23 January 2023

South Coast man steps in to bat for women's cricket

| Zoe Cartwright
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Karen Motyka with a copy of FAIRBREAK, which will be launched in Moruya on 27 January. Photo: Karen Motyka.

A book written on the South Coast takes aim at one of Australia’s favourite summer sports.

While surfing, rugby and soccer have made strides in showcasing – and paying – talented women, cricket lags.

It’s an issue Narooma man Shaun Martyn is determined to tackle.

In 2013, he founded FairBreak Global, under the name Women’s International Cricket League (WICL).

READ ALSO Ash Barty and the Women’s Ashes at Manuka: women’s sport, bring it on!

FairBreak was originally a standalone tournament for women to advance their opportunities and remuneration in cricket, but now supports the struggle for female cricketers around the world to be fairly represented, valued, paid, sponsored, broadcast and celebrated.

Last year, Shaun teamed up with Moruya Heads resident Karen Motyka to write a book about the decade-long struggle for recognition of women in cricket.

Mogendoura Farm, outside Moruya, will host the Moruya book launch of FAIRBREAK on Friday, 27 January, at 5:30 pm. There will be books available to buy at the launch, and at Curtis & Cloud in Moruya.

man wearing cap

FairBreak founder Shaun Martyn. Photo: Karen Motyka.

Shaun, who is originally from Bowral, was working in events management, booking athletes to play at corporate functions, when he learned how poorly Australian women cricketers were paid.

He was spending $1000 for them to play for a day – more than 20 per cent of what many made on the pitch in a year.

Shocked, he recruited friends and contacts to help him do something about it.

Despite being met with roadblocks, the team powered on.

“There is all this talent that’s hidden away, and they don’t get paid, don’t get sponsored, don’t get broadcast, don’t get the opportunity to play in tournaments,” Ms Motyka said.

“Shaun wants to see that change, he wants to see more sponsorship money attracted to the women’s game in Australia and overseas, to get the financial backing so up-and-coming female cricketers around the world can see a pathway.

“Currently, it’s very difficult to pursue cricket as a woman and not have a proper job as well.

“Most female crickets that FairBreak have in their ranks, outside of contracted players in Australia, have careers – there are lawyers, doctors, engineers, geneticists.

“These are multi-disciplined, highly professional women who are balancing playing cricket as well, and they have to do that because there’s no money in women’s cricket.”

FairBreak doesn’t just want to attract more sponsors to women’s cricket – it wants to do it without compromising on core values.

“Australia is very lucky because the Commonwealth Bank and Rebel Sport have backed them for a long time,” Ms Motyka said.

“FairBreak don’t take any sponsorship from alcohol, tobacco or gambling companies, because they don’t want to be associated with companies that contribute to addiction and family breakdown.

“It’s an uphill battle.”

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Ms Motyka said FairBreak also hoped to challenge the perception that the women’s game is an offshoot of the men’s.

“It’s a completely different product,” she said.

“It’s not broadcast, so the conversation around it is played out on social media.

“The players have massive followings, and that’s where they’re being talked about and celebrated, not in the mainstream and not on TV.”

To challenge that, a multinational FairBreak squad will travel to Canberra on 29 January to play four days of exhibition matches.

They will play Cricket ACT’s Meteors at EPC Solar Park, Phillip, and Manuka Oval in Manuka.

The fourth match will be held on Saturday, 4 February, after the FAIRBREAK book launch in Canberra, from noon at Manuka Oval.

Entry is free.

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