HERE COME THE GIRLS
There's an Antipodean invasion on the way to Dublin this summer with no fewer than at least eight overseas players plying their trade in the Leinster Women's League.
Seven hail from Australia, while Maori Kerrie Tomlinson is the lone New Zealander, who will be joining Clontarf. She is a wicketkeeper/bat, who only took up keeping recently and is already state keeper.
A Level Two qualified coach, Kerry is currently the Coach/Manager for the Northern Districts Cricket Association, including working with the Girls U21, U15 teams. She has also worked as the Women’s Development Coordinator for the Northern Districts Cricket Association.
In November 2016, Kerry became the first woman to be awarded the New Zealand Maori Cricket Scholarship. The scholarship which recognises Maori talent was awarded to her for her work in launching the first women's Maori domestic cricket team in New Zealand's history.
She has cemented her place in the Central Districts side and also played international cricket for The Netherlands in the World Cup Qualifiers of 2011 in Bangladesh.
The Hills have recruited Alana (Lani) Ryan for the whole season and she has played at State Level in Australia. She is here as a winner of a scholarship with the Adam Gilchrist Acamedy, and is a Top order bat and wicket-keeper.
Leinster have Isabella Fitzgibbon, who is a Sydney based player for Gordon Cricket club where Laura Delany and Shauna Kavanagh were based. She is a middle order bat and an off spinner and this will be her first time playing overseas.
Leinster coach Rob O'Connor said : "She will be here this week in time for out Give It A Blast day.
"She’s going to coach our Ladies 3rds and all our girls squads. She’s only 19, but this suits us well as we have a good few girls around that age so she will fit in well. "She’s also a ‘Batting For Change’ ambassador. They are a charity that help girls get access to education, who live in poverty stricken areas in Sri Lanka and India."
Heidi Cheadle returns to YMCA and although the Australia batter/wicketkeeper hasn't been named in the Super Sixes squads unlike the other seven, this is thought to be an oversight, and hopefully will be remedied soon. She enjoyed a successful campaign last year and will no doubt be a strong player at Claremont Road once again.
Paris Crowe from Tasmanian Roar is at Malahide, where the pace bowler will be Women's Coach.
A club spokesperson said: "We see this as a positive step. We have a fantastic girls section and the club are really keen to ensure equality across the board with the same structures in place for Mens and Womens Cricket."
Western Australian right-arm pace bowler Niamh Walsh will be playing for the Dragons in the Super 3 series but no registration details have been submitted for her club side.
Merrion have no fewer than two Australian players in their ranks with 18 year-old New South Wales and ACT all-rounder Matilda (Tilly) Lugg being joined by Celeste Raack.
23 year-old Raack is a collegaue of Merrion and Irish all-rounder Isobel Joyce who she played with for both Hobart Hurricanes and Tasmania Roar. She is a talented leg-break bowler and lower order batter.
2018 is certainly shaping up to be one of the most competitive seasons in Women's cricket in the region.