Australian cricketer Avril Fahey, from Busselton, has been honoured with a medal made in her name for WA's Female Country Player of the Year.
The WA Country Cricket Board recommended the striking of a medal to acknowledge WA’s best country player in the competition with the gong sitting alongside the men's equivalent of the Terry Waldron Medal.
The motion was approved and backdated to include the tournament's inaugural year, resulting in Fahey attending the recent cap presentation for the WA’s 2017 team and awarding the first Avril Fahey Medal to Lauren Mainwaring.
Fahey is one of WA's most accomplished cricketers, having played six tests and 40 one day internationals for Australia, while becoming the first woman to play 150 matches for WA.
She retired in 2012 having represented her state in 164 appearances and having captained WA in 45 of those matches.
“When it came to presenting the medal to Lauren, I got a little bit emotional, because having your contribution to the game recognised in that way was a huge honour, and to see the next generation of women’s cricketers coming through is also very exciting,” she said.
“Lauren grew up playing in Broome which would have been very different. She is a very level headed player, thoroughly loves her cricket and a worthy inaugural winner.”
The creation of the Women's Australian Country Cricket Championships is another avenue opening access to cricket for as many Australians as possible, regardless of gender, background or ability.
Fahey said that opportunity was particularly important for regional players.
“One of the real challenges for girls growing up in the country is having somewhere to play,” she said.
“If you’re a 15-year-old girl growing up in Albany, the only time you get to play against your peers is in Perth, so to have something like this now is awesome and it will be very beneficial for the girls looking to take their cricket further in the future."
WACA Country Cricket Manager Steve Philippe said the initial tournament had been a great success, as the state's team for this year's competition prepared to depart.
“This competition provides an opportunity for girls living in the country and graduating from junior cricket to experience a state representative pathway opportunity,” Philippe said.
“It was pleasing to see how much the girls enjoyed their time during last season’s tournament, and this year we’re hopeful the girls can be even more competitive.”