Up Front by Emma Hart


Girls Can Do Anything. You Just Can't Watch.

As I think I've mentioned before, I love cricket. I'll watch anything cricket-related. Beach cricket, club cricket, kids in the park after school, whatever. When I'm old and my family are all dead, I'll be that weird woman always hanging around at strangers' games. "There's that crazy old cricket lady," people will say, "the one showing the inappropriate amount of cleavage."

When the kids were little, we used to take them to women's cricket games out at Lincoln. This was only partially to counter my son's idea that women couldn't play sport because "their lumps would get in the way". You could go and watch two international teams play, for free, while sitting on grass, with an actual picket fence and everything. In the gaps between overs, our daughter would get up and dance next to the speakers. She can't hear anything under 60dB, so the volume was perfect for her.

Right now, the White Ferns are playing the Southern Stars. This year's Rosebowl series is a Big Deal. According to Cricinfo;

One of the biggest years in women's cricket - if not the biggest year - begins with two giants of the game taking on each other in the Rose Bowl series.

The Women's World Cup kicks off in Australia in just over a month, so if one of these two top teams can get an edge over the other in the Rose Bowl, that's obviously going to tell. On top of that, the White Ferns haven't actually won the Rose Bowl since 1998.

So it's nice to see that Cricinfo knows the series is important. That article is the only way you can tell, because currently they're offering me live scores for an England-South Africa under-19 game. Radio Sport is talking about yachting, because currently there's no sport on. Sky Sport is showing highlights of the Cycling Tour Down Under and a replay of Middlesborough vs Blackburn Rovers.

For the first game in the series, I managed to track down live scoring on BlackCaps.co.nz, and that's what I'm 'watching' now. That first game was tight, and I ended up sitting here compulsively refreshing to see if Amy Satterthwaite was going to get her fifty before the White Ferns won the game. She was stranded on 49*. I still don't know, though, why Abby Burrows only bowled seven overs when she took wickets and didn’t go for many.

Right now, the Ferns are 120/5 and Satterthwaite has just come out to join Haidee Tiffin, her captain. For those as are interested in that kind of thing, Tiffin has a blog at Cricinfo, along with a selection of other international players.

Women's cricket is caught in an awkward position. It can't get coverage because people don't watch it, and people don't watch it because it doesn't get coverage. For all the whining about the lack of coverage women's sport gets, when people turn up it gets televised – look at tennis and netball, because you can. People just don’t go to women's cricket matches.

Perhaps they need to sex it up a bit. Do a calendar. Adopt Australia's 'lesbians only' selection policy. Play in bikinis. Follow in the men's footsteps and use fielding as a strip-tease – something you can see here, here and here. Sprint in beige bodysuits. Something.

In the meantime, the Ferns and the Stars will be in Hamilton on the 6th and 8th, and at the Basin Reserve on the 12th. Imagine how they'd feel if someone actually turned up.

Meanwhile, if there are any of you out there who are, or have been, big romance novel readers, or moderate romance novel readers, drop me an email. I have a couple of questions for you. It's okay, it's just knowledge, bro.

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