Rockhampton’s champion all-rounder Jess Jonassen with some of the participants at the Brisbane Heat Summer Holiday Tour girls only clinic on Wednesday. Photo: Jann Houley
Rockhampton’s champion all-rounder Jess Jonassen with some of the participants at the Brisbane Heat Summer Holiday Tour girls only clinic on Wednesday. Photo: Jann Houley

What CQ cricket star was so happy to hear at Rocky clinic

Rockhampton cricket star Jess Jonassen had several conversations at the Brisbane Heat Summer Holiday Tour girls-only clinic on Wednesday that got her very excited.

The Australian all-rounder and Brisbane Heat captain cast a discerning eye over 40 young players who attended the clinic at the Rockhampton Cricket Grounds.

“There’s been a few girls out here today that have said ‘when I’m a teenager or when I’m older, I’m going to be a cricketer as my job’,” Jonassen said.

“That’s something that’s really cool to hear because when I was young cricket was just a hobby and something I really enjoyed doing whereas now, with the way that the women’s game is progressing, it’s become a genuine career opportunity for players.

“I guess I’ll always strongly advocate to make sure the girls still work hard at school and have something outside of the game but it’s really nice… that they actually have that to aspire to.

Forty youngsters attended the Brisbane Heat Summer Holiday Tour girls only clinic at Rockhampton Cricket Grounds on Wednesday. Photo: Jann Houley
Forty youngsters attended the Brisbane Heat Summer Holiday Tour girls only clinic at Rockhampton Cricket Grounds on Wednesday. Photo: Jann Houley

“I would have loved the opportunity to be involved in clinics such as this when I was this age, there was no such thing (then) as an all-girls clinic. I had to grow up playing with and against the boys for my whole junior cricket. It wasn’t until I made rep sides or I went and played local cricket down in Brisbane that I played in a full girls’ team.”

READ: Jess on top of the world: ‘I could see the joy in her eyes’

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Jonassen said interest in the women’s game had grown “exponentially”, undoubtedly fueled by the success of the Women’s Big Bash League and the Australian team’s spectacular victory in last year’s T20 World Cup.

After playing a lead role for the Aussies in the World Cup grand final win over India, Jonassen went on to captain the Brisbane Heat for the first time in the WBBL.

They made it to the semi-finals, where they were beaten by the eventual champions, the Sydney Thunder.

“First year as captain had its challenges for me but I was fortunate enough to have some really good support around me,” Jonassen said.

“I have a really good working relationship with our coach, Ash Noffke, and there were quite a number of good senior players in the group that I could bounce ideas off.

“I knew I wasn’t alone out there, which made a lot of the tricky and the tough decisions that little bit easier.

“I’m really relishing the opportunity and really humbled to be able to be in the position that I am.”

Jonassen is now gearing up to lead the Queensland Fire in the Women’s National Cricket League, the schedule for which has already been changed several times due to COVID.

She said the team was to play the ACT Meteors in Canberra on January 30 but “anything can happen between now and then with border restrictions and what not”.

“Everyone’s really looking forward to being out there. We had a good break over Christmas after WBBL and I think whoever we play, wherever we play, we’ll be ready,” Jonassen said.

“A lot of my focus is on the captaining of Queensland and the Heat and making sure I can do that to the best of my ability and making sure that I’m as fit and prepared as I can be that individual performances contribute to that as well.

“I think over the last few years I’ve gained a lot better perspective around my game, that there’s a lot more important things out there in life than winning or losing.

“I’ve learnt to enjoy it and I guess remember why I started in the first place.”