Hannah Darlington is preparing for her Higher School Certificate, but the 17-year-old passed her first test of the cricket season by captaining Sydney Thunder to a practice match win over the Sydney Sixers.
Darlington, who is still to make her Rebel Women’s Big Bash League debut, admitted she felt shocked to be told by Head Coach Trevor Griffin that she’d lead a team stacked with internationals, including Alex Blackwell, Rene Farrell and New Zealand’s wicketkeeper, Rachel Priest.
“I never thought the day would come when I was telling people – I wouldn’t say they’re twice my age, but thereabouts – where to go and what to do,” she said with a laugh.
“It was a really nice surprise when Trevor pulled me over at training yesterday to say: ‘we’d like to give you the job of skip’. And I think I took it in my stride. I really enjoyed it.”
The teenager impressed the senior players when she spelt out her intentions for the match.
“Something I said in the huddle before we went out was to simply play it as if it was round one, we’re coming up against the Sixers in round one,” she said. “It really got the nerves out.”
“I think it was great to see some of our younger players get opportunity and of course our older player always step up.”
Darlington, who attends Westfields Sports High, said cricket had allowed her to escape the pressure of studying.
“To be named captain was an added responsibility, but studying for the HSC . . . [I’m] kind of using cricket as my break,” she aid.
“To have ‘Trenno’ [Rachel Trenaman] going through it at the same time is really helpful. We always share advice. [Study is] going well, but we’ll see if panic sets in closer to the due date!”
Darlington said her ambition was to make her WBBL debut this summer.
“That is the main goal for me,” she said. “Sitting on the sidelines for the last two years has been a good experience, but I think it’s my time to jump out.”
Coach Trevor Griffin said he knew Darlington would easily handle the responsibility of captaining Thunder
“Hannah captains the Under-18 side, she’s got a good knowledge of cricket and a very good cricketing brain,” he said.
“She also knows the youngsters as well as the senior players, so she’s able to pull everybody together. Looking further ahead for the future of Thunder, it’s a great opportunity to see where she’s at and how we can help develop her to be a future captain for Thunder.”
Sydney Thunder is set to open the first ever standalone WBBL season with a blockbuster Sydney Smash against crosstown rivals the Sydney Sixers at North Sydney Oval on Friday 18 October.
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