The final month of year 12 can be the most challenging yet rewarding time of a student’s schooling life but for Charli Knott, it was spent in a COVID-19 bubble playing professional cricket.
The Brisbane Heat all-rounder packed her bags on October 22, travelling south to Sydney for 47 days in the Women’s Big Bash League’s makeshift village.
The competition’s eight teams, with hundreds of players and staff, moved into the hub to ensure this year’s season went ahead, as the world battled a pandemic.
Days after the 17-year-old Brisbane State High School student arrived in the bubble she started her ATAR exam block.
“I had to travel to a school in Sydney called Cedar College and basically I just went into that school and sat all my exams just at that campus in a room with an adjudicator — it was all pretty well organised,” Knott said.
“All my spare time I was in my room studying, but having the opportunity to go and train was good to get my mind off study.
“Then similarly being able to study took my mind off cricket, but it was very hectic the first two weeks trying to fit all my study in.”
Missed some big milestones
Knott has missed her school formal, her graduation, and will not be able to celebrate her 18th birthday next Sunday at home with friends and family, including her identical twin sister Hannah.
“We’ve been together for a long time — we’ve been separated for shorter periods, but this is obviously a lot longer, so it’s a bit sad,” Hannah said.
“I was Facetiming her getting ready — I couldn’t talk to her at formal but it was still nice to have her there while getting ready.”
Knott said while it was sad she had not been able to celebrate those special milestones at home in Brisbane, there was no place she would rather be than playing cricket.
“I turn 18 the finals weekend actually on the 29th of November, the grand final’s on the 28th. Hopefully we make it that far,” she said.
From a family household to chaotic bubble
Knott isn’t the Heat’s only school student.
Georgia Voll, who is in year 11 at Brisbane State High School, is the youngest member of the team.
Voll and Knott are among 12 students who are living in the WBBL bubble and the group had been getting together for study sessions.
Brisbane Heat coach Ash Noffke said the side’s experienced players had taken the teenagers under their wing.
“We’ve got a female physio who’s come on for this trip — obviously we’ve got our sport psychologist and welfare officers back at home that are constantly touching base with them.
“We want the girls to be happy and relaxed — we probably don’t demand as much of them when we’re in this bubble — we try to spend some time together but spend some time apart as well.”