Fast-bowling teen violinist bringing chin music to WBBL
Sydney Thunder sign bouncer-loving, violin-toting 18-year-old quick for maiden WBBL campaign
6 October 2021, 07:00 PM AEST
The Sydney Thunder have added a bouncer-loving, violin-playing fast bowler to their ranks for the upcoming Weber WBBL season, signing teenage quick Jessica Davidson.
Davidson hails from Tamworth in northern NSW, regarded as Australia's home of country music, and she will be packing her stringed instrument for her maiden WBBL campaign.
The 18-year-old will complete her Higher School Certificate remotely while travelling with the Thunder, including her music exam online, and hopes her time at Tamworth's Conservatorium of Music will help her gain top marks.
"It's a good interest," she says. "While I do like classical music, I also enjoy playing contemporary pieces.
"I play in concerts, including an event called Showcase, where all the musicians get together and perform. It's really exciting, and I enjoy it."
Undoubtedly a talented musician, it's on the cricket field that Davidson has made the biggest impression.
Having once taken 1-5 off five overs in Tamworth's men's competition, the right-armer has been a part of the state's pathways program for the past four years and is a two-time recipient of NSW Cricket's Basil Sellers scholarship, whose alumni includes Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Ashleigh Gardner.
Thunder assistant coach Mark McInnes first laid eyes on Davidson as a 14-year-old and was immediately taken by her pace and aggression.
"Jess was bowling quite fast even then," he said.
"A lot of us were impressed that she could generate what were decent bouncers at such a young age.
"Added to that, Jess proved she was a hard-hitting middle-order batter. Her talent was obvious, and it's clear she's worked hard on her game."
The Thunder confirmed last week that South African speedster Shabnim Ismail will miss WBBL|07 due to injury, but the club has this week added English quick Issy Wong as well as Davidson to boost their pace stocks.
Head coach Trevor Griffin is confident the club can cover the loss of Ismail, the player-of-the-match in last season's grand final, with Wong and Davidson to support pace-bowling allrounder, Sammy Jo Johnson.
"Jess provides us with a young up-and-coming quick bowler," said Griffin.
"What stood out to me about Jess is she runs in and bowls with pace.
"I have no doubt she'll be challenging to get the new ball at some point."
In addition to Wong, the Thunder will field a new international trio this season having also signed India pair Smriti Mandhana and Deepti Sharma to replace England duo Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont.
But the local core of the Thunder's squad remains strong, although they will be without skipper Rachael Haynes for at least part of the season following the birth of her first child in Sydney last week.
The Thunder will begin their title defence against the Adelaide Strikers on October 16 in Hobart, with the first 20 matches of the tournament to be played in Tasmania.
Thunder squad for WBBL|07: Rachael Haynes (c), Samantha Bates, Hannah Darlington, Jess Davidson, Corinne Hall, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Anika Learoyd, Phoebe Litchfield, Smriti Mandhana (IND), Kate Peterson, Olivia Porter, Deepti Sharma (IND), Lauren Smith, Tahlia Wilson, Issy Wong (ENG)