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Atkinson gets NZ Development team call-up

Georgia Atkinson playing in the Central Hinds during the One Day cricket match between Central Hinds and India at Nelson Park in January in Napier. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

CRICKET

ELI HILL
[email protected]

Wairarapa cricketer Georgia Atkinson’s meteoric rise continues.

The 18-year-old has been selected for the New Zealand Development women’s side for a one-day match against the Australia Under-19s side next month.

Atkinson said she’d been told by her Hinds coach Jamie Watkins and New Zealand selectors she had been picked.

“The day before my coach called me and let me know I was pretty shocked, excited and nervous all at the same time. I didn’t expect it, but it was really awesome to be selected.”

Atkinson has moved quickly through the cricketing ranks despite only picking up the sport as a Year Nine at Wairarapa College.

She made her first appearance for the Korus in 2016, and was called up to the Central Districts Hinds team the following year.

“I have my own personal goals, I just want to stick with the Hinds and see what happens. It’d be awesome to play for the White Ferns one day, but I’ll just have to see.

“I set myself little goals – getting selected for the Hinds each round is a big one, and personal goals such as bowling in the right areas and improving on my fielding.”

Atkinson, who is entering her second year of a sport and exercise degree at Massey University in Palmerston North, said her Wairarapa roots had helped her reach selection.

“I had some coaching from Neil Perry and Doug Bracewell through the summer and I think that really helped.”

Atkinson appears to be a born sportswoman – in 2010 she became the youngest-ever winner of the Wairarapa Closed Tennis Championships aged just 10.

Wairarapa Korus captain Esther Lanser called Atkinson “a born athlete”.

“She’s played with the Korus since we got back into the competition and has had a really quick rise through cricket so far.

“Being a leg-spinner is a really tough skill to learn in New Zealand – one of the toughest. It’s a fine art and you can see she really puts in the hard work and dedication.”

Lanser said Atkinson stood a strong chance of White Fern selection in future.

“She has a positive attitude, a willingness to learn and her motivation makes her stand out from other players.

“If she keeps up her training and remains motivated I’m sure she’ll play for the White Ferns.”

New Zealand A take on the Australian U-19s on March 12 at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln University.

Atkinson will be joined by Rosemary Mair [Hawke’s Bay] and Jess Watkins [Whanganui] from the Central Districts Hinds team.

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