Local girls selected for the state Country U-15 cricket team
TWO of the Clarence Valley's finest young cricketers are a step closer to representing their state after being selected in the under-15 Country girls' cricket team to play City Metro this weekend.
Fourteen-year-old all-rounder Naomi McDonald and Carly Leeson, 13, gained selection in the squad after strong showings for the North Coast team at last month's U15 Country Championships in Dubbo.
They are well on their way to replicating the talents of their idols, who range from Brett Lee, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and current national women's captain Lisa Sthalekar.
McDonald has been playing for Brothers Cricket Club for the last five seasons, and her father Jim said she was an all-round cricketer in every sense of the term.
"She bowls left arm fast medium, bats right handed and is a pretty high-quality wicket-keeper as well," Jim McDonald said.
"Some of her coaches get her to bowl out her overs then will get her to slot back to wicket-keeper for the rest of the game."
Naomi McDonald has played representative cricket for the last "three or four years", representing the Grafton junior rep team in under-12s, 14s and 16s.
Jim McDonald said he was proud of her daughter's efforts, saying that she, and other local girl cricketers are just as good as the boys.
"The girls playing cricket around the Valley are just as good, and in some cases better, than some of the boys," Jim McDonald said.
"Naomi plays second grade for Brothers and won her position there, as well in the rep teams, on merit.
"She's looking forward to it and hopefully she'll make the state team."
Leeson was selected in her first representative Country team after starring for North Coast in Dubbo.
The Harwood junior more than holds her own in the mixed U14s competition, and gained selection in the CHS opens team earlier this year.
Leeson's mother, Ann Daniels, said she was proud of her daughter of making the team, and the presence of a few familiar faces would make the trip easier.
"She's done really well - we're all very excited for her," Daniels said.
"Knowing other people can make trips a lot easier so having Naomi and Troy (McKiernan, North Coast and Country coach) is really good for her."
Daniels said the impact of Kara Sutherland was well noted in the girls cricket community, as it helped the girls realise they didn't have to be from the city to make it big.
"There's no doubt her success helps the girls," Daniels said.
"When they see articles about Kara it reinforces the fact they can make it as far as they want to go from the country."
The U15 NSW team will be selected from the match.