Representative selection becomes family tradition

LIKE mother, like daughter — or more accurately — like mother and her other sisters.

If anyone was born to play a sport, it's Hayley Rowlison and softball's the game.

Mum Kathy started at five and, at 49, has just given it away after returning from the World Masters Games in Italy but is considering a Dame Nellie for next season.

Elder sisters Emma and Kate both played at representative level.

Was the youngest Rowlison a reluctant beginner at the grand old age of four?

Hardly.

"I couldn't wait to start," said the now 16-year-old. "I loved it."

She's finished up by being chosen in the NSW under-17 team that will contest the national championships next month. The selection followed the Hills Hawks third base cum right-field's performances for the Hornsby regional representative team that won the state title, and she'll be joined in the NSW squad by fellow Hawks Natasha Markham and Georgia Medcalf.

Rowlison was also a handy soccer goalkeeper when younger but softball was always going to be her go.

Now it's all go for the national titles at Blacktown International Sportspark on January 5-11.

Her major influence? No free set of softball equipment for guessing the answer.

"Mum coached me a couple of years ago and I really respected her advice," Hayley said. But then came the day and the game when mum played daughter in an A-grade match.

"It was a little bit strange but nice," said the star pupil.

Softball hasn't upset the harmony in the Rowlison household and everyone's happy with the pupil's progress. Almost.

"It's a pity it wasn't something like golf or tennis, to keep her old dad in the manner he would like," said dad Guy of the non-lucrative world of softball.

Blacktown International Sportspark will host three national championships this January. The 2014 under 16s baseball national youth titles will be held from January 7-14. Teams representing Queensland, Western Australia, NSW Metro, NSW Country, South Australia and Victoria (two sides) will take to the pitch. The Gilley’s Shield  open women’s national softball titles will be held from January 3-11. The under 17s women’s national softball titles from January 5-11 will round out the action.

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