THE Stan Austin Trophy once again belongs to Hunter Valley in the under-16 competition – and that’s largely thanks to the incredible efforts of Denman’s Hunter Ball.
The 15-year-old came out of the tournament with an outstanding average of 62 after the four matches, in which his side scored 725 and conceded just 329 in total.
Batting at number five, he was a huge part of his team’s success as they did the Hunter Valley proud for the second year running.
Ball went into the four-day carnival at Taree feeling comfortable with his game.
But, he admits he wasn’t expecting to have quite the competition he did.
“I got a few big scores going into the event, so I was pretty confident of getting runs,” the teenager said.
“I just didn’t know I’d get as many runs as were to come, though.”
The up-and-coming star has been to the Stan Austin rep tournament four times before but never with the level of success he enjoyed on this occasion.
And, he doesn’t plan on stopping at that level.
“Hopefully it’s a career option and all of the hard work pays off in the long run,” Ball said.
“So, I’d certainly be looking to play first class cricket for New South Wales in the future.”
He’s certainly up for the challenge and has already shown himself capable of acclimatising to different environments, as he was the only player from the local area in the carnival side.
“It is hard to bond for that first day or so but as you get on and you’re staying together, it gets easier and you do bond throughout the carnival,” Ball admitted.
Between his ability to slot into any dressing room and his raw talent as a cricketer, it seems likely the youngster will be making headlines for a long time and maybe, if we’re lucky enough, he’ll eventually fix Australia’s dreadful number five issue.