Shooting star off to Sri Lanka
FRESH from winning a national under-18 women's title, Woodford Island's Carly Leeson is preparing for a cricket tour of Sri Lanka.
The 16-year-old is the youngest of 13 players selected to represent the Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars - a development squad of Australia's top emerging women's cricketers selected by the Cricket Australia Women's National Selection Panel.
The squad will attend a training camp in Sri Lanka from February 16-24, including playing two 50-over and two T20 matches designed to expose players to the rigours of sub-continental conditions.
Leeson will be joined by NSW Breakers contracted players Lauren Cheatle and Ashleigh Gardner, who were teammates in the NSW Metro side at the Under-18 Women's Cricket Nationals at Ballarat in Victoria last week. Lauren Smith, who was not included in the Shooting Stars squad, was the third contracted player in the NSW Metro side.
Leeson, who captained NSW to the national under-15 title last season, said she enjoyed playing the under-18 tournament and was looking forward to stepping up at open level.
"It was definitely a different level to play and good for myself to play with more experienced players," Leeson said.
"The contracted NSW Breakers players were probably our strongest three performers at the carnival."
Leeson played alongside all three towards the end of 2014 when she played for NSW Country against NSW City in the Lorna Thomas Trophy Series, which included all the top NSW players such as internationals Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Alex Blackwell.
Grafton's Kara Sutherland also played in that match and is part of the NSW Breakers squad that won its 10th consecutive Women's National Cricket League 50-over title on Sunday.
Sutherland was notably part of the same tour to Sri Lanka in her return from injury 12 months ago.
"This squad has a strong development focus with a view that some players will press for Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars selection in the future," CAWNSP chairwoman of selectors Julie Savage said.
Squad to tour Sri Lanka, February 16 to 24
(Name, state, age)
Jemma Barsby QLD 19
Lauren Cheatle NSW 16
Piepa Cleary WA 18
Holly Ferling QLD 19
Ashleigh Gardner NSW 17
Grace Harris QLD 21
Emma Inglis VIC 26
Carly Leeson NSW 16
Katie Mack ACT 21
Beth Mooney QLD 20
Chloe Piparo WA 20
Gemma Triscari WA 24
Amanda-Jade Wellington SA 17