By SAMUEL DARROCH
STAYING indoors has proved anything but counter-productive for the sporting aspirations of Traralgon female cricket duo Jaimi Turnbull and Maddy Mackin.
The Sports Education and Development Australia students were recently selected in the Victorian under 20 female indoor cricket team to contest the national titles in Queensland from 21 to 27 July.
With almost two decades of outdoor cricket experience between them, including a season in Melbourne Premier Cricket last year, the Gippsland Pride representative regulars were fast tracked into the Victorian side after impressing selectors at state training sessions.
“Through outdoor you get the skills for indoor and they sort of transfer over,” Jaimi said.
While equipped with the basics, both girls admitted there were adjustments that needed to be made within the confines of the net.
“It’s a lot faster… I’m used to playing outdoor everything you would hit up and over, with this, you’ve got to hit it straight down and play everything to the floor,” Jaimi said.
“You come in (to bowl) and you’ve got to stop suddenly to catch the ball because if you run through… the ball is coming straight back at your face.”
Along with the speed of the game, Maddy, a newcomer to the format, said indoor cricket promoted a collective focus.
“Everyone’s always in together (so) it feels more like you’re playing in a team where in outdoor it can get more individual sometimes,” she said.
Batting in partnerships was another nuance of significance, posing a change from the primarily individual nature of the outdoor equivalent.
“You can make quicker runs, but you’ve got to know the person better than in outdoor when you can get stuck with someone you don’t really know,” Jaimi said.
Both girls have an impressive track record in cricketing circles.
Eighteen year-old Jaimi is a former Leongatha women’s captain and starred in Melbourne Cricket Club’s debut premier cricket season last year.
The left-armer was on a hat-trick twice throughout the season and scored the winning runs in the club’s maiden victory.
With 10 years of cricket experience, wicket-keeping all-rounder Maddy played a handful of premier games for division two side Ringwood before missing the bulk of the season through injury.
The girls also featured in Gippsland Pride’s under 18 State Championship team, which defeated South East Metro for the title at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in February.
Jaimi took up indoor in early 2012 playing A grade domestically against men, and soon joined Traralgon’s Superleague division three side, while Maddy played her first top grade indoor match this year.
With aspirations of representing Australia, the girls will get their first opportunity in Queensland, with national selectors on hand for the indoor championships.
“For me it’s (about) the exposure and just the experience of playing for Victoria, being able to represent our state in the sport that we both love,” Maddy said.
Both players hope to use their new indoor skills to further their claim for Australian outdoor representation, a program which recently received a significant financial boost for its previously underpaid cricketers.
“That’s everyone’s aim who plays the sport – to represent the country,” Jaimi said.
The pair is busily raising funds for their trip north, requiring $1500 each to make the journey, and will raffle off prizes on 29 June in conjunction with a Traralgon Superleague fixture at Traralgon Indoor Sports and Aquatic Centre.
Donations of prizes or funds for the girls’ trip can be made by phoning Jaimi on 0400 693 527.