Woodridge girl bowls in the big time

Neale Emslie

IT was the time for teenage sports stars in the Eastern Cape to shine this past weekend. No sooner had 18-year-old Sergeal Petersen scored two tries for the Southern Kings in their Super Rugby match against the Western Force, than news emerged of a remarkable bowling feat by cricketer Lauren Booysen.

The 13-year-old Woodridge pupil’s achievement might not have captured the attention as Petersen did, but her bowling figures of eight for three in a provincial women’s match confirmed her burgeoning talent.

Booysen, a leftarm seamer, had already made cricket coaches sit up with her performances in schools cricket, so much so that she was selected for the Woodridge under-15A boys’ team and took five wickets against Despatch.

Booysen showed she was equally at home at senior women’s level as she tormented the Kei team in Mthatha at the weekend, playing the lead role as the home side were dismissed for 36 in reply to EP’s total of 296.

“What’s even more remarkable is that the three runs off her bowling [in six overs] were all wides,” EP women’s coach Adam Cotton said yesterday. Incredibly, Booysen’s figures of 6-4-8-3 included a hat-trick, adding to successive hat-tricks in recent schools matches.

Acknowledging that she was a player to watch for the future, Cotton said: “She is quite tall for her age and, as a leftarm seamer, she has the ability to swing the ball back into the righthander and this often has opposing batsmen caught like a deer in headlights.”

Cotton said he had spotted Booysen’s potential two years ago when she was 11.

“But we felt she was a bit young at that stage and we would wait for her to reach high school and re-assess the situation,” he said.

Cotton said the plan for Booysen would be to consolidate her position in the senior EP women’s team.

“Then we have a competition called the Super Fours in which EP, Border, South Western Districts and Kei form one team and if she makes that side, she will be given exposure to the national structures,” Cotton said.

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