Young cricketers get top marks for sportsmanship
WHEN it comes to outstanding sportsmanship, camaraderie and dedication, elite cricketers could learn a lot from the recently formed Alstonville Under-12 Gold team.
They may have lost their first six matches, but according to coach Peter O'Toole the boys, who have come from around the region, are winners in positive thinking.
Watching the boys playing a practice match at their home ground at Geoff Watt Oval, O'Toole grins when he talks about the optimism and courage the players have shown.
"They are a fantastic team and despite the results, they are all enthusiastic and love their cricket,” he said. "We came close last week. They only lost by 10 runs and from the boys' reactions you would think that they had won the World Cup.”
O'Toole said the team was a real united nations of players who had gelled magnificently.
"There is a real mix of boys and most of them have not played much before,” he said.
"Two are in Year 3 in Ballina, three have South African parents, one is Scottish and one is half-English.
"The boys always encourage each other and there has not been any negative behaviour from them and they all turn up for training keen as anything.”
The coach also paid tribute to the players' families, whom he said had got behind the youngsters on and off the field.
"The parents are great, they come along and help with training and scoring, and this makes a real difference,” he said.
Team captain Aidan Rogers, 11, who bats No4 as well as being the wicketkeeper, said he was super proud of the way the boys trained and played.
"This is the first time I've been captain and there are challenges in leading a new team,” he said.
"You need to get to know everyone and learn who likes to play where, so if someone wants a go in a different position, I'll swap them and give them a go.”
Aidan said while he looked up to national and international players as role models, he reckons the elite women as really showing the world how the game should be played.
"The Southern Stars are really good,” he said with a smile.
"They are better than the men.”
Substitute captain Tyson Black, 10, said leading the team in Aidan's absence was a big responsibility.
"It's a really important duty,” he said.
"If the captain is not here you fill in and you can't mess things up.”
This week the Alstonville Gold Under-12 team has a bye so will keep their form up with an adults versus kids match.
If they are an indication, the future of Australian men's cricket is in good hands.