Mills comes home with Aussie title
STEPHANIE Mills is a bit of a sporting all-rounder.
She has represented Wide Bay in athletics, cross country, hockey, softball and cricket.
In cricket she may have found the sport she really excels in, after coming home with a national championship medal from the Primary Schools 12 Years National Cricket Championships held at Barooga in New South Wales.
Mills was the vice-captain of the undefeated Queensland side and excelled with the bat, scoring more runs than any other girl at the carnival.
The opening batter scored 141 runs over five games, was not out twice and had Queensland's highest batting average of 46.6.
It's not bad considering in girls cricket batters have to retire at 50.
During her time at the crease Mills made her first-ever 50, at any level of the sport.
It was Queensland's only 50 for the carnival and in the final game she was not out on 46, at the end of the 35 overs.
Mills said she wasn't a big hitter, but preferred to work up her total with ones and twos around the field.
She said her proudest moment was reaching her first 50 against the ACT.
"It was a great feeling," Mills said.
She said she knew she was getting close to her first 50 at the second drinks break.
"The coach came up to me and told me I was on 38," Mills said.
"I went out there to get more runs."
Mills's father Tony said the cricket trip almost didn't go ahead because of sickness in the camp.
"It was a bit unfortunate," Tony said.
"The whole thing almost turned into a disaster."
He said the team had a much-interrupted build-up when the training camp was abandoned and the girls ordered into quarantine.
More than half the girls got extremely ill with vomiting and diarrhoea and the original Queensland coach stood down after a group of parents accused the coach of infecting the team.
Stephanie was one of only three girls to get sick.
The girls were shunned by the boys cricket squad because they didn't want to get sick either and there was talk of Queensland forfeiting the championship.
Also while in Barooga, the team's mentor Graham Powers, who initiated girls cricket in Queensland, had to leave the team because of a death in the family
"The adversity galvanised the team," Tony said.
"The team had spent more time travelling together than on the field.
"They became a tight-knit unit, playing for each other."
He said the parents and supporters could see nothing was going to stop the girls winning the national title.
Tony said one of the nicest parts of the trip was the Queensland boys side gave the girls a guard of honour after they received their gold medals.
"It was a great trip in the end," Tony said.
"The bowlers did what they were supposed to do and the batters did their job as well."