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Made the big time . . . Weston’s Molly Loe has received a full Otago Sparks contract for the 2021-2022 season. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

It’s been a big week for Molly Loe.

One day she was playing for the New Zealand development side, and the next she was receiving an Otago Sparks contract.

The Weston cricketer was named as one of nine contracted players for the Otago Sparks for the 2021-22 season, alongside White Ferns Suzie Bates, Katey Martin and Hayley Jensen.

“I was pretty excited when [coach] Craig [Cumming] first told me. I guess with the team we’ve got this year we’ve got quite a talented group, so I wasn’t exactly expecting to get a contract,” the 18-year-old said.

Molly, who is in her last year at Dunedin’s St Hilda’s Collegiate School, said the contract gave her more confidence moving forward.

The right arm seam bowler was looking forward to spending more time alongside Bates, Martin and Jensen, who were not competing in the Australian competition this season. Canterbury’s Kate Ebrahim also joined the team.

They added  experience to the group and Molly counted herself lucky to play alongside them.

“It’s just the opportunities. Playing alongside them, and the girls . . . and gaining a better understanding for the game, I guess, as I’m still quite young.

“It’s playing alongside some of my role models from when I was young and still are my role models.”

Molly debuted for the Sparks at age 15, and made several more appearances over the following three years. Taking guidance from Cumming, and being able to work under his tutelage full-time now, helped her self belief.

“He definitely helped me a lot with that, and my overall skill set. I was able to [grow] that with him there because he could really pinpoint stuff,” she said.

Last weekend, Molly played for the New Zealand development team against the Canterbury Magicians.

Being a late call-up to the team came “out of the blue” but she loved being coached by former White Fern Sara McGlashan, who was a “wealth of knowledge”.

Molly was determined to make the most out of the opportunities she had been given.

“I’m trying to be, I guess, a bit of a sponge in the environment and soak up as much knowledge as I can from the older players.”

Molly was still a proud North Otago cricketer, and said the support from North Otago Cricket chairman Peter Cameron and the board had been amazing.

“They definitely gave me a lot of opportunities while I was at primary school here, and still am part of the North Otago group. If I hadn’t had the support from them, I don’t think I’d be where I am today.”

Cameron said he was absolutely rapt for Loe and her success.

“It shows that there are opportunities for female athletes to get to those high levels. She will be here [in Oamaru] playing for our under-19 North Otago girls team at Labour weekend at the districts tournament.”