Moama native Chloe Rafferty has signed to play with the Melbourne Stars in the women’s Big Bash League.
‘‘I was kind of speechless, like you want me?’’ Rafferty said with a laugh.
‘‘I wasn’t expecting to get the opportunity. They started making contract offers early in the season and I missed out on one, so it was a nice surprise to get one now.’’
The selection is a just reward for Rafferty, who has had outstanding form during the past two seasons in multiple forms of the game.
Rafferty was part of Essendon-Maribyrnong Park’s A-grade premiership side in the 2016-17 Victorian Premier Cricket season.
After being named in the league’s Team of the Year, the medium pacer was offered a Victoria Spirit women’s contract.
‘‘It’s been a great learning experience to be around that set-up. You don’t always get to play when you’re in squads like this, but getting the opportunity to travel with those girls and learn from them in how they go about preparing for games is great for my own development,’’ Rafferty said.
As with most professional athletes, the demands of wanting to achieve at that level has meant cricket has began to dominate Rafferty’s life.
‘‘I feel like with the amount of work I’ve been doing on my game, I hope I’m improving because it takes everything to be ready to play at that level. But it’s something that I enjoy doing because it means that I am developing as a cricketer and an athlete in general,’’ Rafferty said.
She recently represented Australia’s under-22 women’s indoor cricket side in a four-game series against New Zealand.
This followed her time in the Victorian under-22 side, where she played alongside her twin sister Paris.
Rafferty said she hoped to be able to continue playing the indoor version of the game.
‘‘The Aussie indoor girls go on a tour to Sri Lanka this year. So that would be fun if I’m not too busy,’’ she said.
Essendon-Maribyrnong Park club president Emily McIntyre said the selection was well earned.
‘‘Last year was really a break-out season for her, so I think that she’s really got the confidence in her ability and the game to know she could make it to that level,’’ McIntyre said.
While the contract is a great achievement for Rafferty, she was honest about what the season meant for her.
‘‘I don’t know that I will play many games, but the key thing for me is getting to be around the group and learning from the players as the season goes on,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m at the Stars for two seasons, so hopefully I get that experience and it makes me a better player.’’
Like most Australians to ever pick up a bat or ball, the ball especially in Rafferty’s case, she harbours goals of something even bigger.
‘‘I definitely want to be able to play for Australia in the outdoor game,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve worn the colours in indoor cricket, but I think it’s what we should all as cricket players aspire to do. I definitely want to be able to represent my country.’’