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WNCL 2018-19

Trenaman taking it all in her stride

26 July 2018

Rachel Trenaman's on-field and off-field attributes make the teenager one of the most exciting prospects in Australian cricket

Rachel Trenaman's CV makes a strong first impression: Australia Under 19s captain. Australia Under 19s centurion. Highly rated leg-spinner. Cricket Australia XI representative. Australia A representative. National Performance squad member.

Take a second to take all that in. Then consider this: Trenaman is just 17 years old.

The Wagga Wagga teenager has been considered one of the most promising young players in Australia for the past five or so years, possessing considerable talent with bat and ball.

But possibly more impressive is Trenaman's maturity, humility and level-headedness – very useful attributes to have when you first represented NSW Under 15s aged 12 and have been considered the 'next big thing' ever since.

Those qualities, combined with her leadership and good cricket brain, saw her named captain – aged just 16 at the time – of Australia's 50-over side for the Under 19 tour of South Africa in April.

"I went over there just to learn, basically. I didn't expect to captain," Trenaman, who made her Women's National Cricket League debut aged 15 in late 2016, told cricket.com.au.

"Then I really wanted to take the opportunity to understand my game better and understand tour life, as well as better getting to know most of the girls on tour.

"Performing well was a little bit of a bonus."

Trenaman removes England's Wyatt

In South Africa, she led from the front, posting scores of 122 and 91 and collecting three wickets as Australia claimed the tri-series title over South Africa and England.

It was a breakthrough series with the bat for Trenaman, who until then had attracted more attention for her ability to produce prodigious turn with her wrist spin – although she personally considers batting her dominant skill. 

It also made a lasting impression on CA High Performance coach Leah Poulton.

"Rachel was one I was pretty impressed with," Poulton said. "After a summer where maybe she didn't spend as much time on the field as she would have liked (for NSW), for her to go on a tour like that and be captain of the 50-over team, we were really proud of her."

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Trenaman, who made her first forays into cricket in the backyard before honing her craft playing predominantly against boys and men, seems to have mastered the art of juggling cricket commitments and school work.

Based in Wagga Wagga, she can't regularly attend NSW Breakers training with the other, older contracted players except when on school holidays, so instead she does five or six pre-season training sessions on her own each week, using private coaches and local facilities. 

School's getting busier, too: Trenaman is now in year 11, but is also taking extension maths as an early HSC subject this year.

"I've got a few months to go until that exam so that's a big focus for me wanting to tick that box off," Trenaman said.

"It's almost like having two jobs in terms of being a full-time athlete and a full-time student, there's only a limited number of hours in a day and you've got to use those as well as you can.

"(The NSW and CA coaches) have been really supportive and they understand school is really important to me as well because I know cricket doesn't last forever and life can change in a split second if you get an injury, so they've been really supportive of my pursuit of a good education as well." 

Trenaman, along with young Victoria quick Annabel Sutherland, is considered a 'part-time scholar' with the NPS program. The two 16-year-olds must prioritise their studies, but as Poulton explains, their talent made an irresistible case for inclusion in the program, regardless of their tender years.

"We pick the NPS on skill, not age," Poulton explained. "It's amazing, they're genuinely the top candidates so we said let's pick them and we'll work around it.

"They've both very grounded kids as well, they don't get ahead of themselves.

"They both work very hard and have good attitudes going forward."

Trenaman is eyeing more opportunities with NSW // Getty
Trenaman is eyeing more opportunities with NSW // Getty

Those study commitments mean Trenaman will spend just three weeks with the NPS program at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane, rather than nine. But when she's there, she is determined to make the most of access to the country's best facilities, coaches and players.

"Having the use of the facilities up there is so good, especially for me being out in a regional area, it's a real treat," the teenager says.

"When you're around coaches like Leah and (Australia coach) Matthew Mott, you can't say no to that.

"There have been a few senior players there too and I've trained with Rachael Haynes, Beth Mooney and Megan Schutt, it's invaluable to have them there."

Trenaman was also a member of the inaugural NPS group that was introduced late last year and she credits the program for her continued rise.

"I think I've stepped up," she said. "In no way did I expect to play England in warm-ups before the Ashes – I know we didn't get on the park (due to rain) but to have that opportunity was amazing.

"To be contracted last season and this season going forward, that's been so beneficial for me in terms of making me have more committed and having all the extra coaches around me to support me.

"Then to be selected in the Under 19s side, to travel to the other side of the world and play against two international teams – every experience I've had has bettered me in some way or another."

To those who've been watching her progress, it seems a matter of when, not if, Trenaman is called up for Australia.

But in typical Trenaman fashion, she's not getting ahead of herself. For the time being, she's focused on doing her best to break into star-studded NSW Breakers and Sydney Thunder line-ups this summer.

"Last year I wasn't really expecting to play any state games because I was a bit younger, but now I've been in the system for a good 12 months and I think I'm better prepared, skills-wise and mentally, than last year so I'm really willing and wanting the challenge of taking on some of the older girls on the field."

Commonwealth Bank T20I series v NZ 

September 29: First T20I, North Sydney Oval, Sydney

October 1: Second T20I, Allan Border Field, Brisbane

October 5: Third T20I, Manuka Oval, Canberra

Commonwealth Bank ODI series v NZ 

February 22: First ODI, WACA Ground, Perth

February 24: Second ODI, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide

March 3: Third ODI, Junction Oval, Melbourne

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Filed Under

NSW Breakers

Sydney Thunder WBBL

U19 Womens Australia

Rachel Trenaman

Rebel WBBL|04

WNCL 2018-19