ST Georges Basin's Joanne Kelly has recently returned from helping the women’s over 35 Australian team claimed silver at the Indoor Cricket Masters World Series in Birmingham, UK. The 40-year-old, was proud of the way she performed with the bat and in the field, as well as how the team came together so quickly.
“The whole tour was great and I thought the team performed really well,” Kelly said.
“Considering we didn’t know each other when we arrived and obviously hadn’t trained together, we did extremely well to make the final.
“South Africa had been training for a long period and England trained together for three months prior to the tournament. Our team gelled very quickly and we were all excited and felt honoured to be there representing Australia.”
Kelly, who opened the batting and played as wicket-keeper, played nine games on tour against New Zealand, South Africa and England.
“There were a lot of great moments on the tour, from the opening ceremony to playing each game, to captaining one of the games,” she said.
“But for me the highlight, which may seem a bit strange, was South Africa beating us in the final.
“The atmosphere was amazing with a few hundred spectators all cheering for South Africa, my opening partner and I scored a solid 37 to kick-off our run chase of 107. We were right in it up until the last couple of balls but South Africa just pipped us winning 107-99.
“It was so good for them – three years ago they couldn’t win a game but this year they won the majority of their games, including the one that counted the most.”
This trip, which saw Kelly captain her country for the first time ranks right up there in terms of personal achievements.
”A lot of people back home didn’t believe we had a side that would make the final, so for the team to come together the way we did and support and play for each other was fantastic, and certainly surprised quite a few people,” she said.
“We played in the final of a World Series – not too many people can say they have done that.
“The improvement in the South Africans was also pretty impressive. I actually went up to their captain after the final and said “you guys deserve that”. She came back and said “three years ago we just turned up to play but this year we played with heart.”
“That’s what it is all about, continual improvement and playing the game with heart and in the right spirit.”
Kelly will now return to club cricket for St George-Sutherland before pressing claims on further representative teams.
“I am continuing my fitness training to make sure I am in the best possible shaped to allow myself the opportunity to play in the Open Indoor Cricket Tournament again in 2017 for NSW, which is being held in Mackay in July,” she said.
“There is also the chance to play for Australia once again in the Masters Trans-Tasman over in New Zealand in October.”