When Maddy Darke met Alyssa Healy for the first time, she was a cricket-obsessed teenage girl leaning over the fence for a selfie after a Sydney Sixers match.
Darke is still a cricket-crazy teenager, but with one key difference: this summer, she’s a Sydney Sixer and Healy is her teammate.
At age 18, Darke quickly made some big hits, and fittingly, it was Healy who handed Darke the cap on Friday night before her Big Bash debut in the North Sydney Oval.
She then provided perhaps the most dramatic moment of the season opener, when she came to the kink in the final over the innings of the Sixers; Darke ran to a quick single after the first ball she faced, slipped and fell, clutching her foot.
She was looked after by the Sixers physiotherapist – understandably concerned with the teenager who had recently recovered from stress breaks in her foot – but she got back on her feet and continued her innings which were a dominant victory for the Magenta team.
As a Wicketkeeper fan, not to mention a wool-dyed Sixers fan, Darke can not imagine a better Rebel WBBL home than the Sixers, where she’ll be in the perfect position to learn from Australian star Healy.
“I was quite thrilled when Benny (Sawyer) called me earlier this year,” Darke told cricket.com.au over the call of the Sixers coach who changed her life.
“She will be the best to learn from, Alyssa Healy, I hope to take a few little things with her approaching her eyelash and wicketkeeping. “When I first met the girls, I was a bit dumbfounded, so it’s a bit surreal to be in a locker room with them now.”
This is the final step in a groundbreaking year for Darke.
She spent precious weeks at the Bupa National Cricket Center during the National Performance Squad, a group of players earning higher honors, before she received what she called a “shock” call for Australia A’s tour The United States designated Kingdom brought into the squad in July as a substitute injury to the Victorian Annabel Sutherland.
“That was a really fantastic experience,” said Darke. “There are a lot of girls in this team who have played or are close to Australia, so I’ve taken my game to a higher level to mix with them.”
“This little taste (from overseas tours) definitely motivates me, it was a really fun tour. “Darke is one of five teenagers in the Sixers 15-player squad and one with whom Healy would like to work.
“It’s a bit scary (being a mentor) because I’m not always the best at doing things right, so it’s a nice test for me to make sure I do everything I can and what I do can. ” at games to make sure I teach her the right thing, “Healy told cricket.com.au.
“Maddy is amazing, she has a great work ethic and she trains the house so she’ll no doubt show me how to do it. “I was not the same girl in any of the teams I’ve heard, so it’ll be a bit surreal that I’m older than the others.
“I hope I can give a bit of perspective to the teenagers and it will be important to show them that you can have a bit of fun besides playing.”
Darke found her way into cricket when she was seven years old. She played soccer in the winter and when the summer came, she naturally followed her teammate – all boys – to the East’s Cricket Club.
She quickly discovered a penchant for keeping – “I just like the action, I really enjoyed it from the start, because you’re in the game all the time” – and when her talent was discovered, she set off through the NSW route.
Easts recently received a $ 12,100 grant from the NSW Government Cricket Legacy Fund for the ICC T20 World Cup 2020, which will be included in the Girls’ Cricket Program to encourage more girls to join the sport.
“They have a junior academy they open this year, which is really exciting, with the goal of having an Easts women’s team in a few years,” said Darke.
“There are not too many girls (who play) at the moment, so it would be great to get even more numbers.”