Tess ready to Fire for Queensland in WNCL debut
CRICKET: Emerald's Tess Cooper spent countless hours of her childhood watching cricket on the television with her dad Leigh.
As she grew up, playing in the local club competition alongside the boys and making inroads on the representative scene, she dreamed of one day playing with the Konica Minolta Queensland Fire in the Women's National Cricket League.
Today she will realise that dream when she debuts for the Fire against the ACT Meteors in Melbourne.
In what is a crunch round of the WNCL, the Fire then play the Victorian Spirit tomorrow.
Cooper said her selection was the culmination of years of hard work.
"I got the call on Sunday night from selectors so I was pretty excited,” she said.
"You never expect anything like this to happen but having said that it's something I've been working towards for a long time.”
Cooper is a top-order batter and her selection comes on the back on some impressive form with her Brisbane club team Sandgate-Redcliffe.
That includes her maiden century against Valleys in the Katherine Raymont Shield earlier this month.
"That was pretty special. It was my first century and I'll always remember that one,” she said.
"I backed that up with 82 so I was happy to continue my good form.”
She is hoping that good form continues this weekend when she takes the next step in her promising career.
"I'm sure I will be nervous but I'll also be very excited because it's something I've always wanted.
"My family is coming down to watch. It will be special for them to see me playing in a team I've always aspired to be part of.”
Cooper, 20, said her greatest strength was playing straight.
"I love a cover drive and knocking the ball around at the start of an innings,” she said.
"I grew up watching men's cricket. My favourite players were Michael Hussey and Adam Gilchrist. If I could bat half as good as Mike Hussey I would be happy.”
Cooper appreciates that the platform for her success was laid on the cricket grounds of Central Queensland.
She first started playing club cricket at age 10. Capricornia representation quickly followed and in turn Queensland under-age selection.
Cooper moved to Brisbane when she was 15 and was named in the first grade women's team at Sandgate-Redcliffe.
In Year 12, she was invited to several training sessions with the Fire. She was named as a rookie with the squad for several years before being contracted this year.
While she is revelling in the higher honours that have come with her move to Brisbane, Cooper has fond memories of her time in Emerald.
"I still always say I'm from Emerald, and it was great playing there. It definitely formed the basis of the cricket that I play today. There are things I learned in Emerald that I still use today.”
While Cooper admits she would love to represent her country, she is not allowing herself to look beyond performing well for the Fire.
"Everyone wants to play for Australia but it's going to be tough to get there because the Australian team is very good,” she said.
"I've made the Fire so I'm happy with that for the moment and I just want to make the most of that opportunity.”