ST Georges Basin's Joanne Kelly has been recognised for another strong season in the NSW Premier Cricket competition, by being named in their women's team of the year.
Playing for St George-Sutherland, Kelly amassed 417 runs at an average of 52.13 during the 2020-21 first grade season.
"I was super happy with my season - I felt it was my most consistent season for a long time," Kelly, a former Australian over 35s indoor representative, said.
"It's probably the most successful season I've had in grade cricket in terms of runs scored.
"After finishing at the bottom of the table last season, we were all really keen to perform better this year.
"We had a lot of freshness this season - fresh ideas, new fresh players, a new coach with different perspectives and a new selection process.
"Everyone was really keen to do well and loved the new club structure.
"We also had a lot of young players step into our team and to make the semi-finals was fantastic."
From a personal perspective, the 45-year-old believes a lot of the on-field success can be credited to her extra mindset work.
"On a personal note, I have done a mountain load of work on my mindset over the last six months," she said.
"This allowed me to go out in each game with a clear mind.
"I also trusted my ability and the role I have in the team - all of those things together culminated in a strong season."
That excellent campaign saw Kelly named in the 12-person team of the year at Friday's award presentation - alongside fellow Slayers Cailyn Fountain (418 runs), Abby Burrows (24 wickets) and Jaclyn Vickery (19 wickets).
"I was stoked and amazed to be named in such a high-quality team," Kelly, who's spent more than 10 of her 30 years in Sydney cricket with the Slayers, said.
"It's such a huge honour and I'm still pinching myself.
"I was really happy with my season but was certainly not expecting to be named in such a team.
"I had a few issues with injury towards the end of the season which had me basically walking between wickets instead of running before missing the last round match.
"I also had a lot of issues going on away from cricket and I was using my Sunday matches as a bit of an escape from things, so I wanted to make the most of every second on the field.
"So to be named alongside players such as Ash Gardiner, Mady Darke and Saskia Horley who are all state players and three of my St George-Sutherland teammates, particularly at this stage of my cricket career, is quite unbelievable.
"To have four players in the team of the year shows how strong we really were this season and highlighting how much of a cohesive unit we were - in my eyes, we all thoroughly deserved our spots in the side.
"I love being able to contribute to my team and I am loving the game as much as ever - this honour is certainly right up there as one of the proudest moments on my career."
Rounding out the team of the year are Parramatta's Claire Moore (454 runs), Sophie Vaughan (28 wickets) and Zoya Thakur (19 wickets), Bankstown's Ashleigh Gardner (280 runs at 56.00 and nine wickets at 9.90) and Jannatul Sumona (20 wickets), Gordon's Saskia Horley (403 runs) and Kinjal Kumari (13 dismissals and 149 runs) and Universities' Maddy Darke (424 runs).
St George-Sutherland finished the first grade season in third position on 62 points, behind first-placed Sydney (82) and Northern Districts (64) but missed out on the chance to challenge for the title after their semi-final was washed out.
"It was a sad way to end the season," Kelly, who hopes to continue her form and gain selection in the Bush Breakers in the coming months, said.
"It was a bit bittersweet - to come from last the season before to making semi-finals was a huge achievement and we backed ourselves to beat Northern Districts.
"But it wasn't to be and Northern District went on to beat Sydney in the grand final.
"All the girls, including myself, are using that disappointment as fuel for next season.
"Personally, I am already so keen for next season.
"I am working really hard in the off-season to increase my fitness so I can continue to contribute to my team and hopefully have another successful campaign."
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