Bernadette "Dot" Brasher has devoted her time to improving the off and on-field success of the Essendon Maribyrnong Park Ladies (EMP) cricket club.
In a special Outstanding Volunteer Recognition Breakfast that brought together cricket clubs, associations and affiliations from across Victorian cricket, Brasher was recognised by Cricket Victoria for her long-standing commitment to the world's oldest women's cricket club.
Cricket Victoria's General Manager of Game and Market Development Rohan O'Neill said it's volunteers like Brasher who continue to drive grassroots cricket forward.
"Dot's service to the game and to her club is what makes grassroots cricket so special. It's been volunteers like Bernadette who've enabled cricket club's community reach to grow and the promotion of women in sport," O'Neill said.
EMPLCC has a long tradition of producing players who go on to represent at state and national level, with nine Australian and 26 Victorian representatives to date.
Brasher endeared herself to the club first as a player, where she was a premiership player for the EMPLCC in 2009/10. Her passion then extended beyond the playing field when she embraced the role as club Treasurer and Secretary while assuming responsibility for the club's website and social media platforms.
Indeed Brasher has always held a deep passion for cricket and community, something which was evident well before she started playing for the EMPLCC in the 2005-06 season.
"I come from a cricketing family. As kids, my four siblings and I went to cricket with dad on Saturday afternoons and it is one of the abiding memories of my childhood - playing cricket, watching cricket, listening to cricket," Brasher said.
"My sister Monique started playing women's cricket and not too long after that I got roped in to a match and that was that!"
Rich in history and boasting some of today's leading Victorian players including Kristen Beams, Emma Kearney and Molly Strano, Brasher has been a long-time contributor to the sustainability and progression of the Essendon Maribyrnong Park Ladies Cricket Club.
"As the oldest women's cricket club in the world, I think EMP has endured because it has a great sense of community, we have a great playing group and past players who are still around the club," Brasher said.
Past players and volunteers have helped drive initiatives like the 2011 India and 2013 South African cricket tours. Last year, several EMP members travelled together to England to support Beams play for the Southern Stars in The Ashes.
"An example of this community in action was when Mel Jones floated this crazy idea of touring India as a club. The committee bravely got on board, we organised fundraising and had a group of about 20 people tour in 2011," Brasher said.
Brasher believes that you only get out what you put in. It's a philosophy that has distinguished her volunteer service at the world's oldest women's cricket club.
"For me, being part of EMP means contributing to the life of the club," Brasher said.
07 FEBRUARY, 2017 | Community