As soon as the umpire's finger was raised Emma Hughes knew what was coming.
A frantic rubbing of the head awaits any cricketer who takes their first wicket at the top level and it was no different on Friday when Dubbo junior Hughes struck for the NSW Breakers.
She was mobbed by celebrating teammates after claiming her first WNCL wicket in just her third over in Breakers colours.
"It was so stressful," Hughes laughed.
"They put my hair in such a big knot and I couldn't get my hair out to put it back in a ponytail, but it was unreal.
"I was so happy when I got the wicket. It was the first of our season too so that's pretty cool."
The wicket of Rhiann O'Donnell - caught in first slip by Orange junior Phoebe Litchfield - made Friday's occasion all the more special for Hughes.
A Macquarie junior, Hughes has been training with the Breakers for roughly three years and all the work put in during that time was made worth it when she was handed her baggy blue prior to the clash with Victoria.
A letter from her family was read out during the presentation, while Breakers great and Australian representative Rachael Haynes was the one made the handover of the famed cap.
"I was trying really hard not to cry but it's just something I've worked really hard for so it was amazing to get out there and actually play a game," Hughes said.
"That's the one moment I'm going to remember for a long, long time; that cap presentation from Rach Haynes."
If a debut and a wicket already wasn't good enough, the match was also memorable as the Breakers scored a great win over their fierce rivals.
Hughes opened the bowling and finished with 1/41 as the Ellyse Perry-led Victoria posted an imposing 8/270 from their 50 overs.
At 4/159 in reply things were looking a little shaky for the Breakers, but a brilliant 80 not out from just 48 balls for Erin Burns won the match for NSW after Haynes (96) and Alyssa Healy (51) set the platform early.
"It was a really great game to watch," Hughes said.
"We got a little bit tired towards the end (with the ball) because it was our first game after the Big Bash and we've gone from 20-over cricket to 50-over cricket.
"But we went out and said we'd give it our all and we enjoyed every moment."
Speaking on Saturday, there had been time for Hughes to reflect on what she had achieved.
There's no way you can stop me now. I'll be pushing my hardest to play every game.- Emma Hughes
A hugely promising player during her junior days in Dubbo, Hughes was a regular in representative sides and after making the move to the city she achieved a dream when debuting for the Sydney Sixers in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) last season.
But the Breakers debut had proved elusive and it was the one the 21-year-old swing bowler craved.
"The 50-over cricket has always been more of my thing and there's just something special about playing for your state in a 50-over game," she said.
"You get the baggy blue and there's the pride of playing for your state.
"It was so exciting. The whole day I couldn't stop smiling. It was just unreal."
The first wicket came on the last ball of her third over as O'Donnell went hard at a ball outside off and an edge was taken well by Litchfield at first slip.
"Midge (Healy) gave me the advice to just be patient, keep bowling my in-swing, keep chipping away and the wicket would come," Hughes said.
"Phoebe and I have known each other for a really long time so it was a good moment. I backed her to catch it in the slips so it was a really proud moment."
When she made her way off the field there was plenty of messages and calls from friends and family, congratulating her on the achievement.
The Breakers played again on Sunday and while Hughes wasn't selected for what was a rain-affected contest, she said Friday's experience has only given her more motivation.
"It's got me pushing harder to be better for the next game," she said.
"There's no way you can stop me now. I'll be pushing my hardest to play every game."
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I started working at the Daily Liberal in 2013 and now hold the position of senior journalist. I cover all that's happening in sport in Dubbo and the wider western area and have a passion for doing so. If you've got a story that needs telling, reach out.
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