Gabby’s rise to fame
Gabby certainly didn’t, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
The talented Corowa High School student loves cricket and was recently buoyed when realising she was selected in the NSW Country Under 18 representative squad.
“They told us it was going to be released on the Cricket NSW website so I just went onto the website and clicked refresh about 100 times until it came up,” Sutcliffe told The Free Press, reflecting on how she found out she would be competing in the upcoming national championships in Ballarat and Bendigo during January.
“It was pretty amazing. I’ve been putting a lot of hard work in for the off-season so it’s payback for all the work I’ve been doing.”
The 16-year-old regularly plays in Corowa’s B Grade and Under 16 teams on the weekends.
Sutcliffe has gained recognition through her immaculate bowling action which has been described as poetry in motion by Corowa B Grade captain Scott Wilson, who was full of praise for the youngster.
“(Gabby) has the perfect bowling action and it’s really good to watch,” Wilson told The Free Press.
“She’ll always get a couple of wickets and never gets hit for a lot of runs.
“The world is her oyster; I don’t see any reason why she couldn’t be playing at a very high standard.”
Wilson said Sutcliffe’s action and consistent accuracy is what stands out the most.
“In B Grade cricket, most teams would have what they call a fine leg, so if the ball goes down leg side there’s some protection down there, but she doesn’t need that,” he said.
“She’s a great kid with a very good attitude,” Wilson added. “She’s very humble and doesn’t sulk if things don’t go her way.”
Sutcliffe made her A Grade debut for Corowa in the Round 6 grand final rematch at Ball Park two weeks ago.
But she wasn’t intimidated, holding her own and taking two wickets for just 17 runs. She also bowled four maiden overs – the equal most of any Corowa player this season.
“I’ve played B Grade so I guess I was nervous (for A Grade debut) but I just needed to focus on my processes,” Sutcliffe said.
“I know I can bowl consistently and just hit the spot, so if I could do that then I thought I would be fine.”
Prior to being picked in the Year 5 squad, Sutcliffe had little to no interest in the sport at all, but has played every season since.
Her selection in the NSW Country squad is on the back of an outstanding state challenge carnival with the Country Sixers held in April this year at Raby Sports Complex in Sydney.
The state challenge is a key fixture in the cricketing calendar and plays a significant role in national championship selection.
Sutcliffe recorded fantastic all-round performances with both bat and ball, claiming three wickets and scoring 32 runs.
The Country Sixers were declared joint winners in the female division with Country Thunder and Metro Thunder.
It seems it’s just the start of a long, promising journey, with Sutcliffe’s ultimate goal to represent Australia.
“I just want to keep building up and hopefully get recognised by those selectors higher up, hopefully getting picked in BBL sides or NSW Breakers, and then Australia one day too hopefully,” she said.
Mature beyond her years, Sutcliffe was also recognised as one of the Riverina’s brightest young minds when selected as one of 22 Year 11 students to be presented with the prestigious Victor Chang School Science Awards for excellence in the field of science.
Who would’ve known that when Gabby Sutcliffe signed up for school cricket back in Year 5 just to get a day off school, she would soon be on her way to becoming Corowa’s youngest cricket sensation?
The award is named after a cardiac surgeon and was established to celebrate young, gifted students and foster growth in scientific studies.
“As a scientist you not only contribute to building knowledge and understanding, but you are also a driver in economic, environmental, health, social and technological advances. The opportunities are truly endless,” Dr Gavin Chapman from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute explained.
The winners were invited to join more than 200 students from across NSW on a tour of the Victor Chang Institute on Friday, November 16, and had the opportunity to learn firsthand from world-renowned scientists.
In the unlikely circumstance that she doesn’t make it to the cricket big-time, Sutcliffe said she’d like to derive a career in allied health and physiotherapy.
“I put as much effort into my school as I do cricket. I find school important for my future because I want to go to university,” Sutcliffe said.
“I know I have to work hard in school so it’s nice to be recognised for that as well.”
Corowa High School Principal Dr Joanne Bellette lauded her student and her ability to create wonderful achievements.
“Gabby’s selection in the NSW Cricket squad and as recipient of the prestigious Riverina School Science Award is a reflection of both the breadth of her interests and her many talents,” she told The Free Press.
“Corowa High School is very proud of Gabby and congratulates her on these outstanding achievements.”
Sutcliffe impressed on the cricket pitch again on the weekend, taking two wickets in Corowa A Grade’s big win over Eskdale and taking 3/9 in the Under 16s.
Sutcliffe took another two wickets in her second A Grade match against Eskdale on the weekend.