Scotland cricketer Kathryn Bryce jetted off to Australia on Boxing Day to learn from some of the best in the world.
All-rounder Bryce, who plays for Watsonians, turned 19 last month and has been named as one of eight Rebel Women’s Big Bash League Associate rookies.
She joins players from Hong Kong, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, China and Nepal who have shown promise and will get to see how the top level women’s players from around the globe go about their business in the Australian Twenty20 event.
Bryce will join up with the Melbourne Stars on December 28 and train with them during a two-week placement and attend home matches while she is down under.
In the event of an injury to a contracted player she could then be called up to play.
The Stars have made a good start to the campaign which began earlier this month and are captained by Australian internationalist Meg Lanning.
Other on-form players for them at the moment include another Australian internationalist in Emma Kearney while Kiwi Morna Nielsen has also been playing a starring role.
“When I heard from Cricket Scotland that I had been selected to take part in this programme as one of the rookies I was delighted,” Bryce said.
“I have had a great couple of years learning all the time with the Scotland team and playing against lots of good opposition all over the world in different conditions, but this will be something completely different for me.
“I will be away from all of my familiar team-mates and will be training with players who have been there and done it at the top level, so even to train with them will be very good for me and help my progression.
“Just watching how they prepare for practice, how they use analysis to work on things for the next match and how they interact with coaches and team-mates will be fascinating. I will just go there and do my best.
“To watch some of the games live will also be a great experience and it will also be really useful to get some outdoor training under my belt at this time of year.”
In the last couple of years Bryce has become one of the national team’s most consistent performers and has skippered the team on occasion.
Her younger sister Sarah also plays for Scotland.
Bryce, a former George Watson’s College pupil, has recently returned to the Capital from her first few months at Loughborough University.
And she has enjoyed university life and training down south too.
“The facilities at Loughborough are brilliant and it has meant that I have been able to keep up my gym work and get some indoor net sessions in while I have been adjusting to studying,” Bryce explained.
“I have known for a wee while that I would be going to Melbourne so that has been in the back of my mind as has the Women’s World Cup qualifiers in Sri Lanka.”
The qualifiers Bryce mentions are for the 50-over World Cup and they take place in February.
As a result the Scotland players who are based at home all winter have been working hard under the watchful eye of head coach Steve Knox to prepare.
And Bryce and a number of others who have had the chance to get some overseas experience will be joining them in Sri Lanka for the encounters with South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea.
It is quite a way to start off 2017 and the first Pool B match is with South Africa on February 8.
Bryce said: “As a Scotland squad we feel we have made big strides in 2016 and we want to continue that into 2017.
“We know we will face some tough matches in Sri Lanka, but we are looking forward to it.”
The World Cup is in England and Wales in June and July.