‘‘No matter what, you can always be accepted at cricket.’’
That is a philosophy close to Isabella Martin’s heart, and through her new role with North Otago Cricket she hopes to push the idea of cricket bringing people together.
Isabella (17) has set two goals for herself — to get more girls involved in the game, and more areas of the community playing, including people of different age levels and ethnicities, specifically the Pasifika community.
Fellow development officer Jaden Dowling also wanted to get more Pasifika involvement in cricket.
‘‘I really want to push the idea of the game bringing people together instead of it being super competitive,’’ Isabella said.
The Waitaki Girls’ High School pupil said it was ‘‘really exciting’’ to take up the role, and she was looking forward to teaching cricket skills and using ideas she had from her playing days with Albion.
‘‘The great thing about this job is I can expand on ideas I wanted to use in the club and take them out to the community and really push that for different people in cricket.
‘‘I want to make it possible for everybody to play.’’
Isabella’s involvement in cricket began at age 10 when her father, Phil, needed a ‘‘fill-in’’ for one of the Albion junior teams.
She then began playing regularly for Albion juniors before moving on to play for the Waitaki Girls’ first XI, the Valley women’s team and playing for Albion in the summer leagues.
She also coached a junior Albion team, and ran the junior Albion teams alongside her father.
Next year, Isabella will take over Albion’s junior cricket, as her father will be helping coach Waitaki Boys’ High School.
Isabella found cricket to be a ‘‘very mental sport’’ that challenged her from a young age.
She pushed through, finding her ‘‘resilience’’, and now absolutely loved the sport.
‘‘It doesn’t go your way a lot of the time … but now that I’ve found this tight group of girls around cricket I just enjoy playing with them.
‘I just love the sport itself now.’’