Queensland is probably the last place in the world keeping the unique, cricket-inspired sport of vigoro alive.
- Vigoro is a sport for women based on the principles of cricket
- It was popular in schools in the early 20th century
- There are just four associations left in Queensland
Ipswich, Boonah, and Cairns remain the last towns and cities fielding teams of what used to be a sport for schoolgirls from about the 1920s.
The principles are the same as cricket – there are two teams, players make runs after hitting a ball, and can get caught out, bowled out, run out, and, of course, the winner scores more runs than the other team.
However, vigoro tournaments pit teams of 12 against each other, not 11 like in cricket, and two bowlers take turns to bowl consecutively – one with a red ball, the other with a white ball.
The bat is shaped like a kayak paddle with a shorter handle.
Fourth-generation vigoro player and Queensland Vigoro Association secretary Rachel Savage told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Kat Feeney the sport was “alive and swinging”, although “not as big as we used to be”.
There used to be eight vigoro associations in Queensland, one in NSW, and one in Tasmania, but just four remain.
Originally marketed as a sport for girls – the hard cricket ball was deemed far too dangerous for young ladies to play with – Ms Savage said some clubs do let boys up to the age of 15 play.
Girls and women, however, were still the target group for clubs.
“We don’t let the men play”, Ms Savage said, but “each club has their own rules”.
“There are a lot of younger boys playing our sport rather than cricket because they all get a go and it’s much quicker.
Callers to ABC Radio Brisbane were overwhelmingly in favor of restoring vigoro’s popularity and one fan, Brisbane physiotherapist David Peirce, shared an image of his mother’s school team.
Sport would be great Olympic addition
Played in a much faster time frame than traditional cricket games, vigoro has been compared to the popular T20 style of the game.
In fact, Ms Savage maintains, tongue in cheek, that the T20 concept was “stolen” from vigoro.
Regardless, she would also love to see the game played at the Brisbane 2032 Olympics.
“We have the facilities and it really is a great sport for all ages, all abilities. You don’t have to be the world’s best player, you don’t have to bowl,” Ms Savage said.
“And, it’s a very friendly sport, although our A grade side does get very competitive.”
The season starts again in October.
More information can be found at the Queensland Vigoro Association website.
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