Bay cricket star wants to be world’s best
CRICKET: For Australian batting opener Beth Mooney, playing sport in a country town went a long way towards building her cricketing career.
"I was only chatting to some other players last night about that very topic and we believe it was because we had to play with the boys and were really challenged," Mooney said
Mooney will join her Southern Stars teammates tonight in the Women's World Cup T20 semi-final against South Africa in Sydney.
After moving to Hervey Bay from Shepparton with her family, aged 10, Mooney enjoyed the opportunities to learn and play different sports in a smaller environment.
One of these opportunities included cricket, for which she was selected in the Queensland Primary Schools team.
It was from this opportunity that Mooney decided cricket was the sport for her.
Mooney credits the team environment and the friendships she made for putting her on her path to success.
A lot has changed for female cricket players since she started playing.
She is thankful to be playing at a time when there are so many more opportunities for women in the game.
Mooney believes competitions such as the Big Bash have created pathways for girls to mix it with the best players in the world.
"Girls are exposed to so much more cricket from an early age now," she said.
She is a case in point, starting her senior career at 16.
Mooney has represented Australia in all forms of international cricket and relishes any opportunity to wear the green and gold.
"I am a traditionalist and prefer the longer form of cricket but just love playing any form of the game," she said.
It has not always been easy for the talented player, having made the courageous choice to quit her teaching studies at university to focus on a full-time cricket career.
"I had to make a choice and if I stepped back and stopped playing, I know I would have regretted it," she said.
Three years ago, Australian coach Matthew Mott sat down with Mooney to discuss how she could improve her game.
He gave her some tough but much needed guidance on how to succeed.
It was not easy for Mooney to hear but she took it on board and has not looked back.
"I owe Motty so much as he could see my potential and what I need to do," she said.
"He has been a huge influence on my career and my improvement as a cricketer."
Mooney is reluctant to talk herself up but don't be fooled by her quiet demeanour.
There is a fierce competitor lurking inside, with a drive to become the best cricketer in the world.
Her attitude mirrors her Australian teammates who never seem to be stressed when facing adversity on the field.
"We have been together a while and understand each other's games," Mooney said.
"We know that on any day, we have players that will step up and win us the match.
"We believe in each other."
After a rocky start to the T20 World Cup, Mooney and the Australian team are finding form.
Mooney is ready for tonight's semi-final and will follow her normal routine of some training and a sleep before the match.
She believes that for the Australian team to win, they must put South Africa under pressure from the start.
"They are a very good team and we need to build pressure straight away either with the ball or the bat."
Whatever the World Cup result there will be little rest for the team.
They will have only a few day off after the World Cup as the team prepares to fly to South Africa for the one day internationals later this month.
Mooney would not have it any other way.
She believes young players who are wanting to pursue a career in cricket or any sport should chase their dream.
"Enjoy the challenge and enjoy playing the game with the people you love," she said.
The Australia v South Africa Women's T20 Cricket World Cup semi-final will be played from 6pm tonight.