Hannah faces tougher challenge with ton of talent

HANNAH Darlington bats and bowls and is having a ball.

She loves her cricket and that love has already received great reciprocation.

Late last year, the then 11-year-old student from James Erskine Park Public School was a crucial member of the NSW team that won the national primary schools title in Victoria.

Hannah's 2-5 from five overs against the also unbeaten Queensland was the spell that helped get NSW home.

Now she's entered the big, wide world of high school and a bigger and wider world of cricket.

Hannah is conquering that, too.

She's fresh off an unbeaten 120, her first century, when captaining Erskine Park High School to beat Penrith High.

When not playing for the school, Hannah is the youngest member of Penrith's under-17 Brewer Shield team.

So where has this talent come from?

Best to ask James Erskine principal Les Ridgeway, whose school nurtured her. He answers to the description "sports-mad teacher".

He said Hannah's talent was innate.

As with all the ideal success stories from the public-education system, Hannah has had the support of a dedicated teacher and family.

Ridgeway said Hannah's father Charles was a cricket man who supervised her training.

Not being a private school, James Erskine doesn't have designated sports coaches so it fell on a teacher and cricket fan, Jane Williams, to nurture cricket passions.

But the girl herself has mostly been responsible for her own top cricketing marks.

She was introduced to the game through Milo cricket two years ago, graduated to the St Clair Hawks as the only girl among the boys and has now joined the girls playing U17s.

Her role model?

Elyse Perry, naturally, which says something about women's cricket's greater profile.

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