Over the years SO Sports has featured many inspiring and talented young females who share their unique love for the game.
Earlier this year I was bowled over to meet and interview Montanna Farquharson, a Year 11 high school student who balances her full-time studies with playing cricket in Western Sydney.
As Australia’s favourite sport runs in her blood and family, her passion for cricket came as a young girl through her dad’s encouragement to play In2CRICKET. Cricket may seem boring to most females, but it was refreshing to hear Montanna’s take on cricket, how it has positively influenced her, lessons learned and what she is most looking forward to with the season ahead.
Bev: Hi Montanna. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What team do you play cricket for?
Montanna: Hi, I’m Montanna Farquharson and I’m 16 years old. This year I will be starting Year 11 in high school. I am the youngest of three children with an older sister and brother. My hobbies include playing sport, singing, dancing and socialising with friends. Although I love to play a variety of sports, my main sport is cricket.
This is my first season playing for Penrith Women’s Cricket Club. I previously played for Rooty Hill RSL Youth Cricket Club and completed my ten year service there. I started playing cricket at the age of five where I would go for ‘Milo Cricket’ (now known as In2CRICKET).
BB: I love that you played cricket as a young girl. I’m curious to know, was there anyone in particular that introduced you to the sport?
MF: Cricket runs in my blood! My dad is one of five brothers and they all played cricket. It was from there that all their children started to play. My dad and my brother are the biggest influences when it comes to the reason why I started playing cricket. My dad was the coach of my brother’s cricket team and I used to go to all there games before I started playing.
As I got older, I used to train with them and realised that I wanted to play competitively. I started playing club cricket when I was nine years old and only started playing representative cricket for Penrith this season.
BB: Great to discover you come from a sporting family from Western Sydney. How have they positively influenced you to take on cricket as a sport?
MF: Like I mentioned before, cricket is in my family. All they do is encourage me and give me support. I was lucky to have my dad become my coach and always be there at every game. He has taught me so much and I still have so much to learn from him.
My family always encourage me to push and work harder to become better every time. Not only do they ensure I play well, but that I also show good sportsmanship.
BB: Cricket must come with it’s highs and lows. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned since playing?
MF: I have learnt many lessons since playing cricket, one being always be ready because the ball can come to you at any time. Cricket has taught me patience, character and persistence. In order to play cricket, one has to have patience as it is a tricky game. This adds to your character.
It is important as a cricketer to be respectful towards yourself, your team, the opposition and the game. Without respect or discipline, you cannot improve or work effectively as a team. This is where persistence plays its role. In order to play to the best of your ability and work well with your team, you have to always practice and work on becoming better.
There’s a reason why people say “Practice makes perfect”. Sometimes cricket can get a bit frustrating when something is not working but you should never give up because you will get it eventually, even if someone has to give you advice.
Cricket has also taught me the importance of a team. Without teammates, you couldn’t possibly play cricket. You rely on them and they rely on you. Whatever you do, you do it for the team and that’s what I love most about cricket.
BB: You’ve had to balance cricket as well as being a full-time high school student. Can you describe what a typical day is like for you? How much time do you devote to the game?
MF: Like most students who play competitive sports, my week is quite hectic. I do a lot of extra activities throughout the week so I do get quite busy.
An example is when I played futsal for school. We would finish school at 3:15pm, do a bit of homework for half an hour, then we would warm up for 15 minutes before our coach came, and then train until 5:30pm. I would then get picked up and eat dinner in the car on the way to Maths tutoring which started at 6.00pm. After two hours of tutoring, I would go home, have a shower and then do any homework that was necessary.
Cricket takes up a bit of week too. Although I only have one day of training, cricket games are longer than most other sports. I train for two hours every Wednesday, and play on Sundays. Depending on the type of cricket game we play (T20 or 50 overs), the game can go for about seven hours. After most games, I will have to come home and finish off any homework or assignments even though I will be exhausted, but it’s worth it.
BB: I can tell there are a lot of positives you’ve taken away from the sport. Do you think playing cricket has brought any challenges?
MF: Although there haven’t been any major challenges, I am still faced with personal goals that I work on. I find that in order for a cricket team to be successful, each player has to work on their individual performance. During this time, players set goals or have a challenge which is usually difficult in the hope to push them to become better.
BB: When looking back to when you first started playing cricket, any highlights that come to mind?
MF: The biggest highlight that I often resonate upon is the friendships that I built and the skills we learnt from each other. Although we always took cricket competitively, we always made sure to have a great time.
BB: Is there a particular sporting hero that you look up to? What qualities do you admire most about them?
MF: My sporting hero is Lisa Sthalekar because she is just an awesome cricketer who has such a love and passion for the game. Lisa is a very humble cricketer who is competitive but also loves to enjoy cricket. Despite not knowing her biological parents, Lisa still worked hard to get to where she is today which inspires me.
BB: There must be plenty of females out there keen to give cricket a go! For those who are yet to pick up a ball and bat, what advice would you share to young girls who are keen to play?
MF: I would say DO IT! If you ask people to describe cricket in one word, many would simply just say “Boring!” Cricket is nothing as it seems until you actually get into it. Cricket enables you to develop new friendships and new characteristics.
BB: Lastly, I’d love to end on a positive note – what are most looking forward to in 2018?
MF: The thing I am most looking forward to this year is starting the last stage of my schooling life. I know it’s going to be a big step but I am definitely excited. I’m also looking forward to finishing the cricket season (and hopefully making the finals), and getting ready to start the next.