The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) Masters will award a $1,000 youth scholarship to talented young players in Manjimup and Margaret River this weekend.
The scholarship will be awarded following T20 matches between the ACA Masters and the Warren Blackwood Cricket Association (WBCA) XI on Friday 28 October, at Collier Street Cricket Ground in Manjimup, and the Busselton Margaret River Cricket Association (BMRCA) XI on Sunday 30 October at Gloucester Park in Margaret River.
The scholarship winner will also have the unique opportunity to receive mentoring from one of the Masters players following the tour.
Three up-and-coming cricketers from the WBCA team, Callan Kezich from Dingup CC, Jethro Namnik from Forestry CC and Rory Sparks from Dingup CC, will vie for the ACA Masters Youth Scholarship in Manjimup.
Callan Kezich is a 16-year-old all-rounder in his third season of senior cricket with Dingup. The opening batsman and medium-pace bowler took out the Ron Wilson Award for the best-performed Under 21 cricketer in the association last season.
Jethro Namnik is a promising all-rounder in his fourth season of senior cricket with Forestry. The 16-year-old top-order batsman, who also bowls off-spin, has been chosen for senior Country Week duties twice and last season featured in the WBCA’s best XI. The year 11 also aspires to become an electrician.
Rory Sparks, also in his fourth season of senior cricket, made his debut for Forestry, before making the move to Dingup last season. The 16-year-old swing-bowler and top-order batsman joined his first Country Week campaign in 2015/16, where he was promoted to the first XI following some stellar performances. Away from the cricket field, the year 11 is pursuing a career in sport.
Two young cricketers from the BMRCA team, Fraser Oates from Vasse CC and Aiden Robins from Margaret River Hawks CC, will vie for the ACA Masters Youth Scholarship in Margaret River.
Fraser Oates had a breakout 2015/16 season, chalking up 1,000 runs across junior, senior and representative cricket. The 16-year-old top-order batsman represented Vasse CC B Grade and YOBS CC in junior cricket last season, showing maturity above his years.
Aiden Robins is a 15-year-old all-rounder, that made his senior A Grade debut for the Margaret River Hawks CC as a 14-year-old. Captaining his junior teams and representing the BMRJCA over the years in representative cricket, he will be looking to spearhead the Hawks’ A Grade attack this season.
The Tour is supported by the Shire of Manjimup, the WBCA, the Shire of Augusta Margaret River and the BMRCA.
ACA Chief Executive Alistair Nicholson said the $1,000 bursary, that recognises players 15-18 years of age, will help the recipient in meeting coaching, travel and other cricketing expenses.
“As well as the financial assistance, we recognise that these young players need positive role models and who better than a former elite player to offer them guidance,” he said.
“It’s vital that we foster our country cricket talent. Many of our current and former Australian players have come from regional parts of Australia, so the youth scholarship is a very important part of our program.”
In other news, Darren Wates has withdrawn from the tour, making way for former Western Australia, South Australia and Perth Scorchers quick Ben Edmondson to join the ACA Masters squad.