Melton Centrals’ Candace Hulett has achieved a lot in her cricket career and on Saturday she added another honour to that list.
Hulett, who is captain of the club’s third XI side, became the first female to captain a grand final side in the GDCA’s men’s competition.
Melton Centrals played Wallan in the division 4 grand final.
For Hulett, the achievement is more about helping the side trying to win the premiership, than what she has achieved.
“To me it’s another game of cricket,” she said. “I am proud [to be the first woman in the competition], but that’s not why I do it.
“The club thought I was the best person for the job.
“We’ve been the bottom of the ladder the last few years. Results have gone our way this year and the close matches we were losing last year, we’re now winning.
“We’ve had a few new players coming through. It’s a really balanced side.”
Hulett, who played a few games of men’s cricket as a teenager with her dad and brother before stepping into women’s cricket, said she loved the difference between the two styles of games.
“It’s my fourth year captaining the [men’s] side,” she said. “I enjoy the challenge.
“When I told them I was coming back to play men’s cricket, it was going to be in the lower grades to help develop the kids. I’ve already played at a higher level.
“The men’s game is very different to the women’s game. I like the extra challenge of the different tactics.”
For Hulett a grand final win would be the first men’s premiership, after several women’s premierships including one at Centrals.
She said several players in the side hadn’t played in a grand final, let alone won a premiership.
“It’ll be extra special for them.”
If captaining one side wasn’t enough, Hulett is also captain-coach of the club’s women’s side and took over coaching the club’s under-13 team mid-season.
The women’s side made the semi finals of the Cricket Victoria Women’s Community Cricket north-west B1 one-day competition.
Hulett, who is one of the premier players of that competition, said she was thrilled with how the season played out.
“We lost a couple of experienced players and had some brand new players too,” she said.
“The season was beyond my expectations.”
When the under-13 team’s coach had to stand down due to health issues before Christmas, Hulett stepped up and took on that role as well.
While Hulett has coached junior girls at a higher level, it’s the first time she’s coached a boys side.
“They are in the semi final on Friday night,” she said before the match.
“Coaching teenage boys is another challenge again.
“It’s a different dynamic and different group. It’s a good challenge.”
Hulett said she would like to continue playing, captaining and coaching as long as she could.”
Centrals fell short in the grand final. Wallan made 5-137 in reply to Centrals’ 8-132.