Leeson keeps on hitting sixes
SENIOR SPORTSPERSON: January was a big month for cricket sensation Carly Leeson, and 2017 is shaping up to be a big year for the 17-year-old, who can add a Senior Sportsperson of the Month Award to her already impressive list of achievements.
Leeson is the first former Junior Sportsperson nominee in the history of the awards to graduating to the ranks of a senior nominee. Leeson claimed the inaugural Junior Female Sportsperson of the Year title in 2014 and was subsequently nominated for the award again in 2015 and 2016.
The Woodford Island all-rounder finally made her debut for the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL competition against the Renegades earlier in the month, where she picked up a wicket with her very first ball. Leeson finished with two wickets in the match, as the Sixers booked a finals spot in the process.
Leeson was named 12th woman for the final clash of the season against the Perth Scorchers, but found herself on the field after intense 38 degrees conditions forced teammate Ashleigh Gardner from the field with heat exhaustion.
It only took 12 overs before Leeson was in the action, taking a catch off the bowling of Kim Garth at mid-off. The Sixers went on to win the final by seven runs in a thrilling finish to claim their maiden WBBL title.
Off the cricket field, Leeson is preparing to follow in the footsteps of well-known Australian female cricketers Alex Blackwell, Sara Hungerford and Georgia Redmayne after being awarded the prestigous University of New South Wales Ben Lexcen Sports Scholarship.
"It's a great privilege to be awarded a UNSW Ben Lexcen Scholarship. It is a prestigious award and, especially knowing those who have been awarded it before me, it's definitely an honour," Leeson said.
"Any female cricketer who has followed the same path that I am looking to follow is an inspiration to me - someone to look up to and get advice from."
Leeson is planning to to study environmental management when the semester starts next month.
"I've always been interested in animal conservation, and the environment, and I'm also interested in law, so environmental management covers all those areas," she said.
"I chose UNSW because it is very accommodating for people who play sport at an elite level and who have pretty hectic schedules."
A two-time winner of Female Country Cricketer of the Year in both 2015 and 2016, Leeson became a member of the Shooting Stars squad for their tour of Sri Lanka in 2015, and she is also in the NSW Women's under 18s squad and the NSW Women's High Performance Academy.
"I like the mental challenge of cricket - it's not purely a physical sport, it's both mental and physical and I really enjoy that aspect of it," she said.
"I'm looking to play for the NSW Breakers soon, and playing for Australia is the ultimate goal, but that is still probably a few years away yet."
As the January winner of Senior Sportsperson of the Month, Leeson is nominated for Senior Sportsperson of the Year to be presented at the 2017 Clarence Valley Sports Awards to be held in the Lower Clarence in November.
Check out the highlights from the 2016 Clarence Valley Sports Awards hosted by Grafton District Services Club in the photo gallery below: