Young Aboriginal women pitching home runs

27 June 2018
When 20 amazed young women from remote Western Desert communities entered the international standard Perth Softball Stadium in Perth their excitement was palpable.

A pitcher at the national softball trials

Having travelled for a couple of days and thousands of kilometres, the women were overwhelmed to see the stadium highlighted

with their tour name, Newcrest Mining Desert Softball Tour and to receive their new playing kits.

Separated into two teams, the 20 Martu girls played for the Kakarra (meaning East), comprising players from Parnngurr, Kunawarritji, Punmu and Kiwirrkurra communities, while the Yapurra (meaning West) team comprised players from Warralong, Jigalong,

Nullagine and Parnpajinya communities.

Over the best-of-three games competition, the teams seemed to be equally matched. With the first win going to Yapurra and the second to Kakarra, the teams went into the decider with equal chances.

The close game was a nail biter to the end, but Kakarra emerged victorious with an 8–5 win.

The teams were presented with medallions from Ngurra Kujungka’s Program Manager Michael McMonigal, while major sponsor Newcrest Mining and Telfer Community Relations Superintendent Ben Bryant handed the Newcrest Mining Western Desert Shield Softball Champions trophy to Kakarra mentors Sharonette Tom and Sonya Williams.

Congratulations were extended to the tournament’s most valuable player, Antahlia Thomas and runner-up Lynelle Gibbs for their outstanding performances.

Newcrest Community Relations Advisor at Telfer, Daniel Tincknell, said Newcrest was pleased to sponsor such a significant event.

“The Newcrest Mining Western Desert Shield forms an integral part of Ngurra Kujungka’s calendar, with the program providing great opportunities for young Martu women to participate in educational sessions and compete on Western Australia’s biggest softball stage,” Dan said.

The week had been full of wonderful and different experiences for the women from the Western Desert. Not only did they relish the softball championships, they also enjoyed shopping in Perth, visiting Edith Cowan University, doing education workshops at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre, learning to surf and going to the movies.