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Talented . . . Molly Loe, who started playing cricket at Weston School, has been selected in the Otago Sparks squad. PHOTO: BRIDGET THAYER

Molly Loe’s rapid rise through the cricket ranks is continuing.

This week, Otago Sparks head coach Nathan King named Molly (16) as a member of the squad for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

The St Hilda’s Collegiate pupil played two games for the Sparks earlier this year and will now compete for a place in the team alongside the likes of White Ferns Suzie Bates and Katey Martin.

Molly started playing cricket when she was at Weston School and continued when she started at St Hilda’s, which has won two national titles in three years.

She was “pretty stoked” to be named in the Otago squad.

As well as playing hockey through the winter, Molly said she had kept up cricket training, which had been “pretty full on” but enjoyable.

“I wouldn’t swap it for anything, I don’t think.

“The environment is pretty chill – everyone’s got your back. You don’t feel out of place as much as people might think you do.”

Molly will split her time this season between her Kaikorai club side, Valley, St Hilda’s First XI, North Otago under-19, Otago under-19 and the Sparks – depending on how much game time she gets for each.

Playing for the Kaikorai junior team helped keep the game fun, she said.

“It kind of takes the seriousness away, which helps me a lot.”

North Otago Cricket president Peter Cameron said he was “absolutely rapt” with the news.

“Nathan Smith in the Volts squad and having Molly in the women’s team is great.

“Both are exceptional young people.”

It showed there was a pathway to higher honours for players from North Otago, he said.

With the introduction of domestic contracts this season, competition for places in the Sparks will be high across both the 50 over (Hallyburton Johnstone) and T20 Super Smash competitions.

The season begins for the Sparks with two 50 over games against Central Districts on November 15 and 16.

The Otago Sparks 2019-20 squad

Suzie Bates, Emma Black, Caitlin Blakely, Ella Brown, Eden Carson, Georgia Clarke, Millie Cowan, Olivia Gain, Bhagya Herath, Bella James, Hayley Jensen, Marina Lamplough, Molly Loe, Katey Martin, Sophie Oldershaw and Bridget Thayer.