It’s well known throughout cricket that the 21-year-old from Coffs Harbour’s pursuit of excellence as a cricketer, is matched by her devotion to her study towards a double degree at the Australian National University.
Lugg is studying Law and Development Studies, of which the latter is a sociology/anthropology degree. The tough job of balancing training for cricket, and preparing for life afterwards, was recently assisted by her being awarded a prestigious Bradman scholarship worth $15,000 over the next three years.
It also means Lugg’s name joins a long list of cricketers who’ve benefited from the scholarship including former Australian captain Alex Blackwell (Bachelor of Medicine); CNSW Head of Cricket Greg Mail (Bachelor of Applied Science); Australia ODI representative Georgia Redmayne (Bachelor of Medicine), and former Test batter Martin Love (Bachelor of Physiotherapy).
“It’s been a serious help because the scholarship is providing me with financial support to keep some of my time free,” said Lugg. “That means I don’t need to get an extra part-time job on top of the coaching I do on the side.
“I’m grateful because it’s provided some financial independence, that allows me focus on my studies when I’m not at cricket, and vice versa. In the interview process they want to get to know you... get a gauge of your values... because they’re big on honesty, leadership, and integrity. It’s a great honour; and when you look at the people the Bradman Scholarship has assisted over the years, it’s amazing.”
The Adam Gilchrist scholarship Lugg was bestowed via the Northern NSW branch of the Lord’s Taverners in 2018, provided her with the opportunity to experience life as a cricketer in Ireland, where she played for the South Dublin-based Merrion Cricket Club.
“That was an amazing time,” she said. “I finished high school in Coffs Harbour that year, and I hadn’t really had much time away from home.
“Travelling overseas on my own taught me a lot about being independent. It forced me to grow up a bit quicker, and become more independent. That time... meeting great people... had a huge impact on me.”
Not bad for someone whose first foray into cricket was to be the commentator for her father and brother’s backyard matches. The future Sixers recruit, and ACT ‘keeper, would perch herself on a trampoline and call the action into a plastic toy microphone.
However, a lofted cover shot that hit ‘the voice of the Lugg’s backyard cricket’ square in the face encouraged her to play the game – even if it was only to get back at her brother!
It was her first step towards a sporting career that she described as “fulfilling”.
“I’ve been with the ACT for four years, and being in the WNCL – which is a professional set up – has had a massive impact. We have great leaders in Ange Reakes and Erin Osborne, so there’s a lot of experience to draw upon.”
Her opportunity to learn under Alyssa Healey – her childhood hero – was described as a dream come true.
“That kicked in when I arrived at Hobart to do our quarantining ahead of the WBBL,” she said.
“When I started playing cricket and I was a lot younger, (Alyssa Healy) was an idol of mine, and she still is, so being in the same squad as her and learning from the best is such an awesome opportunity.”
Sydney Sixers WBBL|07 Squad
Head Coach: Ben Sawyer
Squad: Ellyse Perry (C), Jade Allen, Nicole Bolton, Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Stella Campbell, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Emma Hughes, Matilda Lugg, Claire Moore, Angela Reakes, Shafali Verma (IND), Radha Yadav (IND)
Sydney Sixers WBBL|07 Schedule (All AEDT Start Times)
Thurs 14 Oct | v Melbourne Stars | 7:40pm | Blundstone Arena | Seven/Foxtel/Kayo
Sun 17 Oct | v Hobart Hurricanes | 1:40pm | Blundstone Arena | Seven/Foxtel/Kayo
Wed 20 Oct | v Melbourne Stars | 4:50pm | Blundstone Arena | Foxtel/Kayo/cricket.com.au
Sat 23 Oct | v Sydney Thunder | 3:40pm | UTAS Stadium | Seven/Foxtel/Kayo
Sun 24 Oct | v Melbourne Renegades | 1:40pm | UTAS Stadium | Seven/Foxtel/Kayo
Sat 30 Oct | v Melbourne Renegades | 1:25pm | Lilac Hill | Foxtel/Kayo/cricket.com.au
Sun 31 Oct | v Perth Scorchers | 4:50pm | Lilac Hill | Foxtel/Kayo/cricket.com.au
Wed 3 Nov | v Hobart Hurricanes | 1:25pm | WACA Ground | Foxtel/Kayo/cricket.com.au
Tues 9 Nov | v Brisbane Heat | 2:35pm | Karen Rolton Oval | Foxtel/Kayo/cricket.com.au
Wed 10 Nov | v Adelaide Strikers | 4:50pm | Karen Rolton Oval | Foxtel/Kayo/cricket.com.au
Sat 13 Nov | v Brisbane Heat | 7:05pm | Great Barrier Reef Arena | Seven/Foxtel/Kayo
Sun 14 Nov | v Sydney Thunder | 1:40pm | Great Barrier Reef Arena | Seven/Foxtel/Kayo
Sat 20 Nov | v Adelaide Strikers | 1:40pm | Adelaide Oval | Seven/Foxtel/Kayo
Sun 21 Nov | v Perth Scorchers | 10:15am | Adelaide Oval | Seven/Foxtel/Kayo