CRICKET: Dawson on top of the world
CRICKET: Taquayla Dawson is not short of confidence.
The Woodford Island Warriors junior cricketer takes a positive attitude into every aspect of her sporting life, and it is the major reason she has been so successful this year.
From playing in more than four grades of Lower Clarence cricket - including men's third grade - to helping the association's Under-12s representative side to interdistrict glory it was a ground-breaking season for the 14-year-old.
Dawson went from strength to strength selected in numerous representative teams including the Under-15s female state challenge Country Sixers, the U15 female country championships North Coast team, the Ballina LJ Hooker Carnival for Mid North Coast XI, and the NSW Girls Academy.
But her crowning achievement was left to well after the season when Dawson clinched the John McMahon Scholarship as the North Coastal Zone Junior Cricketer of the Year.
An award that means so much more to Dawson than the $500 scholarship that came with it.
"It means that I have fulfilled and completed my goals,” Dawson said. "Growing up I always wanted to be out in the community, and to show the community I am an independent woman who can do anything the boys can do.
"Getting an award like this shows that people in the community are looking at me, and are proud of my efforts.”
While she might be stretching herself across four grades each summer, Dawson said she wouldn't have it any other way.
"I am sure there is a point where there is too much cricket, but I just enjoy it that much that I don't think I have reached that point yet,” she said.
"I have played about five seasons in the senior divisions now and I really enjoy it.
"It's really fun to slap them around the park and give them a bit of banter.
"I think I fit in because I don't take any of their crap. We all just have a bit of banter with each other.”
Dawson has only recently returned from a whirlwind month-long tour of the UK, where she came up against opposition across the country.
Again proving unstoppable with the bat, Dawson scored a half century in the second game of the tour, as her side went to win six of the seven games they played.
"I call it my first international century,” she said. "I definitely felt that I went over knowing that I could do it, but being shown different ways they play in different conditions was eye-opening and a good learning experience.”
But Dawson promised it won't be her last international half-century, with the junior dreaming of one day pulling on the green and gold of Australia.
"That is my number one goal, for sure,” she said.