By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD rising talent Emily Slatter is one of seven Gladstone players invited to trial for places in the 2006/07 Queensland Academy of Sport regional cricket squad.
She will join other young Gladstone talent in Rockhampton import Alan Ryder, Liam Kirk, Lucas Hall, Rowan Murray and Anthony Williams and Australian under-17 girls representative Elise Hackett in trialing for QAS spots.
A total of 94 athletes (males aged 16-21, females 15-19), identified as having the potential to represent their state or country at a senior level, have been invited to trial for the squad.
Slatter, a medium-pacer who trains three times a week and can swing and cut the ball both ways, has been identified as one of the state's most gifted female cricketers.
Slatter said yesterday she was thrilled to receive the chance to trial for one of about 20 places on the QAS regional program.
The youngest of the Gladstone trialists, Slatter also knows she has plenty of time to try again if unsuccessful at the Central Queensland trials to be staged at Rockhampton's Frenchville Sports Club next Tuesday.
Slatter said the increased emphasis being placed on women's cricket in recent years was encouraging.
"I'm in my fifth year and the competition just keeps getting harder,'' she said. "I would like to represent Queensland (in all age divisions).''
Slatter said comprehensive work with Australian under-17 representative Elise Hackett and regional development manager Sean Toovey had honed her game, alongside major contributions from her father Greg and brother Michael.
Queensland Cricket country co-ordinator Vic Williams, formerly based in Gladstone, and QAS head coach Trevor Barsby will conduct the trials.
Williams said the trials had been moved forward this year as staging them in April last year had posed problems for the players.
"Last year, some of the players hadn't played for awhile and had to go back and start training just to go to the trials,'' Williams said.
Williams said the players would be viewed performing fielding drills as well as batting and bowling in the nets but added the players would not be selected solely on their efforts on the day.
"The squad won't be announced until May which will give the selectors the opportunity to see what they can do in fixtures as well.''
However, Williams said efforts at the trials would go a long way to deciding the successful inductees.
The other trials are being staged at Toowoomba, Maryborough, North Rockhampton, Glenella, Townsville and Cairns.