Sutherland student picked for Sydney women’s Big Bash team
Ella Briscoe is an all-rounder in more ways than one.
Not only is she handy at netball, rowing and rugby union, but also around the wicket.
One of a galaxy of stars from Catholic schools playing representative cricket, she has just been selected in the WBBL Sydney Thunder squad.
The 17-year-old vice-captain at St Patrick’s College at Sutherland is one of a growing number of women playing professional cricket.
With a 50 per cent increase in the number of young women playing the sport in just three years, Catholic Schools NSW is establishing new opportunities for the next generation of representative players.
“The talented teenager who plays for the St George/Sutherland Slayers was in an advanced maths class when she received the call that bowled this maiden over.”
For Ella, what started as a game in the backyard with her “cricket tragic” dad Peter, has led to her flying around the country with the elite women’s squad.
And while her team-mates head out after each game to enjoy the local hospitality, Ella can be found back in her hotel room hitting the books studying for her HSC.
The talented teenager who plays for the St George/Sutherland Slayers was in an advanced maths class when she received the call that bowled this maiden over.
“I was in class so couldn’t answer the phone but when I read the text I honestly couldn’t believe it,” she said.
“I had to ring them back to make sure one of my friends wasn’t playing a joke on me.
“Playing at this level of cricket has always been a dream but I really didn’t think it would happen while I was still at school.
“When I started playing cricket at 11 there weren’t any girls’ teams so I had to play with the boys. But it’s all paid off, training a couple of times a week and then spending weekends playing grade cricket has all been worthwhile.”
Proud parents Peter and Janelle said Ella has always striven to be the best at whatever she has undertaken, be it academic study or sport.
“The last couple of years she has really put her head down and worked hard with many, many hours of nets, training, games and watching cricket – and all while juggling lots of other things she enjoys and works hard at,” proud mum Janelle said.
“Only three years ago we would hold a one day trial match for the girls and we would maybe get 40 players turn up. This year we got 80 …”
“She absolutely loves the game of cricket, and is in her element with the Thunder girls, soaking up every moment of this experience and we honestly couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Cricket Convenor for Catholic Schools NSW Troy Nuske said the popularity of women’s cricket had exploded in the past few years, with Ella a stand-out with both the bat and ball.
“Only three years ago we would hold a one day trial match for the girls and we would maybe get 40 players turn up. This year we got 80 and had to push the trials across two days to get a good look at the talent we have,” he said.
“This year we have established a schools competition for girls with carnivals held in Sydney and Newcastle and next year we hope to hold an indoor gala as well. The fact that Ella has been put in the Thunder squad at such a young age means there’s no reason why she can’t be the next key all-rounder that Cricket Australia is looking for.”