Parramatta captain and proven wicketkeeper-batsman in McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket, Nick Bertus, has been awarded his first New South Wales Blues contract.

The 25-year-old replaces Will Somerville in the 2018/19 Blues squad, after the off-spinner was released from the second year of his contract.

Somerville is returning to his native New Zealand to play for the Auckland Aces with the aim of earning selection for the New Zealand national team.

Bertus last season led Parramatta to their first Belvidere Cup First Grade title in 53 years, and was pivotal in the final against Sydney University, with a resolute 85 from 222 balls that lasted six hours at the crease.

Bertus said he received the news whilst celebrating his birthday last week in the Northern Territory where he was playing for the Southern Storm in the NT Strike League.

“Words probably can’t really describe how excited I was especially when I got the call,” Bertus said.

“Obviously being around the group a little bit last season (with the NSW Metro Toyota Futures League team), I know the guys quite well … and I can’t wait to get into training.”

During his second season in the Futures League Bertus scored 374 runs at an average of over 50, including his maiden century at that level, 128 not out against ACT/NSW Country.

Nick Bertus on joining the Blues squad in 2018/19

Since the beginning of the 2015/16 season, Bertus has also stood out with the bat for Parramatta in the McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket competition scoring over 2,500 runs in those three seasons.

Cricket NSW General Manager of Cricket Performance, David Moore, said Bertus had been selected more so for these impressive performances with the bat than his keeping.

“He’s been a well performed wicket keeper in Grade cricket but we’re looking to give Nick a chance to stake his claim as a top order batsman. The opportunity for him to train and play full time with the Blues will give him a chance to take his batting to the next level,” Moore said. 

“It was a good opportunity for Cricket NSW to give a really well-performed batsman an opportunity to train full time and to see how much his game can develop with our world class coaches and Sports Science and Sports Medicine staff.”

“Nick is a very good person and is highly respected in the cricket community. We are looking for him to bring his high level character traits into the Blues group.”

Cricket NSW Chief Executive, Andrew Jones, said that Bertus adds to a long list of talent that has ascended through McDonald’s NSW Premier Cricket to the upper echelons of cricket in the state.

“We are absolutely delighted for Nick” said Jones.

“He joins the likes of Charlie Stobo, Ryan Gibson, Chris Green, Jay Lenton and Daniel Sams as one of many NSW cricketers who have earned professional contracts through performances in Premier Cricket in recent years. The NSW Cricket Pathway is as clear and robust as ever.”