Sydney Thunder’s wicket keeper Tahlia Wilson credited tinkering she did to her stance behind the stumps for working wonders for her game – and hips – in the opening weeks of the rebel Women’s Big Bash League.
The 21-year-old has been in scintillating form, with four of the five dismissals she’s completed coming via snappy stumpings off Sam Bates’s deceptive left-arm spin. She also revealed she was thriving on the responsibility the team had entrusted her with.
“It’s been really good for me to be able grab the gloves this year,” said Wilson ahead of Wednesday night’s match against Brisbane Heat at Blacktown International Sportspark.
“Last year I was in the team but didn’t quite have the gloves, so this year it’s been a pretty good challenge. I’ve felt comfortable behind the stumps, which is good; a few nerves in the first few games because it was the first time in a while I’d kept.
“But all-in-all it’s really good and being able to help our skipper Rachael Haynes with field placements is a really good responsibility to have.”
Wilson, who celebrated her 21st birthday in the WBBL bubble, said the many hours she'd spent working with NSW Breakers wicket keeping coach Dan Smith during the off-season had already paid off.
“I think I’ve come a long way from last year,” she said. “I’ve changed my stance so instead of starting in the full squat, I start in a more powerful position. It’s really saving my hips - and they’re thanking me for it – and that makes me more powerful as well.
“I’m trying to catch with opened hips because it allows a bit more ‘give’ ,so when there’s that thick nick or there’s a full ball you can stay nice and relaxed and feel a good rhythm.”
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Thunder coach Trevor Griffin said the amount of effort Wilson invests in each game was appreciated by the team.
“Tahlia was champing at the bit last year to go with the gloves, and she’s taken on that role fantastically for us,” he said. “She’s made a slight tweak to her stance and I think that’s really benefited her.
“It’s not just the work she’s doing with the gloves. If you watch closely, she’s picking up the angles, she makes adjustments within the field, and she’s getting the team through the overs.
“We often talk about the drummer in the band, and Tahlia is certainly driving the beat for Thunder.”
When Griffin reflected on last weekend’s two hard fought matches – Thunder lost to Melbourne Renegades by two runs before bouncing back to defeat the Hurricanes by one run – he said fans saw the true character of his squad.
“The squad is in a great place, and we’ve made no changes to it for the Heat,” he said. “The character we’ve displayed – especially in the last game against Hobart where I thought Hannah Darlington [who, at 18, bowled the last over with the game on the line] was incredible.
“Despite being hit for a six in that over she backed herself to do what she was going to do. She missed her line once, with a wide, but I admired that she was clear in herself about what she was going to do.
“Hannah backed herself 100 percent, and for somebody so young to show so much maturity in her confidence and ability is outstanding.
“I think the main thing people can take from that is the character within this group. . . we’re up for the fight no matter how close it may be.”
Sydney Thunder Squad v Brisbane Heat
Rachael Haynes (c) (15)
Samantha Arnold (3)
Sam Bates (34)
Tammy Beaumont (91)
Hannah Darlington (25)
Saskia Horley (23)
Shabnim Ismail (89)
Sammy-Jo Johnson (58)
Heather Knight (5)
Anika Learoyd (4)
Phoebe Litchfield (36)
Kate Peterson (33)
Lauren Smith (2)
Rachel Trenaman (8)
Tahlia Wilson (21)
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