Gardner is the first Indigenous female to be awarded the annual prize which forms part of Cricket Australia’s State Cricket Awards recognising Australia’s best domestic cricketers for the season.
Marked as a star of the future, Gardner achieved a number of milestones during the year including being named in the NSW Breakers women's team, Cricket Australia’s Under-18s Female Talent Camp Squad and being awarded Player of the Championships for the U/18 Female National Championships.
Last month Gardner led New South Wales to the Women’s title at Cricket Australia’s all-indigenous tournament, the Imparja Cup. She dominated the carnival with both bat and ball, scoring 147 runs in three matches and taking nine wickets at an average of 5.2 bowling her right-arm off spin.
Gardner’s impressive Imparja Cup performance earned her the Female Player of the Tournament award and a place in the 2015 Team of the Championships.
The 17 year-old has also excelled in grade cricket this season earning her a spot in the Commonwealth Bank Shooting Stars which travelled to Sri Lanka earlier this year and are set to tour Dubai from 30 March – 13 April. The tours are designed to combine a high performance training environment with valuable match-practice in sub-continent conditions.
The selection panel for the Lord’s Taverners Indigenous Cricketer of the Year consisted of National Indigenous Cricket Advisory Committee Co-Chair Aaron Briscoe, Former Australian Women’s Captain and Bupa National Cricket Centre Senior Manager Belinda Clark, Cricket Australia’s National Indigenous Officer Paul Stewart and Cricket Australia’s Senior Manager Game Development John Watkin. The panel’s selection was based on five criteria:
1. Performance at Imparja Cup and State/Territory national competitions 2. Positive contribution to Indigenous Cricket within home State/Territory 3. Potential to take the next step on the high performance pathway 4. Being a positive role model for other Indigenous Cricketers 5. Showing leadership amongst his/her peers.
The Lord’s Taverners Australia supports Australian cricket’s Indigenous programs.