Rebecca Maher capped off a stellar 2020/21 ACT Cricket season with North Canberra Gungahlin Cricket Club when taking home the SJ Moore Medal and the title of the women’s player of the year at their awards ceremony on Thursday night.
The 32-year-old was in sublime form throughout the season, scoring 422 runs at an average of 105.5, and the wicket-keeping batswomen proved hard to remove at times, scoring 103 not out against Ginninderra in round nine, while also adding scores of 74, 57, 54 and 52.
The Adelong product, who moved to Canberra in 2005, has now won three SJ Moore Medals, with her first two arriving in the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons.
“It was special, I’m not sort of big on awards, but it was pretty cool to think I came over here as a 17-year-old kid, who knew nothing about the world and won the award, and 15 years later, now being married and with a kid, I’ve won it three times,” Maher said.
“It was pretty awesome and pretty humbling.”
Unfortunately, North Canberra Gungahlin didn’t make finals this season, but Maher hoped some good results set the platform for further improvement in 2021/22.
“It was a tough finish. We needed to win the last game of the round to make the finals and we got done by three runs and it stung,” Maher said.
“We went close, we went a lot better than previous years, but hopefully that’s a good starting block for them moving forward.”
Maher’s journey in Canberra is a story in itself, with a third SJ Moore medal just another feather to this gifted athlete’s bow.
After a strong start to her cricketing career, which saw Maher named in the Australian Shooting Stars squad, the sporting allrounder took on the challenge of rugby, playing for the Queanbeyan Whites and representing ACT in the National Championship between 2009 and 2013.
In 2014, Maher returned to cricket after five years of rugby, debuting for the ACT Meteors in the Women’s National Cricket League
Maher has since retired from representative cricket, instead playing the occasional game for North Canberra Gungahlin before committing to one final season in 2020/21.
“After playing with the Meteors, I retired from professional cricket, and after my wife Carly I had a little girl in 2016 (Charli), I stopped playing consistent cricket then, and I only was just helping out when they needed me,” Maher said.
“But I committed to helping the club for a full season this year and I really enjoyed it.”
Maher proved she still had plenty to offer, recording one of her best seasons with the bat and gloves, but the ACT player of the year was just happy to be helping the next generation of stars get their footing in the strong competition.
“I did enjoy it, but I’ve had a lot of issues with my body, and it was tough at times, but I’ve still got the competitive spark in me,” Maher said.
“It was good to help a lot of young kids in our side and the comp in general.
“The girls in that 16-17 (years) age bracket, there is a lot of them coming through and the standard of those girls is huge compared to when I came through, and it was good to be able to work with a lot of them.”
Despite a sensational return to fulltime cricket, Maher is ready to hang up the gloves and plans to spend more time with her family back in Adelong, with only the occasional game of cricket on the agenda.
“I’m done, at the awards night, everyone kept saying, ‘you’ll go one more, just one more’, but no, I’m finished,” Maher laughed.
“I’ve got a boat; I’ve got fishing to do. I want to take dad fishing because I’m still big on family and getting back home when I can.”
“If they’re (Northern Canberra Gungahlin) are short, maybe I’ll play the odd game, but I tend to get itchy feet when I play, so I’ll try and avoid it.”