Enjoying her cricket was a central reason why NSW Breakers and St George-Sutherland opening batter Tahlia Wilson believes she was awarded the McDonald’s Women’s Premier Cricket Player of the Year at the Premiers Dinner on Friday night.
The 19-year-old from Wollongong also made her Breakers debut during a big season.
Wilson amassed 471 runs at the amazing average of 235.5 for St George-Sutherland to become the leading run-scorer in Premier Cricket.
When her two matches in the Combined First and Second Grade T20 competition are included, Wilson scored 525 runs at 131.
This season Wilson also received the 2018/19 Alex Blackwell Medal, as the best female cricketer in Country NSW, and signed her first Women’s Big Bash League contract with the Sydney Sixers in November.
“It’s been a whirlwind of a year, there’s not really a word you can put on it to encapsulate it really,” said Wilson.
“I wasn’t really expecting (this award), there was obviously a lot of great performances this year.
“Maddy Darke scored three centuries as well, and then Rene Farrell with the ball, she had an outstanding season.
“It could have (gone) to anyone, so it was quite a surprise but an honour to win this award.”
Wilson accrued 12 votes in the Player of the Year award, one ahead of ACT Meteors and Campbelltown-Camden allrounder Claire Koski.
The right-handed opener made her Women’s National Cricket League debut in November against Western Australia, becoming the 239th female cricketer to represent NSW dating back to 1931.
Wilson played her first two matches against the Fury and Victoria.
During a practice match in the pre-season, Wilson spent some time at the crease with world class allrounder Ellyse Perry, who has now moved to Victoria to be with her husband Australian Rugby Union player Matt Toomua.
Perry advised Wilson about the importance of staying calm during the first 15 balls of an innings. It was something the opener thought about a lot throughout the season.
“It was the first time I had ever batted with her, so any advice that Ellyse gives you is definitely very good advice to take on board,” Wilson said with a beaming smile.
“Opening the batting, the first 15 balls, the ball is swinging, so it’s just about being positive.
“For me (that is) trying to play straight early and just run hard between the wickets … being very intentional with what you’re trying to do."
Wilson also experimented with a few things during training sessions that helped her batting.
“Sometimes you want to test them out in games, and other times you’re not entirely sure when to, but just to back yourself that the training you’ve done is really worth it, and to put that into practice in games and score runs with it is really important.
“All the hard training that you do and the experienced players that you’re around at Breakers (and Sixers) training, it all comes together.
“Any game time I could get at club was one way I could push for selection at the higher level.”