During the past decade Nagambie’s Kait Carracher was lost to cricket.
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The former junior starlet, who mixed it with the seniors as a teenager, before earning selection as a training partner with Victoria, hadn’t been seen competitively on a cricket field since the start of the 2010s.
It wasn’t until a shift back to the Goulburn Valley and a chance Facebook post that paved the way for Carracher to dust off the cricket bag once more.
The Longwood native, with a surname that is etched in the town’s sporting history, is back out in the middle and doing what she does best.
Crunching boundaries, sending down deliveries and picking up the wicketkeeper’s gloves every chance she can get.
The former Avenel cricketer and Longwood netballer recently and discussed how she found her way back to a sport she loves dearly.
“My mum tagged me in a post when she saw that Nagambie was starting a women’s cricket team and I jumped straight on it and thought, ‘absolutely, I would love to get back into it’,” Carracher, 32, said.
“I rocked up to the first training session and I only knew one person because I dragged her along with me.
“It’s been awesome; they are such an awesome bunch of girls, a really good bunch of girls. I suppose, with women’s sport, there’s always the potential that there will be a bit of cliquiness but it’s so not like that.
“I think already, six weeks in, I’ve made friends that are going to last a lifetime.”
Carracher’s love for cricket started out like most kids.
It began with Milo cricket and playing backyard cricket against her brother.
However, like majority of women and girls, especially those in a regional setting, Carracher’s cricket matches always featured the opposite sex.
“I grew up playing cricket, started with Milo have a go I think it was called,” Carracher said as she recounted her first foray into the sport.
“When I was 16, Avenel contacted my parents to see if my brother and I wanted to play there. That was an awesome experience playing with the guys there.
“I was then lucky enough to play some rep cricket with the North-East Knights as well and then I got selected for the Victorian training squad, but unfortunately didn’t get picked for the actual squad, but it was still a fun and unique experience.
“My last year at Avenel was the 09-10 season ... I hadn’t played cricket since then.
“I played in a very, very social women’s comp in Newcastle, where we played with rubber balls and things like that.”
Carracher has been a revelation for Nagambie as the club embarks on its inaugural Goulburn Murray Cricket senior women’s campaign.
The middle-order star batter has amassed 200 runs at an average of 50 from seven matches.
Her best output came a fortnight ago against Shepparton United ― where she raised the bat thanks to a gallant half-century in defeat.
Up to last weekend, Carracher led the competition for most runs and sits in second spot with one round left before the Christmas break.
Considering that her only experience in cricket ― since finishing up at Avenel more than 13 years ago ― was a social competition, it’s remarkable what she has been able to achieve already this summer.
It is astonishing what numbers she has posted, even more incredible to imagine what she could have achieved if she hadn’t left the game for a decade.
A self-confessed “bit of a slogger”, Carracher downplayed her exploits.
“It’s been interesting. I certainly feel a bit rusty,” she said with a laugh.
“I don’t feel like my shots are being executed as nicely or with as much finesse as I probably used to have.
“It has been challenging at times, the girls bowl accurately ... but no it’s been really fun.”
Carracher’s starring role at Nagambie goes beyond her brilliance with the bat.
Her infectious personality, and previous career exploits, made her a suitable candidate as the club’s inaugural women’s captain.
Quick to highlight the significant efforts of her teammates this season, Carracher beamed as she spoke of how proud she was of an Nagambie outfit that features two previous cricketers.
“It’s been awesome actually, it’s been a lot more successful than we expected it to be,” she said.
“As far as results go we are absolutely stoked with how we have gone so far. Certainly unexpected being a new group and most of them new to cricket as well.
“Super proud of the girls’ efforts so far; as far as a new team coming together goes, we’ve really surprised ourselves and I think probably the community as well with the results that we’ve been able to achieve ... but we’re very realistic in the sense that we know we’ve got some tough matches coming ahead.
“It’s a credit to the girls to jump into a sport that they haven’t really seen before and have got so much enjoyment out of it, but also some really good success.”