October 24, 2000

Cooper enjoys challenge

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Robyn Cooper is set for her biggest sporting challenge when she makes her Women's National Cricket League debut for the Konica Queensland Fire this weekend.

Cooper won a silver medal in the women's doubles squash event at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur but made a decision to play women's cricket on her return to Brisbane.

Now in her third season of cricket, she will make her debut for the Fire when they take on defending champions NSW in their opening round of the 2000-2001 WNCL season on Saturday and Sunday.

Both matches will be One Day games and will be held at the Brisbane Grammar School playing field complex at Northgate.

Cooper, an allrounder, said she was delighted to be selected to make her debut after just one season in the Fire squad. "It was a bit of a shock to get selected last year and I am thrilled to be picked to play my first game, especially against NSW,'' she said.

"I've got a lot of improvement to go but I have learned a lot from the coaching I have received so far,'' Cooper said.

Belinda Clark, the Australian captain who is ranked the world's leading bat in women's cricket, will captain NSW. Clark has recently been appointed as CEO of Women's Cricket Australia and will lead the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars in the Women's World Cup in New Zealand next month.

Cooper continues to play and coach squash and will represent Australia at the world open squash tournament in England next month.

"I played cricket and squash as a junior in Mackay but I had to make a decision when I got older and squash was the choice as there was no senior women's cricket in Mackay. I had six years with the AIS squash unit in Brisbane and only got back into cricket after the Commonwealth Games,'' she said.

The Konica Fire will be captained this season by Australian wicket-keeper Julia Price, who warmed up for the opening series with 150 in a practice match against the ACT last week.

Ipswich opening bat Melissa Bulow, an Australian Youth Squad member, has also been named vice-captain.

The Fire team also includes allrounder Sally Cooper (no relation to Robyn) who returned this week from the world indoor cricket titles in South Africa where she was a member of the Australian team that successfully defended its world championship.

Konica Queensland Fire v NSWIS Blues - Saturday, Sunday, Brisbane Grammar School fields, Northgate (50 overs a side): Julia Price (c), Melissa Bulow (v-c), Kelly Klibbe, Tricia Brown, Sally Cooper, Bronwyn Buckley, Angela Farrell, Cindy Kross, Maryanne Brandon, Leonie Shields, Robyn Cooper, Vanessa Pickering.