Gabby’s rise to fame

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAR­RYD BARCA

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 field­ing dur­ing her maiden A Grade match against Yackan­dan­dah two weeks ago. Pho­tos by Si­mon Ginns.

Sut­cliffe took an­other two wick­ets in her sec­ond A Grade match against Eskdale on the week­end.

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