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Young leaders . . . Waitaki Girls' High School pupils Alice Petrie (18, left) and Emma Meikle (17) participated in the inaugural Suzie Bates leadership course. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

They went as cricketers and left as leaders.

Waitaki Girls’ High School pupils Alice Petrie (18) and Emma Meikle (17) participated in Otago Cricket’s inaugural Suzie Bates leadership course.

Focused less on the game and more on personal development, the girls spent two days learning about everything from setting goals and reaching them to leadership, umpiring and coaching. Alice and Emma were two of 13 young women selected for the course, which took place in Dunedin during the school holidays.

Emma said she enjoyed meeting new people and picking up leadership tips and tricks.

‘‘We can take those skills out to other parts of our life,’’ she said.

Emma enjoying learning how to set goals and work towards them, especially when any setbacks cropped up.

Alice echoed this and said she learned about how to work through challenges and how to foster the right mental state to keep going.

The course brought people against whom they normally competed on the field together in a collaborative environment, Alice said.

‘‘It was just a great experience — it was such a good group of girls, and the leaders that took us were really good.’’

The girls were guided by community sporting leaders and mentors, visited by Otago Sparks cricketer Kate Ebrahim, and had regular Zoom sessions with Suzie Bates who was in MIQ.

‘‘She spoke to us about her experiences and it was so cool to hear,’’ Emma said.

Alice and Emma, who are in year 13 and 12 respectively, wanted to continue with cricket in the future and had dreams of one day playing in the White Ferns.

But for now, they were enjoying playing for Valley Cricket Club.

‘‘I just love playing the sport at the moment and our team environment,’’ Alice said.

‘‘We have a really good team,’’ Emma added.