7 February, 2024

Award-winning Nicole relishes a change of team

Fernvale-based Nicole Rowling received the Sports Award at the Somerset Australia Day awards, after representing Tasmania/ACT in the National Cricket Inclusion Championships (NCIC) at Marchant Park from January 20 to 25.

By Liam Hauser

Fernvale resident Nicole Rowling.
Fernvale resident Nicole Rowling.

It was the second year Nicole took part in the Blind and Low Vision division of the NCIC, having represented Queensland primarily as a bowler last year when the team in maroon placed third.

Nicole also represented Australia at last year’s World Blind Games where her coach was Taylah Purton, who also coaches Tasmania/ ACT.

“I was very thankful for the opportunity to represent Tasmania/ACT, which allowed me to have more game experience than I’d previously had,” she said.

“There wasn’t a spot available for me in this year’s Mixed Queensland squad, so I jumped at the chance to play for Tasmania/ACT.”

Nicole’s best performance was on day one as she scored 33 against Western Australia.

Nicole was sometimes Tasmania/ACT’s most economical bowler, although she didn’t manage to take a wicket; however, she was involved in a run-out.

While the Blind and Low Vision teams had both genders, there was also a women’s exhibition game in which Nicole scored 11 not out.

She also claimed a wicket, dismissing her opponent hit wicket.

Although Tasmania/ACT didn’t win any of its matches and day three was cancelled due to the heat, Nicole said she enjoyed the camaraderie.

“I felt really at home and the players, coaches, and support staff made me feel very welcomed, valued and included,” she said.

Nicole said each state greatly improved its level of talent and skills in the past 12 months, while NSW won the NCIC for the fifth year in a row.

“Last year I was pleased to see how supportive all states were of each other, both on the field and from the sidelines,” she said.

“That sense of community continued this year, and teams seemed even more encouraging towards their opponents.

“Our personal experiences are all very different, but there is a certain understanding between us all knowing what it’s like to play cricket with a vision impairment.

“Every athlete wants to win, of course, but we never lose those core values of inclusivity, respect, encouragement, and camaraderie.”

Nicole also enjoyed a visit from Test cricketers Alex Carey and Nathan Lyon, and she also recognised a number of people from last year’s NCIC and World Blind Games.

“Women’s Blind and Low Vision Cricket is in a really exciting place right now, and we hope to see continued growth,” she said. “We want to spread the word, so more players join us and help build the sport.”

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