Hansen takes next step

By Gary Caffell


Cricket

Wairarapa College all-rounder Melissa Hansen wasn't altogether surprised when she was named in the Central Districts team to contest the national under-21 women's tournament at Lincoln, Christchurch, from December 12-19.

The 16-year-old Hansen was a non-travelling reserve for the same side last year and was "pretty hopeful" of being included in the playing squad this time.

And now she has got the nod, she is setting her sights on making the Central Hinds senior women's team and achieving impressive enough results there to eventually reach her ultimate objective, selection in the White Ferns.

That Hansen is capable of reaching those heights cannot be debated.

Ever since she started playing Milo cricket at a tender age, she has shown a huge aptitude for the sport, something proved by her being chosen in Wairarapa representative boys' teams through the 10 to 14 year old age groups.

Hansen says the challenge of playing with and against those of the opposite sex was hugely beneficial to her own game, as the boys tended to play the game more aggressively and she quickly learned to fight fire with fire.

"It was really good experience. They treat you just like everybody else and you have to give as good as you get."

Hansen's talents have also taken her into the Manawatu under-18 and senior women's teams and this season she is not only playing for the Wairarapa College girls' first XI in the Wairarapa junior boys' fifth grade competition but also for the Johnsonville club in the Wellington senior women's competition.

Travelling over the hill on a regular basis would not be everybody's cup of tea but Hansen sees it as a necessary evil in that it will provide an extra opportunity for her to hone her skills against some of the country's best female players.

Although she sees herself more as a middle order batswoman, one of Hansen's best knocks came for the Manawatu under-18 team last season when she opened the innings against Taranaki and batted right through to be 54 not out when the last wicket fell.

On the bowling front, Hansen is a medium pacer who often takes the new ball and while she has yet had little chance to display her skills for Johnsonville in that department because of wet weather, her efforts for Wairarapa College suggest she is in good form.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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