Kirsten Smith’s dad used to drive the 650-kilometre round trip from Scone to Sydney each Sunday in summer, just so she could play cricket.
The now 20-year-old continues to line up in the state capital with Northern Districts, has twice donned the NSW Country cap at national championships and even reached World Cup level with the Australian under-17 indoor side.
This weekend Smith’s sporting journey continues when she captains the Newcastle Blasters representative team in the inaugural Cricket NSW Women’s T20 Regional Bash.
“I think it’s a really big privilege,” Smith told the Newcastle Herald.
“To be part of the first Newcastle team in this competition is really exciting and to captain makes it even more special.”
The Blasters visit the Central Coast Rush at Bill Sohier Park on Sunday (2pm).
Whoever wins will advance to the semi-finals of the newly formed eight-team tournament with fixtures scheduled for the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 21.
“It’s a really good opportunity,” Smith said.
“You probably wouldn’t think of ever being able to play on the SCG and then through a regional competition you have the chance to, which is pretty amazing.”
The Blasters squad, coached by Steve Taylor and Tom Anderson, includes the likes of Allison McGrath, Clare Webber and Maddie McGuigan.
The month-long, midweek competition gets underway on October 30 with City, Wests, Hamilton-Wickham and Waratah-Mayfield set to participate.
“It’s really good for the girls to have a stand-alone competition,” Smith said.
“Women from the country can do a lot of travel to Sydney to play, so being able to do that at home makes a big difference.”
Smith said the league would provide a pathway for younger players, an avenue to return or chance to try.