Sammy-Jo bowls them over
By ADAM HICKS firstname.lastname@example.org
TEXT books, check. Lunch box, check. Cricket ball ... um, not today.
"I usually have a cricket ball in my school bag, but I didn't bring one today," Blue Hills College student Sammy-Jo Johnson said when approached by The Northern Star about her selection in the NSW Combined Independent Schools team.
"I always have one, just in case I need to practise, or want a game or go to the nets."
The 15-year-old fast bowler won't be separated from a ball any time soon as she prepares to play at the NSW Schoolgirls Championship in Sydney next week.
Sammy-Jo usually plays with the boys as the opening bowler for Clunes Under-16s on Saturday mornings and backs up for Easts third grade on Saturday afternoons.
"Last week I took 1-7 from five overs. My best this season is 4-14 from eight overs," she said.
But she won selection in the all girls team after trials in Sydney last month.
"I had a bad start at the trials because I wasn't warmed-up or focused," she said.
"But the last half of the session I batted well and bowled well.
"When they read out my name I was shocked and really happy."
One of the biggest thrills was learning that the captain of her side would be Ellyse Perry, a schoolgirl who has represented Australia at an open level in cricket and soccer.
"That will be really cool," Sammy-Jo said. "She didn't have to trial because she was playing in the Ashes ... I'll meet her at the carnival next week.
"Hopefully I'll be bowling with her. My friends want me to get her autograph.
"I've been reading about her in the paper, and I saw her on the Cricket Show and I was like, this is cool.
"I'm really looking forward to the experience of playing against these really good players."
Sammy-Jo's selection comes after four years of play, but a lifetime of devotion to the sport.
"I've been playing since I was 12," she said. "I love it. I've been watching it since I was a little kid.
"I'd watch Brett Lee and wanted to bowl like him. He's a fast bowler and good player who's gone from being a young player to a more mature player in the team.
"Sometimes after I take a wicket I jump up in the air like him or I do the chainsaw."