The future of cricket in NSW is certainly looking bright after a number of aspiring young male and female cricketers produced excellent performances during the State Challenge carnival, which recently took place at Raby Sports Complex.
The State Challenge is a key fixture in the cricketing calendar as strong individual performances during the tournament play a significant role in selections for future National Championships across all age groups.
Here are just some of the players to watch for the future, who all posted strong performances during the competition.
Mitchell was pivotal to Country Thunder claiming the Under 16 Basil Sellers Male State Challenge title and their undefeated record throughout the competition. He was also awarded the Warren Smith Medal for the most outstanding Country player at the carnival for his performances and character displayed on and off-the-field.
Coaching and Talent Specialist of Cricket Performance in the Riverina/Western Zone, Greg McLay, said his half-century in what was effectively a final against Country Sixers was crucial to Country Thunder taking the crown. He made 71 from 95 deliveries in the 104-run win.
“He played a pretty controlled innings at the top of the order (in that match),” McLay said.
Mitchell was the leading run-scorer in the Under 16 competition, posting 137 runs from his three matches at the commendable average of 45.67 including two fifties.
However, McLay added that while the young man from the North Coast scored some valuable runs to help his team claim the State Challenge, he may offer far more than his batting ability in the future.
“Down the track (he) probably has some leadership potential.”
Coaching and Talent Specialist for the ACT/Southern NSW/Illawarra region, Stephen Davies, said that during the Under 15 Female State Challenge, Kumari was totally outstanding for Metro Thunder.
Female Talent Manager for High Performance Steve Jenkin agreed. Kumari claimed three wickets at the impressive average of 8.33 and miserly economy rate of 3.57 throughout the tournament. She also scored 72 runs but was only dismissed once in three matches.
Davies and Jenkin also made special mention of the all-round performance of Gabrielle Sutcliffe for Country Sixers.
Sutcliffe recorded outstanding all-round performances with both bat and ball. She claimed three wickets in the Under 18 Female State Challenge at 10.33 and scored 32 handy runs during her two visits to the crease.
Her team was declared joint winners of the Under 18 Female division with Country Thunder and Metro Thunder.
Hunar Verma and Connor O’Riordan
Two players, who until now the selectors hadn’t had the opportunity to see much of were fast bowlers Hunar Verma (Metro Thunder) and Connor O’Riordan (Metro Sixers).
Coaching and Talent Manager for Cricket Performance of the Sydney Metropolitan region, Gavan Twining, said that the tall fast bowlers showed great promise.
“Both boys are tall, get bounce and hit the bat high and it was good to see them in game situations,” said Twining.
Verma collected two wickets at 35, and while O’Riordan only returned the one wicket, his performance against Metro Thunder was very good. He claimed 1/18 from four overs.
Seb Buchanan for the Metro Sixers was another who showed good pace in the Under 16 Male State Challenge, especially on the last day, according to Twining.
He returned the excellent figures of 3-32 from 7.3 overs against Metro Thunder on that final day.
Patrick Moore (Metro Thunder) made the highest score for the tournament. He posted 82 from 100 balls against Country Thunder and shared one of the highest partnerships of the week with victorious Parramatta Green Shield captain, Harrison King (58). Their opening stand added 138 runs.
Central Coast allrounder Broc Hardy (Country Sixers) was among the top ten leading run-scorers and top five wicket-takers for the State Challenge with 88 runs at 29.33 and five wickets at 20.6 respectively.
Tanvir Singh, a team mate of Broc Hardy, also caught the eye of selectors.
“He bowled some good outswing at reasonable pace,” McLay said.
Singh claimed four scalps at 12.25. All four of his wickets were taken in an outstanding display against the Metro Sixers where he picked up 4-26 from eight overs.
Country Thunder allrounder Jade Allen was equally superb in the Under 15 Female State Challenge. She collected three wickets at 18.67 and was the second leading run-scorer with 73 runs.
Claire Moore was top of the run-scorers list and contributed greatly to the Metro Sixers title success in the Under 15 Female State Challenge. She was not dismissed during the competition and compiled 79 runs from two innings.
Country Sixers’ off-spinner Hannah Faux was the leading wicket-taker in the Under 18 competition. She claimed her four wickets for the tournament courtesy of a stunning performance against the Metro Sixers returning 4-7 from five overs.
Anika Learoyd (Country Sixers) was by far and away the leading run-scorer in the Under 18 female division. She compiled 89 runs and was not dismissed during the series.