Bella Cameron couldn’t have asked for a much better birthday present than the one she received on Monday.
The Calrossy Year 9 student, who celebrated her 15th birthday in the first week of the school holidays, learnt she had been selected in the ACT/NSW Country under-15s squad to play at the National Championships in Canberra next February.
It followed a starring effort for Central North at last week’s Country Championships at Raymond Terrace that saw the allrounder named the Player of the Championships.
“That was pretty cool getting that. I didn’t expect it at all,” Cameron said.
Captaining the side she led from the front.
She twice carried her bat to steer them to victory and was the highest run-scorer for the carnival with 148 runs at an average of 74.
She was also impressive with the ball, claiming five wickets with a best return of 2-9 and an average of 11.6.
Despite her impressive performance, Cameron was still a nervous wreck awaiting the squad to be named.
“I just really wanted to get in,” she said.
The good news eventually came through on Monday afternoon. Cameron was in class, coincidentally sitting next to under-18s squad hopeful Jess Davidson, when the squads were released.
Both had reason to celebrate, with Davidson, along with Gunnedah’s Zoe Fleming, selected in the under-18s squad to contest the nationals at Ballarat in January.
Cameron’s opening partner Claire McGuirk (Gunnedah) and Tamworth’s Deni Baker were meanwhile also named in the under-15s.
A reserve for the side that made it a hat-trick of titles in Adelaide earlier this year, it will be Cameron’s first time donning ACT/NSW Country colours, and she can’t wait.
“I’ve always wanted to get into the NSW team,” she said.
She had a clear plan going into the championships.
“I wanted to get runs but it was also pretty important that I didn’t get out,” she said.
“I was looking for the bad balls, every bad ball had to be put away, and I was also looking for the quick singles without being too risky.”
Cameron’s best score was an unbeaten 57, which she said was very satisfying.
“That was one of my main goals,” she said.
“I wanted to get another 50 (she scored one at last year’s championships).”
Her bowling is something Cameron has only recently started to focus more on.
“I always thought of myself as a batter until last year when I started getting a few wickets,” she said.
And while she admittedly enjoys batting more, she knows it is a good weapon to have in her armoury.
Her foray into cricket is a fairly common one.
Like many a younger sibling she idolised her – in this case - older brother.
“My brother (Bradley) played cricket when he was little,” she said.
“I always wanted to do anything he did sporting-wise.”
She started off in Year 2 playing for the Peel Valley side “just for fun”.
In Year 5 she was part of the Nemingha Public School side that finished runners-up in the State PSSA Knockout.
The following year she captained them to the title.
Baker was also part of that side.
Also a talented hockey player, Cameron has for the last two years played first grade for Waratahs in the local competition.
“I really enjoy playing Waratahs hockey, it’s just really fun and it’s a really good competition,” she said.