 6pm on Thursday nights at Summit Sport and Recreation Park in Mount Barker.