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Atkinson stepping up for Korus

By Jake Beleski

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The future of women’s cricket in Wairarapa appears to be in good hands as the younger players continue to take on more prominent roles in the senior side.

Wairarapa College’s Georgia Atkinson, 16, is one of many talented players that have made the step up to senior cricket with the Wairarapa Korus this season.

For Atkinson, a medium pace bowler and powerful striker of the ball, the senior players in the squad had been vital to making her feel comfortable in a foreign environment.

“There are a few girls in there that are like my age,” she said.

“The senior women have really helped us out and made us feel more involved in the team.”

Cricket is not the only sport she has excelled at, having become the youngest ever winner of the Wairarapa Closed Tennis Championships in 2010 at just 10 years of age.

Balancing the requirements of both sports had been a priority in recent seasons.

“I’m finding it really good so far.

“It’s really good to be playing in a team environment and there’s a bit of a difference from playing tennis where it’s individual.”

Her rapid rise through the cricket ranks had been unexpected, after she only started playing the game in her first year at Waicol.

“I just saw the sign up in year 9 and thought I’d give it a go.

“I never thought I’d be playing cricket for the Wairarapa Korus but Simon [Korus’ coach] asked me and I just thought I’d give it a go.”

Her current sporting idols were a balanced mixture of teammates and international superstars.

“If we’re talking about my team then Esther Lanser [Korus’ captain] is my idol.

“I also idolise Annissa Greenlees and with her leg spin bowling.

“My favourite tennis player is probably Roger Federer.”

Her long-term cricketing goals look to be very attainable if she continues to work hard.

“I wouldn’t mind trying to make the under-18 Central Hinds team or maybe just being in the Wairarapa Korus as long as I can.”

The importance of the younger players to the future of cricket in Wairarapa was not lost on Lanser, who said many had the potential to go on to successful careers.

“They have been hugely important for us.

“Their talent, skill, athleticism and energy has been great for the team.

“I can see a number of them going on to play Central Districts under-18s or under-21s when they get to that age.”

Korus’ coach Simon Roseingrave echoed that sentiment, and said the reintroduction of Wairarapa to women’s senior cricket this season had benefitted the young players.

“What I mean by that is the Korus finished our player pathway.

“We’ve got a really good pathway for these age-grade girls but didn’t have anywhere for them to go after that, which is why players like Melissa Hansen who plays for the Hinds, ended up playing for Manawatu because we didn’t have that senior team.”

The Korus have one match left this season, against Whanganui on December 11.

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