The Richmond City Cricket Club has seen plenty of success after winning 20 senior premierships since its formation in 1976, but it is the creation of its women's program that shows that the club has its eye firmly on the future.
In 2017-18, the club took a new direction as it fielded its inaugural women's team in the Cricket Southern Bayside (CSBW) competition, but growth led to the introduction of a second team this season.
Casey Hawley, the club's senior women's coach, who played more than 200 games for the Box Hill Cricket Club at Premier level, was one of the key members in establishing the women's program at Richmond City.
She could not be happier with the progress. "It began, literally, by having a 'Come Have A Try Day' and getting a few girls together before we built it into a group of girls," Hawley said.
Under Hawley's coaching, there has been a heavy focus on development and establishing a competitive edge. Over the past five seasons this has resulted in the division one team making back-to-back grand finals in 2019-20 and 2020-21 as well as a semi-final appearance this season.
The maiden season for the women's team in division two was a bit tougher but the side put up a respectable showing some promising signs throughout the season, defeating grand finalists Richmond Union in round two and just falling short in a couple of games by two and six runs respectively.
"A couple of runs here or there or a couple more wickets and it could have been a completely different season in regards to the ladder, but we're not measuring [success] on that," Hawley said.
Hawley is optimistic about what the future holds for the two sides and the CSBW competition as well.
"The competition that's been created has allowed older ladies and young, professional women that are starting in the workforce or at university to give cricket a go, which I think just as important as those junior pathways."
While on cricket, it was a bitter-sweet weekend for Richmond Cricket Club Premier men's sides. All four teams tasted defeat in round 16, but on a positive note the Firsts, Seconds and Fourths remain in the finals.
In the Firsts, Victorian Sheffield Shield prospects in Jake Fraser-McGurk and fast bowler Mitchell Perry had productive days for Richmond with Fraser-McGurk making a quickfire 31 (two fours and two sixes) while Perry took 5-28 off 10 overs in the two-wicket loss to Carlton.
The Seconds suffered a four-wicket loss despite valiant efforts from wicketkeeper Connor Hinds, who reached his second half-century of the season making 50 off 55, and Brendan Rose who took 4-40.
The Thirds went down by three wickets, ending their finals chances. Middle-order batsman Austin Bauer made 44 (three boundaries) while Chansika Kapukotuwa was the pick of the bowlers with 3-19 off nine overs.
In the Fourths, the highlight was skipper Tyler Walsh making an unbeaten 45 in the 19-run defeat.
An eight-goal-to-three second half has seen the Richmond Tigers VFL team overcome the Box Hill Hawks in tight tussle at Punt Road by 14 points, 10.9.69 to 8.7.55, thanks to three goals from promising midfield-forward Noah Cumberland, all of which came in the second half.
After being delisted last season (before being reinstated to the primary list), Cumberland kicked 12 goals in eight games in the VFL last season with a best of five coming in a five-point loss to Collingwood in round 13 at the Swinburne Centre.
A couple of runs here or there or a couple more wickets and it could have been a completely different season in regards to the ladder- Casey Hawley