Verran resident Bella Smith will represent South Australia at the under 18 Female National Cricket Championships in Canberra next week.
Bella trialed for the team in April and was chosen as part of a 22-girl squad.
She has been training for the championships since July before the squad was cut down to 13.
Bella first started her cricket career while playing softball.
“I was playing SAPSASA softball, when a man approached me and wanted me to try out for the SAPSASA cricket team,” she said.
“My older brother didn’t play it as a kid because mum didn’t take him to it but I got selected for SAPSASA, and really enjoyed it, so I went to Port Neill Cricket Club and just started playing.”
Bella said she loved the team aspect of cricket, supporting each other.
During the championship, Bella will be the team’s opening bowler.
“We don’t have set positions like other sports but I know that I’m going to be the opening bowler,” she said.
“I’m not much of a batter so I’ll be down the order for that.
“When it comes to fielding, I’m usually a boundary fielder because I can throw pretty good.”
The under 18 Female National Championships will see Australia’s best up and coming female cricketers vie for Twenty/20 and 50-over glory for the first time, having previously competed across both formats in a combined competition.
Bella will fly to Canberra on Monday and begin the championships on Tuesday, playing through until the following Friday.
She said there were a couple of things she was excited about.
“I’m really looking forward to being able to play with all of the girls as well as the pathways that will follow,” she said
Cricket is not the only sport Bella excels at, she has also become known for her skills on the football field.
She has been representing the Eyre Peninsula in the Norwood Redlegs female team, in the women’s SANFL, playing in the SANFL Statewide Super League competition in September.
“I’ve been pretty lucky this year in the sense that cricket and football haven’t overlapped,” Bella said.
“It has taken a really strong commitment from myself, as well as a lot of support from my family.”
Bella spent her last summer holidays representing the state in the 15 and under national cricket competition, also in Canberra, where she took the field, despite breaking her arm last year.
She also played in a match for the South Australian Country team against the South Australian City team in February.
Bella has also been playing for Kensington Cricket Club in Adelaide whenever she is there.
Back on the Eyre Peninsula, Bella represented Eastern Eyre Peninsula in the under 16 association match at Ceduna, where she took a wicket.
She was the only female playing at this level but said being the only girl had never bothered her.
“I don’t see a difference in the play, boys don’t expect much of me but they get it,” she said.
“A lot of them may have a bit of ego about getting out to a girl but I am just out there to play cricket.”