Natalie Schilov is into her 14th year playing for the club and has been a key member ever since her debut in 2004. Like most people, she began playing cricket in the backyard and from there moved onto playing in an all girls’ competition before joining her brothers playing junior cricket at West Coburg CC. She also played Friday Night cricket for Melton South in another all girls’ competition during those days as well as senior women’s cricket for Merlynston Hadfield CC. She has represented Victoria in most junior teams from Under 13s to Under 19s, before playing a few matches for the Victorian 2nd XI and making one appearance for the VicSpirit as well.
Natalie, whose nickname is ‘Narls’ (which came about after a spelling error on a Starbucks cup), came to be associated with the club in her early teens. She has an interesting story about she started playing for the club.
“I was playing for Merlynston Hadfield cricket club when I was 13 and it was announced the women’s side of the club was folding. Shortly after this, one day I was on the tram home from school and I got a call from Reens (Erini Gianakopoulos) asking me to come and play with EMP. I had no idea who Reens was but she said something about getting my number off Squeaks (Emma Wheeler). So that was that. I feel lucky that –A) I even had a phone (haha) and B) that Reens rang me. I am thankful to Reens for my time at EMP.”
As a player and, especially, as a batter Natalie describes herself as someone who adapts to the situation (though she feels Karen Rolton, the coach, would be better off answering that). She is always ready to bat at whichever number the team wants her to and reckons it is her main skill. A piece of advice that she adheres to is “to always remember that it’s just a game.” She thinks that it has had an impact on her when she finally started believing in it.
Her favourite moments with the club, she feels, have been seeing her teammates succeed at all levels - whether it is them getting a ton for EMP, wickets for Victoria or debuting for Australia. Personally, getting a 5-wicket haul and winning the 2007/08 flag are her career highlights so far.
“The 2007/08 flag was my first taste of success at EMP and there were great memories of the celebrations. I have loved being a part of all the success at EMP but the 2007/08 flag is still the original and the best.”
Winning another flag with the club is her top ambition when it comes to cricket.
Natalie was awarded life membership of the club last year. “It was a true honour. I was a big sook when it happened because it means so much to me,” she says.
Her favourite male cricketer is Adam Gilchrist. She found his batting amazing, especially, the freedom with which he played and his outstanding ball striking abilities. When it comes to women’s cricket Melanie Jones and Meg Lanning are her favourites. She says she feels lucky to have played with them both at some point along the way.
Like most cricketers, Natalie is also superstitious but the superstitions change along the way for her.
“When I made my first 50 for EMP I had $10 in my pocket. So I batted with $10 in my pocket for a good while after that. At the moment it’s Weetbix and a smoothie before the game. I’m sure it’ll change when I miss out on some runs next.”
The other sports that Natalie follows are footy and baseball.
“I follow Carlton in the AFL which would be the main team I support. I have recently got into baseball but again, it is too hard to choose a team. Similarly, I don’t really have a BBL team - it’s too hard to choose as well.”
Lastly, Natalie is a primary school teacher by profession and really enjoys her job. “There is always a good story after a day at school,” she says.
Written by Vijeet Rathi