Darke was born and bred in Sixers territory and is considered one of the most exciting prospects in the game, having made her debut for Australia A alongside fellow Sixer Erin Burns on this year’s tour of the UK.
What makes Darke’s place on the tour even more remarkable is that she is yet to play a WBBL or WNCL game.
At just 18 and in her first year of a physiotherapy degree at the Australian Catholic University, the wicketkeeper / batter has already drawn comparisons to Sixers and Southern Stars opener Alyssa Healy.
She is now working towards earning a spot in the Sydney Sixers’ star-studded batting line up, where she may bat alongside the likes of Ash Gardner, Marizanne Kapp and Dane Van Niekerk.
“I have been attending Sydney Sixers games since the WBBL started and have always looked up to players like Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy,” Darke said.
“I know I am going to be able to learn a lot from everyone in the team but being a wicketkeeper and batter I am hoping I can just be a sponge around Midge (Healy).”
Darke was an injury call up for the Australia A tour but said she made the most of her chances on what was a wonderful opportunity so early in her career to immerse herself in an international standard set up.
“I got the call up as an injury replacement and it was a big surprise, something that came completely out of the blue,” Darke said.
“One minute I was at home and the next minute I’m in England playing with people I have looked up to and who have played for Australia or been very close to that.
“It was the best tour ever for me.”
The end to Darke’s tour was not so positive with the teen suffering a stress fracture in her foot but since her return to Australia she has worked hard with the Cricket NSW medical staff and is on track to return to the field of play before the Sixers first game on October 18.
Sydney Sixers Head Coach Ben Sawyer said Darke’s talent was obvious.
“I saw Maddy first-hand with the Australian under 19’s in South Africa in 2018 where she had a great tour and we have had our eye on her since,” Sawyer said.
“It’s also been clear for a while through the Cricket NSW pathway that she is a talented cricketer with a good level of intelligence and maturity.
“She has some great role models to learn from here at the Sixers and we are looking forward to being part of her development.”
Tickets to Sydney Sixers BBL and WBBL games go on sale today at www.sydneysixers.com.au