Sammy-Jo Johnson – how far can she go?
With the potential to be one of the most dangerous fast bowlers in the land, Lismore product Sammy-Jo Johnson has lost ground to make up in 2013-14.
Johnson gave a real boost to the Queensland Fire when she joined them early in 2011-12 but managed just one series in 12-13. A pre-season injury delayed her start to the season and then she struggled to regain fitness and form.
Tall and strong, she showed in her first summer she is capable of spearheading the attack.
Here is the latest profile of Sammy from the Queensland Fire website:
Club: Western Suburbs
Fire T20 Games: 10
Fire 1-Day Games: 5
A regular NSW underage representative, she was encouraged in the Spring of 2011 by Fire coach Andy Richards to have a crack at Brisbane Grade cricket with a view to State selection.
After just three weeks with Western Suburbs, Johnson was called up for a debut in a memorable T20 against the ACT Meteors. The game ended in a tie, with scores still drawn after a super over, Queensland eventually winning on a countback.
Then 19-year-old Johnson took 1-18 off three overs. It got even better in the second T20, Johnson grabbing 3-9 off four overs while destroying the Meteors top order.
The highlight of her season and pointer to her talent came at Drummoyne in Sydney when she dismissed internationals Alyssa Healy, Alex Blackwell and Lisa Sthalekar in the space of two overs to put the skids on the free-scoring NSW Breakers. Johnson took 3-14 from four overs as the Breakers made a record-low 9- 82.
Johnson finished the T20 season with 10 wickets from eight matches at 12.50 and an economy rate of 5.43. She was used more sparingly in the one-dayers, bowling 18 overs in four matches and taking a combined 2-76. Her best was 2-28, both top order scalps, off eight overs against SA in Adelaide.
Johnson proved a handful back at Grade level, finishing in the top 10 wicket-takers with 15 in 12 games at an average of just 13.47.
While she (and her mother) bore a heavy travelling load through the summer, it was all worthwhile for the determined Johnson.
As a 17-year-old, she spent five months playing in England for North-West Cumbria in the Northern League. She took more than 60 wickets and scored almost 1000 runs in that time.
She played regularly for Marist Brothers in the Lismore District men’s first grade competition and often bowled 17 overs in a day, before starting the travels to Brisbane.
Johnson was the talk of the town in 2009 when she dismissed former Australian batsman Michael Bevan in a Lismore Invitation XI v Australian Cricketers’ Association XI fixture in Lismore.
Good luck, Sammy. You are working hard, and deserve all the success you achieve from here on. Lord’s Taverners Northern NSW is proud to have given you a start!