Meet the girl who gave Peter Siddle a run for his money

A young cricket fan’s dream has come true, after she was selected to be personally trained by two of Australia’s greatest cricket stars. Gemma Tarshis has set her sights high… and Australia’s Peter Siddle and Alyssa Healy are convinced she’s got what it takes to make it all the way. 

For 12-year-old Gemma Tarshis, cricket is in her veins. 

But it’s certainly not in her genes. With a mother from America and a father from Russia, there’s little explanation behind the young star’s cricket obsession, other than a genuine love for the game itself.

“I sort of discovered it from my best friend Mia,” she says. “She was really into it, she got me into it. I used to think that watching the cricket was really boring, but now I find it really fun. I just love playing the game.”

Gemma and her friends have started a girls’ team in Hampton, Victoria. 
And while they haven’t quite got enough for a full team, that doesn’t stop them giving it their all.

“Gemma’s just mad about cricket,” says her proud dad Alec Tarshis. “I love the fact that it’s a girls’ team and she’s a girl playing cricket. I think it’s great for girls to grow up knowing that they can do anything guys can do.”

So when Gemma found out she’d been selected to learn from the best of the best in a Masterclass during the Bupa Family Day at the MCG, she was beside herself.

Watch her wow the professionals here.
“When I first found out that I was going to meet the players, Peter Siddle and Alissa Healy… I couldn’t believe it. And then to find out they were going to train me… I was just so excited.”

Healy and Siddle soon discovered she was no ordinary cricket fan. The talented youngster gave them a run for their money, and hit it for six. 

Starting a girls’ team in a traditionally boys’ sport hasn’t been easy. But her secret to success is the team of people who you’ll find proudly watching on from the sidelines, her family. 

“My family has always really supportive of me and the whole girls’ team. They helped me get the gear, they get me to training and to matches, and they really help me get involved in cricket. I don’t think I’d be able to do any of it without them.”

Her mum Rachel Devine snapped away during the masterclass to safe keep the moments, while the rest of the family cheered from the side. 

She’s introduced her curious younger siblings Kieran and Clover to the game too, teaching them the rules and about who’s who in the world of cricket.

“This seems to be connecting them,” notes Alec. “She’s bringing her younger siblings along and they’re getting interested in the same stuff, rather than playing separately.”

In an increasingly busy society, Alec says it can be difficult to allocate time to spend together as a family. But he says cricket has brought them together, and taught them to see their family as a team of its own. 

“We’re definitely a team because we all complement each other. Each of us has different strengths and when we play together as a team we bring all of our strengths together, and help each other out.” he says. 

“We clash sometimes and we don’t always agree, but then we learn from it. Part of being a team is learning how to make it work even during the challenging times.”

Like great teams, your family is at its best when you connect and support each other. Together, you can overcome challenges and become stronger, healthier, and happier, all by using the little moments you already have.

Young Gemma walked away from the masterclass with an enormous grin on her face, a spring in her step, and the inspiration to continue giving it her all, to get to the top. 
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