This week we travel back to 1994 Victoria’s Under 19 Women won the Elinor McKenzie Shield in Adelaide. We caught up with team Captain Shelley Gwynne and asked her to share her memories of a special tournament.
SV: The Victorian team went through the tournament undefeated and won all of the individual tournament awards. What was it like to lead such an amazing team as Captain?
SG: “It was such an honour to be selected as Captain of such a wonderful group of talented softballers. We were able to unite both on and off the field, which meant we could focus on every little milestone at training to arrive at our ultimate destination. It was quite easy to lead the team for this reason; we all cared about bringing the best out in each other so there wasn’t any politics or individual egos which would’ve otherwise been very distracting. I was reminded recently that a Victorian women’s team has never achieved what we did, which makes it even more special. I cannot begin to describe the feeling of being undefeated, Victoria was always the underdogs but boy did we fight hard. The individual awards are something you never ever strive for so they were just the cherry on top. The team medals we all received was our gift of thanks to each other, all our management team, our families and friends as we sacrificed a lot to get there as a collective group.
SV: Were there any notable highlights from the tournament that you remember?
SG: “Our hard fought underdog win over the favourites NSW and QLD through the week. Also we played SA at night, it was titled “Kick a Vic” night where Adelaide had 99% of the supporters who were very vocal (think they just lost the rights to host the Grand Prix too). It was an arm wrestle of a match where we continued to push each inning to get finally over the line. Amazing win!”
SV: What was the team’s preparation like leading into the tournament and what impact did the coaching staff have on the team?
SG:” The Coach – Andy Bailey was WELL ahead of his time, he was able to give us an incredible belief in ourselves, our ability and our journey. He was extremely intelligent, organised, strategic, bold and a man of his word. He pushed us hard but we loved it and he dedicated his personal time outside of training to train you harder. He was outstanding and he built a management team to support his goals, they too were full of passion and hard work. We could turn to each and every one of them for support at any time which was second to none. Unbelievable TEAM effort.”
SV: Do you have any advice for the State representatives of today?
SG: “If you’re genuine about striving for team success, be prepared to put your ego aside and work extremely hard together as one disciplined unit. Dream big, be professional and respect those around you. There’s nothing greater than sharing a victory with those who put in the hard yards every step of the way with you.”