Injury-free Darlington ready to make impact

Fighting fit after an unlucky run, Hannah Darlington is ready to turn it on in WBBL|09

Hannah Darlington is heading into WBBL|09 fighting fit, with success in lime green – and an eventual return to Australian colours – very much on her mind.

Darlington enjoyed a dream start to her elite cricketing career, but the last two summers saw the talented pace bowler dealt a far tougher hand, including a knee injury that saw her miss the first half of WBBL|08.

She played just seven matches as the Thunder finished on the bottom of the table last summer, taking seven wickets at 27.71 and an economy rate of 8.43.

With a full preseason under her belt, Darlington is ready to make an impact when she takes the field for Sunday’s Sydney Smash against the Sixers at North Sydney Oval.

Hannah Darlington (back row, right) at the WBBL|09 launch this week // Getty

"A full preseason has been nice, I've got no niggles, no injuries," Darlington told

"That was the big focus, I had a bit of (time) at the end of last season to get the body right to enjoy offseason and then come in and give preseason a crack, so it's nice the body is feeling good and I’m ready to play a whole season."

Darlington had a meteoric rise by anyone’s definition across her first two years at the elite level.

She was the Thunder’s leading wicket taker in her debut WBBL season in 2019, while in 2020 she was named in the official WBBL Team of the Tournament as her side took out the title.

'Up 'til sunrise': Darlington reflects on WBBL|06 Final

That led to an Australian debut in 2021 and that same year, she found herself captaining both the Thunder and the NSW Breakers before her 20th birthday.

But those responsibilities combined with the difficulties of a second summer spent on the road in quarantine and Covid-safe bubbles took a toll on Darlington.

Shortly before she was due to fly to New Zealand in February 2022 as a travelling reserve with Australia’s one-day World Cup squad, she withdrew from the tournament and took a break from cricket for the remainder of the summer.

Her knee injury then saw her sidelined for the first half of the 2022-23 summer.

But Darlington said adding to the two ODIs and two T20Is she’d played for Australia was a goal that remained very much in her plans.

"I definitely haven't forgotten about the Aussie colours and I guess at the moment it's just looking to play the whole WBBL and it will look after itself whether it's this year or next year," Darlington said.

"It's definitely a goal within the next few seasons."

After a disastrous WBBL|08 campaign that yielded a single win, the Thunder go into this season with a new coach in former England and Scorchers mentor Lisa Keightley and a new captain in Heather Knight, who has taken over from the retired Rachael Haynes.

With big-name draftees Knight, Marizanne Kapp and Lauren Bell, the option of Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu as a fourth international, and young gun Phoebe Litchfield in rare form, Darlington says the Thunder will not be content with merely increasing the ‘wins’ column this season.

In case you don't know me: Hannah Darlington

"I think It'd be an easy decision to just look to get better, but we want to be in this finals series and that's the goal," she said. 

"We want to make sure we're winning more games and against good opposition as well. 

"But just bringing that good and bad closer together, I think we'll do that, and some of the talent we've got, there's big years ahead for some of the players."

Weber WBBL|09 Standings

Matches played
No results
Net Run Rate
Total points
1 Adelaide Strikers Women Adelaide Strikers Women STR 14 11 3 0 0 1.154 0 22
2 Perth Scorchers Women Perth Scorchers Women SCO 14 8 6 0 0 0.784 0 16
3 Brisbane Heat Women Brisbane Heat Women HEA 14 8 6 0 0 0.203 0 16
4 Sydney Thunder Women Sydney Thunder Women THU 14 7 6 0 1 0.298 0 15
5 Sydney Sixers Women Sydney Sixers Women SIX 14 7 7 0 0 -0.253 0 14
6 Hobart Hurricanes Women Hobart Hurricanes Women HUR 14 6 7 0 1 -0.597 0 13
7 Melbourne Stars Women Melbourne Stars Women STA 14 6 8 0 0 -0.779 0 12
8 Melbourne Renegades Women Melbourne Renegades Women REN 14 2 12 0 0 -0.978 0 4

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

T: Ties

N/R: No results

NRR: Net Run Rate

Ded.: Deductions

PTS: Total points

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