FOUR of the Shoalhaven’s best under 14s cricketers are presently in the Manning River representing Southern Zone in the Kookaburra Cup.
The week-long competition got under way on Monday and will continue throughout the week, with the final to be played on Thursday.
Ulladulla’s Matt Gilkes is captaining the side, and has been joined by Shoalhaven representative teammates Zac Blattner, Tom Engelbrecht and Caleb Murray.
The Southern Zone team has managed to get themselves off to the best possible start winning their opening match against Central Northern, that included a four wicket haul by Tom Engelbrecht, a single wicket to Caleb Murray, a fine opening score of 25 by Matt Gilkes, backed up by 29 to Zac Blattner. Today’s match is against Newcastle.
The Kookaburra Cup is an annual under 14s competition between each Country Zone across NSW, including North Coastal, Central Northern, Western, Newcastle, Central Coast, Illawarra, Riverina and Southern.
Playing for the Southern Zone will be a step up for Zac Blattner, as it will be the first time he has played at the Country cricket level.
This season he has been busy playing representative cricket for Shoalhaven under 14s representative team, as well as for Bomaderry under 14s, Bomaderry first grade, and in the Shoalhaven senior cricket T20 competition.
“I was actually really surprised to be selected. I was in the NSW academy before that and was playing good in rep cricket for Shoalhaven, so I was really hoping to get in,” he admitted.
Good was an understatement. In the lead-up to the Kookaburra Cup, Blattner scored an unbeatable 102 runs not out against Eurobodalla, and his fine batting form in his other matches led to his selection.
“It will be a very good level of cricket. It is going to be tough, and a step up from club and Shoalhaven representative cricket,” said Blattner.
The right-handed batsmen said he was hoping to face some fast bowlers to give him the best chance of racking up the runs.
But although he hopes to bat well, Blattner’s main focus will be on being a team player.
“I want to help the team out and make sure the team gets the wins. I want to play for them and not just my own individual ability,” he said.
“I am definitely hoping for a finals place, but it is going to be very tough. But we have got a very strong team so we will just have to see how we go.”