Patsy Fayne: Pioneer giving back to grassroots through the Game Development Program

12 November, 2020

Former Australian swing-bowler Patsy Fayne is passing on her knowledge to a new generation of cricketers at Cooroy-Eumundi Cricket Club through the ACA’s Game Development Program.

Fayne played seven Tests and nine ODI’s for Australia across the 1960s and 70s, and became the first Australian woman to take a wicket at Lord’s.

Unfortunately, Fayne left the game in 1976, after the sport sent her broke, having spent years funding tours out of her own pocket.

It took forty years for Fayne to reconnect with the game she loved, when she was asked to be a guest speaker at morning tea for breast cancer research. Somewhat reluctantly, she agreed, but the response was overwhelming.

“Honestly it went very, very well,” Fayne said.

“We've got the old scrapbooks out and we organised photos from the 1973 tour. Everyone loved it. They just wanted to hear more about women's cricket.”

A string of guest-speaking appearances would follow and with her interest in cricket re-ignited, Fayne answered a come-and-try ad in the local newspaper for the Tewantin-Noosa Women’s team.

Fayne offered her service as her mentor and become and instant hit with a team that up until then had been unaware of her outstanding credentials. Two years on, the team has relocated to Cooroy-Eumundi Cricket Club and Fayne has remained a permanent fixture within the group . Whether it be mentoring at training, organizing equipment and social outings, to even filling in in the field - Fayne has become an intrinsic part of the team’s fabric.

Patsy Fayne: Women's cricket in the 1960s/70s

Patsy Fayne gives a first-hand account of what it was like to be an International Australian women's cricketer during the 1960s and 1970s.

“They're just a pleasure to be around. They made me feel young again and rejuvenated my interest in cricket again. They love being together, they socialise together and they look after each other's kids. It's just a beautiful group of human beings,” says Fayne.

While attending an ACA State Reunion, Fayne discovered that she was eligible to receive funding through the ACA’s Game Development Program, which aims to grow the game at grassroots by drawing on the vast knowledge, skills and enthusiasm of those who've reached the elite level.

The Program is predominantly for the benefit of past players, to support them beyond their cricket journey and to be reimbursed for their time giving back to the game.

Selflessly, Fayne has been re-investing her entire Game Development Program payments straight back into the girls.

They made me feel young again and rejuvenated my interest in cricket again.

Patsy Fayne

“I have spent the money totally on them,” she said.

“That has really helped keep the girls together. I honestly credit the ACA for providing a bit of funding for us. We just use the money very wisely to get them all a bit of gear. Like their own personal batting gloves and bats, most of them were using second hand equipment.”

Cooroy-Eumundi Cricket Club captain Margit Cruise is herself well credentialed, having been a former Victorian U18s and U21s representative. On top of her responsibilities, she is also the delegate for the Sunshine Coast Association, anddescribes Fayne as the central member of the team.

“She's amazing. She brings so much to our team. She's still passionate about cricket and she's passionate about women’s cricket and getting more women into the game and growing the sport for women.

“She's the core that keeps us and holds us all together, and she continues to challenge us as well to get better.”

© Australian Cricket Players Limited
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
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