Hannah Darlington named 'Young Gun' of WBBL05

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Hannah Darlington in action for Sydney Thunder. © Getty Images

Hannah Darlington, the 17-year-old allrounder from Sydney Thunder, has been named the ‘Young Gun’ of the fifth season of the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia. In what was a disappointing season for Thunder, Darlington was the the lone star putting in consistent performances with both bat and ball.

Through the course of the tournament, Darlington picked up 16 wickets, made useful runs lower down the order and also showed great promise and ability in the field. She played each one of Thunder’s 13 matches, making her debut against local rivals Sydney Sixers after completing her Year 12 exams earlier that day.

“To come away with that award is great recognition and it means a lot,” the teenager said. “It’s a bit daunting that my first season in the WBBL has been so successful, but I can’t wait to step up for next season because there’s been some big names -  Alex Blackwell and Rene Farrell -  retire from Sydney Thunder.”

Darlington's tally of wickets was not only the most for Thunder this season, but also came at the second best strike rate of 18.7— behind Nida Dar’s 14.7— and an average of 21.31. Her tournament economy rate of 6.82 was another impressive part of her performance. Whenever she came in to bowl through the tournament she delivered the goods for her team. With clear, and very simple plans, she was almost always able to bring the scoring rate down and pick up the odd wicket.

Darlington was nominated for the award alongside teammates Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia Wilson, Tayla Vlaeminck of Hobart Hurricanes, Courtney Webb from Melbourne Renegades, Annabel Sutherland of Melbourne Stars and Stella Campbell from Sydney Sixers.

The women’s national selection panel submitted a weekly nomination before confirming an overall winner at the end of the league stage. They took into consideration that the participant was under the age of 21, showed good on-field performance and attitude, and “demonstrate(d) skill, tenacity and good sportsmanship.”

“We were really impressed with the way Hannah handled some really difficult situations she found herself in on the field, often bowling to batters who were attacking hard and closing out the innings with good composure,” Shawn Flegler, female high performance manager and a member of the selection panel, said. “She also has a great temperament which we saw when she took a match-winning catch on the boundary at Blacktown. While she didn’t get much of an opportunity with the bat, she showed on several occasions that she’s a good talent.”

“Hannah is also a strong leader which is impressive at such a young age, having captained NSW at an underage level as well as the Sydney Thunder's first female Indigenous team. Overall as a cricketer and person she’s a terrific package and we feel like she’ll really benefit from being involved in rebel’s Mentoring Program.”

As a reward, Darlington will receive $5000 cash, in addition to access to other training and mentoring facilities provided by the sponsors.