Sparks fly­ing with bat and bike

Alpine Observer - - Sport - YOUNG ACHIEVER By JUSTIN JEN­VEY

TOM Sparks likes go­ing fast or hit­ting fast bowl­ing.

The Pore­punkah young­ster is just as com­fort­able on two wheels as he is with a cricket bat in his hands.

He is one of sev­eral up and com­ing ju­nior crick­eters at Ovens Val­ley United and cur­rently plays in the club’s com­bined un­der 14s side with Beech­worth.

Sparks is the team’s sec­ond lead­ing run scorer with one half cen­tury to his name so far this sea­son and his per­for­mances have helped the side to third po­si­tion on the lad­der.

The 13 year-old has also had plenty of ex­po­sure to se­nior cricket play­ing nine C grade games in the 2016-17 sum­mer and an­other two this sea­son.

He also plays rep­re­sen­ta­tive cricket at un­der 14 level, for the Wan­garatta and Dis­trict Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion, and has showed strong form there, top scor­ing in the most re­cent chal­lenge with Shep­par­ton af­ter some good bat­ting in the city ver­sus coun­try game at the end of Novem­ber.

Sparks re­cently at­tended the Chris Rogers Cricket Camp, a three-day clinic held by the for­mer Aus­tralian Test bats­men at his par­ent’s cricket fa­cil­ity in Strath Creek.

The camp of­fers elite skills train­ing, pro­vided by Rogers and other high-level coaches, for 14-16 year-olds look­ing to ad­vance their cricket.

One of 23 young crick­eters to take part, Sparks was also just one of two play­ers from WDCA ranks, and he said it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It was good, we got oneon-one coach­ing and did a lot of dif­fer­ent cricket drills and ac­tiv­i­ties,” Sparks said.

“We worked on tech­nique and a lot of things to try and im­prove our over­all game.”

Sparks just missed out on mak­ing the North East Knights un­der 14 squad to play in the Vic­to­rian Path­way Cham­pi­onships in Jan­uary.

He will how­ever line-up in Coun­try Week against teams from Cricket Al­bury Wodonga and Wagga.

“I’ve played rep cricket for the last two years now which I’ve en­joyed,” Sparks said.

“I’ve also started wick­et­keep­ing with the team too and have been go­ing pretty good.

“It’s good get­ting to play and I think I find rep cricket and C grade a bit eas­ier be­cause the bowlers are a bit quicker and I like the chal­lenge.”

When the Wan­garatta Cathe­dral Col­lege stu­dent isn’t play­ing cricket, he spends his win­ter rid­ing mo­tor­bikes and play­ing foot­ball for the Bright Ju­nior Foot­ball Club.

Sparks be­gan rid­ing at age three and started rac­ing mo­tocross at age seven, but now races en­duro in the Vic­to­ria Off Road Cham­pi­onship.

“I switched to en­duro be­cause I didn’t en­joy mo­tocross as much hav­ing grown up rid­ing in the hills and the bush,” Sparks said.

“I raced 85cc this year and fin­ished third in my class and move up to 125cc next year.

“I missed a few games of footy be­cause I was rac­ing mo­tor­bikes but I’m lucky I can do all three sports for most of the year.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.