Hughes officially graduated from St Johns College in Dubbo today and will become a professional cricketer tomorrow, trading her school bag for a contract with the Sydney Sixers.
The 18-year-old right-arm swing bowler still has the matter of her HSC exams to complete at the end of October but will join the Sixers in camp leading into the season’s opening Big Weekend at North Sydney Oval (October 18 & 19) before returning home to finalise her studies.
Trying to fit in a professional cricket tournament around the HSC might be a bridge too far for some players but Hughes is a sponge for knowledge and experience and said the chance to learn from some of the country’s best players and coaches at the Sixers was an opportunity too good to pass up.
“The opportunity at the Sixers, to be able to play with the best players and to be coached by Ben Sawyer as the head coach is something I am really excited about,” Hughes said.
“Playing in the T20 format and trying to learn from people who have lots of experience, players like Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Ash Gardner and Erin Burns is going to be awesome.
“I’m really keen to learn more about which balls to bowl in which situations and about committing in the field. I also want to work hard on my batting because my goal is to become an all-rounder.”
Hughes, who was previously part of the Sydney Thunder Academy, has been on the radar of Sawyer for some time after taking 6-19, including a hat trick, for ACT/NSW Country in the national under 15 championships in 2015.
Since then Hughes has honed her craft between Sydney and Dubbo and contributed to the ACT/NSW Country side’s win over NSW Metro in the 2018 under 18 national 50 over a side tournament.
Sawyer said Hughes was a talented bowler who had shown signs of the application required to make a success of her young career.
“Emma has certainly shown some ability with the ball and her commitment to travel to improve her cricket is something that indicates she is serious about her career,” Sawyer said.
“We understand that she will be focussed on her HSC and cricket for the first part of our season but are looking forward to Emma joining the squad full time and getting stuck into training as the season progresses.
“The ability for our young players like Emma, Maddy Darke, Stella Campbell and Hayley Silver Holmes to learn from our experienced internationals I believe is second to none in the WBBL and I am sure Emma will make the most of that.”Hughes will join the Sixers on October 7 before returning to Dubbo for exams following the Sixers’ opening two games of the season on October 18 and 19. She will then return to Sydney on November 5 for the rest of the year.