2024 Year 11 student, Sara Kennedy, recently concluded her first Women’s Big Bash League season with the Renegades cricket team. This year, she was selected for the 2023-24 Cricket Victoria Female Performance Squad, Australian U19 World Cup Squad and U19 female Victorian Country State Cricket Team. She also plays for the Carlton Cricket Club in the Victorian Women’s Premier Firsts Competition.
Having grown up on a crop and sheep farm in Skipton, where she attended school locally, Sara moved to Clarendon in Year 7 upon receiving a scholarship to the school. This year, she became a boarder to be closer to training and travel opportunities.
“Living in the boarding house has allowed me to participate in more of what Clarendon has to offer,” said Sara. “I’ve created friendships with students across more year levels and broadened my connections within the community.”
Sara is passionate about sport, particularly cricket and football. During summer, her family play backyard cricket while, in the winter months, they play football. The time she has spent playing backyard cricket with her competitive brother and sister, she believes, is a significant contributor to her passion for the sport.
In Year 9, Sara was encouraged to train with the Senior Boys Cricket team and soon joined the side.
“In Skipton, I was the only girl playing cricket,” said Sara. “My brother’s team was always short, so I started filling in. Joining the Senior Boys Cricket team felt like a normal progression for me because I grew up playing in the boys’ side. As I could not play for both Clarendon teams, I was a great supporter of the girls side too.”
When considering her options for secondary school, Sara says she felt most welcomed at Clarendon. She recalls attending tours hosted by Head of Middle School, Shaune Moloney, whom she knew through cricket.
“I have always enjoyed school,” said Sara. “At Clarendon, the teachers want to learn and be better and that motivates me. The school has been incredible in supporting me. I have the best of both worlds in being able to continue doing what I love both inside and outside of Clarendon.”
While training with the Victorian Squad, the General Manager at Renegades offered Sara a position as a local replacement player. At first, it was an opportunity to train with the group and not to play. Just a day before their next game, the coach called Sara and asked her if she’d be happy to bowl. She played every match following.
“I’ve grown up watching those women on television, so it is surreal that I am now playing with them,” said Sara. “When I shake their hands at the end of each game, I still can’t believe it. It’s something that will take me some time getting used to.”
Sara recalls a highlight from the season that was not during a match she played, but while she was running water.
“I was sitting on the bench and running water the day the team had a win,” said Sara. “Everyone was so happy. Although I wasn’t playing, I still felt I had a share in their success as if I were a part of the team. That’s why you play sport.”
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” she said. “I started playing a sport, and every team I made I thought “wow, that’s cool”. Then I made another team and took another opportunity and, all of a sudden, I’m playing premier cricket. I’m still shocked that I’m able to do what I’m doing.”
Sara’s story reflects her commitment and dedication to her craft while also maintaining balance in her school and social lives. From being the only female on the pitch in Skipton to, now, a Renegades player, is a testament to her sporting ability and how, through maximising opportunities, you can choose your heart’s desire.
Clarendon are proud of all students who continue to chase their dreams, whether that be on the sporting field, on the stage or in the classroom. We look forward to continuing to follow Sara’s remarkable story.