IT was quite a weekend for Bready teenager Alana Dalzell whose excellent season continued with a series of eye-catching displays for the Magheramason side.
She claimed four wickets for just one run as Bready beat Newbuildings in the Qualifying Two League, and followed that up with 33 and two wickets as they beat Strabane. In the Women’s League on Monday night, she hit 47 as they gained a last-ball win over Fox Lodge.
The 18 year-old has just finished her A levels studying Maths, Biology and Geography and she has ambitions to start studying physiotherapy at Ulster University in September. So how did her cricketing journey start?
“My dad Alan was always a keen cricketer and so I started out playing cricket with him at home at a young age, although I only began playing club cricket for Bready aged 11 after our school won the Kwik Cricket tournament that year in 2012.
“Initially, Trevor Hamilton was my most influential coach as he managed our u11s team when I first started out, and the fact that he always made training sessions fun was a fundamental part to my interest in playing cricket.
“Since then, I’ve had many sessions with different coaches who all have had different approaches in helping me improve my game, which I feel is vital for development. Brian Allen and Marty Deans have played key roles as well as Davy Scanlon who has helped me at the club over the years. Currently my main coaches are Gary McDaid, Stephen McCartney and Barry Scott within the North West Ladies’ squad, along with my Ireland coaches.”
Dalzell’s performances have caught the eyes of the selectors, and she has played for Ireland at both Under 15 and 17 level, and will be representing Ireland U19’s this summer. She is also part of the Women’s Super Three series where she represents the Dragons. Alana was quick to highlight the importance of playing for Bready in the Mens League as an important cog in her development.
“I play for Bready thirds team which has been very important in helping improve my game. I feel it has allowed me to adapt to different game situations more easily and has helped me to think more tactically about each match as I play alongside and against experienced players. “It also has made me more disciplined and determined and hopefully these qualities will help me to develop to the full international side.”
Dalzell became the first player to represent Foyle College boys’ side, and was also the first player from the NW to play in a men’s cup final. With her progression she continues to be an excellent role model for the region and hopefully it won’t be too long before she gains further recognition for her talents.