Gunnedah’s Claire McGuirk was rewarded with selection in the merit Australian Under 19 women’s cricket side during the recent country championships in Adelaide this month, performing a starring role for ACT/NSW Country.

Australian Women’s Big Bash League star Phoebe Litchfield – a regular for the Sydney Thunder in the nationwide televised WBBL – along with McGuirk, were two of the standout performers.

The 18-year-old Gunnedah native opened the batting for ACT/NSW Country amassing 187 runs at an average of 31.17 for the carnival.

Her best score of 71 not out was in conjunction with a score of 52 made in a crucial game against Victoria Metro, which gave ACT/NSW Country a chance for a spot in the playoff for the National Championship.

Unfortunately, ACT/NSW Country was unable to reach the final match but did book a place in the playoff for third and fourth for the carnival, where McGuirk and Litchfield ensured their side finished the former in the carnival.

As well as McGuirk and Litchfield, fellow teammate, Maddison McGuigan,was recognised within the best of a conglomeration of players throughout the tournament.

Predominantly an opening batsman, McGuirk’s ability to utilise her skills as a three-dimensional player saw her continually impact the tournament in the field and also bowling.

Through her medium pace during the middle overs, she was able to prize six wickets at an average of less then a run-a-ball as a key contributor to her side’s third-place success.

The tournament format sees all states and territories play a mixture of Twenty 20 and 50-over fixtures with wins and losses the deterrent for which team plays off for the national U19  women’s national crown.

McGuirk’s ACT/NSW Country finished third for the championships, and as such, was one of three players from the side selected in a special Merit Australian Under 19 XI Merit side as recognition of the best players  at the end of the carnival.

McGuirk plies her cricketing trade in the Tamworth District Cricket Association competition for Old Boys Cricket Club, predominately in the second to third grade competition.

The gravitas she holds within the club at such a young age means her selection in the Australian Under 19 Women’s Merit side isn’t a surprise to first grade captain Mitchell Swain.

“She’s great to have around the Old Boys club not only as a good young cricketer, but a very well-mannered person too” Swain enthused.

“We as a club are all keen to see her succeed.

“As well as that, her family deserve a lot of credit for what she has achieved so far.”

Speaking of family, McGuirk hails from decent pedigree.

Father Eddie is a former North West and Gunnedah opening bowler, who frightened the life out of opposition batsmen.

However, he then converted by force of injury, to a defensive wall and opened the batting for many seasons for local club side Albion throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

Swain as club first grade captain shares the admiration of Claire, both as a person and opening bat.

“We as a club can’t speak highly of her, her attitude, as well as the support she has from her family,” he said.

“It is amazing how far and wide the family go to support her.

“She deserves every success,” reiterated Swain.

With a heightened love for the game of cricket and an attitude of enjoyment, Claire McGuirk could emerge as a potential Southern Stars representative in the future. 

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