Great Lakes cricketer Will Elliott has returned from his first time playing in the Bradman Cup victorious, after he and his fellow North Coastal Zone team mates went through the three-day carnival at Tamworth undefeated.
The 16-year-old fast bowler took one wicket in his first game and three wickets in his second game, before helping his team to a tight win over Central Coast from the field in the final game (fast bowlers were only allowed to bowl two matches each).
Along the way, Will felt like he adjusted to the high standard of competition well and gained valuable experience for his cricketing future.
"It was a whole new level, quality-wise," he said.
"I feel like I wasn't out of my depth."
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Making the accomplishment even more special was the fact Will and his team mates didn't get a chance to train together in the lead up to the carnival, with the assembled squad from the Mid North Coast, North Coast and Far North Coast zones instead having to find its synergy on the field after rain saw successive training sessions cancelled.
This ultimately didn't prove to be a problem.
"It surprised me how well we came together as a group," Will said.
"The team gelled really well."
Will made the squad after impressing selectors while playing for Mid North Coast at Tamworth in October.
Like most sporting events, the Bradman Cup was disrupted by the pandemic, with the traditional four-day carnival featuring eight teams from Country NSW and the ACT being split instead into northern and southern zone carnivals.
The chance to gain selection for the Under-16 State Challenge was also withdrawn, but Will wasn't letting the disappointment of that get to him.
He's got his eyes on making the NSW Country team some time in the future and also earning a spot in the North Coastal Zone team for the Under-18 Country Championships in the next two years.
He's also focussed on helping Great Lakes claim their second win in as many seasons in the Manning second grade competition.
The team currently trails Taree United by three points.
"I really do think we can (win it)," he said.
"We've probably got a better side than last year."
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Will said the experience of playing alongside older players in the Manning competition had helped him a lot in his representative cricket, with several of his Great Lakes team mates offering him their insights from playing in the Bradman Cup previously.
"It's a good challenge; there's a lot of experience there," he said.
"You learn a lot about how to carry yourself in cricket."
The Manning competition is set to resume on Saturday, January 23, with Great Lakes scheduled to meet Wingham at Tuncurry Oval.
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