Since the epic Ashes series in which England won the five-match series 2-1 for the first time since 1987, cricket has grown in popularity around the world, to the extent that cricket bats are outselling footballs in the United Kingdom, and people as far away as Norway and China are getting hooked on the game.
No less an authority than the Wisden Cricketer magazine tells us that South Africa has over 800 000 registered active cricket participants, and nearly 12 million supporters.
There has been much talk recently that an estimated 51% of South African cricket supporters are women. Judging by the turnout at matches throughout the country last season when the Proteas hosted Australia and New Zealand; it’s not a surprising statistic.
This summer, South Africa is getting ready for sizzling action here at home, and you don’t want to miss it.
If you fancy Graeme Smith and his charges in action against India and Pakistan, and you’re looking for some great company, look no further than the South African Ladies Supporters of Cricket (SALSOC).
SALSOC currently has about 40 members, and is always on the lookout for cricket-mad women who are interested in joining the group. The only criteria for joining is to love the game, and have fun at the same time.
SALSOC is run by a small committee and has two co-ordinators, Belinda Class and Fiona Sadman.
These cricket-crazy ladies have become a familiar sight at local and international cricket matches, proving time and again that they are more than just fans, they’re proud supporters.
Wherever the Proteas play, SALSOC are there to support them, sporting their green glitter wigs and brightly coloured tops.
“This season we will be attending as many matches as we can, and are currently planning to visit Port Elizabeth in January to support SA in the Test match.
“As the season progresses, we will make plans to visit other provinces. In the meantime, we believe it’s important to support domestic cricket as well, and we will be seen at all the matches in Gauteng,” Sadman told gsport.
The aims of the club are specific to women. Single women often complain that they find it uncomfortable to attend a game without a partner. SALSOC gives women an opportunity to interact with other women supporters, who share a common interest and passion for cricket and have a lot of fun at the same time.
“It would be difficult to tell you the many experiences we have had – there have been so many memorable ones! A real highlight was the World Cup in England in 1999. We spent three weeks there, attended nine matches including both semis and the final.” They’ve also traveled to West Indies.
Financially, SALSOC supports itself through subscriptions, although sponsorship has been found for some of the colourful attire.
Block bookings are negotiated for members and regular meetings and lunches are organised, where cricket experts share their knowledge and experiences with members.
“Being a member of SALSOC is not only about watching and supporting cricket, but becoming part of a cricket family. We have become social friends and share so much on and off the field. A huge benefit of belonging to the club is having everything organised for you,” said Sadman
“We get preferential bookings therefore ensuring good seats and discounts when traveling. Many women don’t have friends and family who are interested in cricket and sharing the experience with others who have the same interest is great fun.
“Some members are lucky enough to have booked for the World Cup in West Indies. Unfortunately, the price does tend to be on the expensive side, so we hope to make our own arrangements to support the team and perhaps make a fun supporters weekend somewhere.
“We’ve always had a pact that if a member wins the Lotto, then we would all go … So, hopefully SALSOC can still get to the West Indies,” joked Sadman.
The club intends to grow membership and extend its footprint into provinces outside of Gauteng. Benefits and packages for tickets as well as travel arrangements are actively pursued. The club caters for members of all ages and backgrounds.
For more information, contact Belinda Class on 082 565-7497 or Fiona Sadman on 082 686-6111.