12 January 2023

Jordan Cooper is in a league of her own despite a lack of regional opportunities in women's cricket

| Michael Hargreaves
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Jordan Cooper has been playing in the men’s competition since she was 12. Photo: Supplied.

Gundagai leg spinner Jordan Cooper is no stranger to men’s cricket and said she was not intimidated when she stepped up to bowl for ‘Family’ in the first round of this year’s Gundagai Hogan Cup.

“I’ve played with the boys all my senior years,” shrugged the 20-year-old who joined senior men’s cricket when she was 12 and has since played for the Sydney Thunder Indigenous side.

“I’ve been the only female playing for Family in both T20 and the Elders Cup for nearly eight years now.”

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The Gundagai Hogan Cup is the longest continually running cricket tournament in the state and Cooper’s figures of 2/16 helped her side to a win over Lotts in the first round of the 91st edition.

“The win was great, we started off really good with a few wickets in the first couple of overs,” she said.

“I was a bit nervous bowling as I haven’t bowled in over a year, the first ball landing in a wicket really boosted my confidence!”

The 2023 Hogan Cup takes place on Sundays throughout January, with the final to be played on Friday night, 3 February, under lights at Gundagai’s recently renovated Stan Crowe Oval.

Jordan is hoping her Family side can go all the way and the lethal leg spinner said she learnt to bowl from her father.

“I started playing in the juniors for Gundagai and came up to seniors and played alongside my father Andrew Cooper who was my role model playing cricket as he was a very good cricketer back in the day.”

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While she is comfortable mixing it up in the men’s competition, Jordan acknowledged the lack of opportunity for women to play cricket in the Riverina.

“With women’s cricket, there is not a lot at all around the small towns,” she said.

“You could only play until you are 18, same with high school in the Riverina and there’s not much after that.”

Last year, both the Tumut and Gundagai cricket associations put forward the idea to create a women’s competition.

The idea was well received and building the women’s game in the Riverina was recognised as a necessary avenue for the game to explore.

In the meantime, Jordan is keen to support other young women wanting to play in local competitions and progress to senior cricket.

“I played in the Aboriginal Sydney Thunder team in 2021,” she said.

“I would love to start a women’s team in the Elders Cup to [show that] women can play cricket in the small towns and not just men.

“There’s plenty of girls wanting to play cricket so hopefully next season, we’ll get a girl’s team started so the younger girls know that girls can play and have fun with cricket.”

Jordan’s Family side will take on the Murrumbidgee Mankadders in the second round of the Gundagai Hogan Cup this Sunday at 1:30 pm, while Lotts will take on the Tigers in the earlier match at 10:30 am at Owen Vincent Oval.

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