Getting to know Jenny Taffs

31 August, 2016

The ACA caught up with Jenny Taffs on her upbringing in Zimbabwe, recent cricket experiences with Melbourne Renegades and ACT Meteors, recent relocation to Melbourne and her plans for the future.

Your family is originally from Zimbabwe - tell us more about what it was like to grow up overseas?

My brother and I were raised in Zimbabwe where Dad was born while Mum on the other
hand moved over from Dublin, Ireland. Zimbabwe at the time was a very agriculturally driven country, so my family lived two hours out of the main capital city Harare on a Tobacco farm.

The rural existence meant that I went to a junior girls boarding school that was heavily focused on sport; this is where my passion kick started for sport.

Growing up in Zimbabwe was pretty amazing; we would spend the week at school and then on Friday afternoons be picked up and taken back to the farm that we both adored.

What are some good memories of your time there?

Being only 7 when we left the country I guess drawing upon a lot of memories is a bit hard,
but as I had all of my family there we were very tight knit and we shared many good times.

We were always out about helping [on the farm] where we could in the shed or out in the fields. My favourite memory would be our family houseboat trips on Lake Kariba; which I recently travelled back to for a family holiday in June this year.

How did you get into cricket?

Cricket in Zimbabwe wasn't an option in a female sense but my brother was a keen player and I started as a fielder in the garden learning the game with my family.

How did you cope with the move to Australia?

We moved to Australia in 2001, so I guess you would say we are locals now! Moving to Australia was a change my family didn't see coming. Circumstances in Zimbabwe didn't really allow much future growth and opportunity for us as a family, and my parents decided to pack up and leave the country.

It was a difficult transition, not knowing much about Australia, however the move offered my parents agricultural work opportunities, great education and sport opportunities for us.

You lived in Coffs Harbour temporarily then moved to Canberra to pursue your cricket career with the ACT Meteors - How did that decision shape your cricket career?

The move to Canberra definitely shaped a pathway within cricket for me. I grew up in the
NSW pathway system so Canberra was a big move, but the right one in terms of breaking into the WNCL and having an opportunity to secure a WBBL contract.

Last year you played for the Melbourne Renegades in the inaugural WBBL - Can you describe your excitement playing in the first WBBL?

The inaugural WBBL was a highlight for all the girls involved in Australia! Being offered a contract with the Renegades was an exciting time for me and I realised how lucky I was to be involved with such a great bunch of individuals.

Do you have goals to play in the WNCL and WBBL this season?

The goal is definitely to have more opportunity at the elite levels. Playing in these competitions is certainly a privilege for any player and one you must earn. For me it's a matter of working hard and ticking all the boxes on and off the field.

Favourite cricket innings?

During the 2014/15 WNCL competition at Manuka oval I had my first real opportunity to open the batting for ACT. We were playing QLD and I scored 54 against a side of quality players - I learnt many things from the experience!

Why is the WNCL competition important to you?

The opportunity to represent your state is always an exciting moment and one in which you
become pretty proud to be a part of the culture the state represents. WNCL is a really
important competition as it brings together the most talented female players in the country to showcase their talents.

You were fortunate to return to Zimbabwe recently and help coach the Zimbabwe Women's team - is it a goal for you to play for Zimbabwe in the future?

I recently travelled back to Zimbabwe with my family for a holiday and my uncle, who currently lives in Zimbabwe, was in contact with the Australian ambassador who helped organise a training session with the Zimbabwean team.

This was an amazing experience as I saw a different side of the game and it was rewarding to see the talent and work ethic of these players who don't have the same sorts of opportunities and facilities players in Australia. If the opportunity arose to play for Zimbabwe, I would be honoured.

You recently moved to Melbourne permanently and moved in with family? What are your off-field goals with work and study?

I moved to Melbourne with my cousin around February this year as having family support around me is vital. I am currently in my last year of a Public Health degree with a future goal of completing a Physiotherapy or Occupational Therapy degree.

I am about to embark on Beyond the Boundary placement through the ACA with Melbourne Sports Medicine to get a bit of an insight into their career of a physiotherapist.

How do you stay relaxed off the ground and what hobbies do you enjoy?

I often head to my local gym in Melbourne. One of my favourite things to do would be heading up the coast to surf some waves; being from Coffs Harbour, surfing was something I grew up with. As I'm trying to adjust to the Melbourne lifestyle I have also bought a road bike and am getting more into that to keep fit.

How has the ACA supported you in your on-field and off-field goals?

The ACA have recently assisted me through the Beyond the Boundary Program.

Physiotherapy is a profession I thought I might enjoy but since leaving school I have been unsure of what I wanted to do work wise, I am due to finish my Public Health Studies and keen to further my education. This placement will allow me the ability to observe what a physiotherapist does and help me further my off-field career goals.

The ACA have been brilliant in terms of providing medical insurance, educational funding and job opportunities. To be an athlete in any sport is hard work when balancing work life, university studies and training, but with the ACA's support they make the juggle between all of this much easier.

© Australian Cricket Players Limited
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The Australian Cricketers’ Association acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders both past and present.