Hannah Darlington: on cricket in the UK and playing for the Sydney Thunder
It’s summer and that means cricket season is here.
And in the case of Hannah Darlington, a Kamilaroi woman from Erskine Park in Western Sydney, it means playing for the Sydney Thunder in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).
At just age 17 years, Hannah is one of the youngest players in the league and was very excited to learn she’d been selected by the Thunder.
‘It was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been but so excited at the same time because I was going to be able to train with the likes of Alex Blackwell (my childhood idol) and some amazing internationals,’ Hannah said.
‘It was a really nice moment to share with family and friends which made it even more exciting.’
Hannah grew up playing lots of sports at school but because her Dad had played cricket, it became her favourite along with netball.
Encouraged by both of her parents she got serious about cricket and sought out a private coach, Rod Bower.
‘He has really taken me to where I am today in providing me with the cricketing skills and knowledge I currently have,’ Hannah said.
‘But most importantly he really helped me with my mental game and how I should go about my cricket and has made me the person I am today.’
A major highlight of Hannah’s career was being selected in the women’s 2018 Aboriginal XI which, along with a men’s team, commemorated the 1868 tour of a men’s Aboriginal cricket team to the United Kingdom.
‘It was quite an emotional experience in a good way for me as it wasn’t something I was aware of before the tour and it really gave me a sense of wanting to know more not only about my personal culture but the collective one of Indigenous people in sport,’ Hannah said.
‘The different ways we acknowledged them also made every game even more special as we weren’t only representing our families but all of those who had travelled 150 years ago.’
At Lords [cricket ground], both teams recreated the photos from 1868 and had the chance to walk on the famous ground.
Another highlight was singing the Australian team song in the Lords change room with the Australian men’s cricket team and the two Indigenous sides.
Because of the tour and playing in the Imparja Cup Hannah has learned a few things about herself.
‘I learnt that I need to enjoy the little things and start to really enjoy my cricket and feel grateful every time I get to walk onto the field and play the sport I love.’