Southland girls have the opportunity to play cricket against all-girl sides.

The Mermaids, a team comprising players who live in Invercargill, Winton and Tapanui, are playing in the division two Dunedin Cricket female league. Dunedin teams have agreed to travel to Gore weekly to play the Mermaids at Hamilton Park.

The Mermaids’ first game was against the Dolphins on Saturday.

The team is coached by Jamie Tait, of Invercargill.

Tait said it was a ‘‘fantastic’’ opportunity for the girls as there was no Southland competition for them.

The players were grateful to be able to play against ‘‘like-minded girls as opposed to boofheaded boys’’.

‘‘It’s a bit daunting playing against the fast bowlers of the boys.

‘‘They enjoy playing girls where it’s a bit slowerpaced and a bit more even.’’

Girls only . . . Mermaids Ruby McPherson (15, left), of Tapanui, and Lexie Morris (14), of Waikoikoi, are part of a Southland-wide girls cricket team playing in the Dunedin Cricket female league division two team. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Many of the players had represented Southland at age-group level or played club cricket together since year 8, he said.

‘‘They’ve played a lot of cricket together.’’

The Mermaids lost by 68 runs in the 30-over match.

Player Ruby McPherson said she was enjoying the first game and her bowling had been accurate.

‘‘I got four wickets and a hat trick.’’

Playing against boys had its disadvantages.

‘‘Sometimes we beat them too much and then they get angry.’’