The Hockey Paper - - FEATURE -

now has a re­gional co-or­di­na­tor’s job with the West Aus­tralian Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion having man­aged to com­plete a sport de­vel­op­ment trainee­ship while play­ing hockey.

“I loved cricket and made the State shadow squad as an all-rounder but I was al­ways a small kid and started to find it a bit hard – the fast bowlers got a bit in­tim­i­dat­ing,” he says. “If I’d grown a bit faster I think I would have done a whole lot bet­ter.”

Luck­ily for hockey he made the switch and is now the third gen­er­a­tion Mit­ton to rep­re­sent his coun­try, mak­ing his de­but in 2010 against Egypt at the Sul­tan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia. His first home ap­pear­ance, against Ar­gentina that year in Perth, was also mem­o­rable.

Sport­ing a pair of bright red boots, he trot­ted on the pitch as an early sub­sti­tute and was pre­sented with a get­table chance mo­ments later. He spun, swung, and missed the ball com­pletely. I was there, and I re­mind him of it. “I re­mem­ber it so clearly. All my mates were watch­ing on the hill, and what­ever you were think­ing at that mo­ment, they were yelling,” he grins.

So why the at­ten­tion-seek­ing boots? He’s re­ally not that sort of bloke.

“I’d been se­lected for the 2010 Com­mon­wealth Games and my Gran had dif­fi­culty pick­ing me out on the tele­vi­sion so I chose the brightest pair pos­si­ble,” he says.

The good news is that Mit­ton has been fir­ing on all cylin­ders. In Dar­win last week he took his goal tally to 44 in 106 ap­pear­ances as the Kook­abur­ras wal­loped Pak­istan in a four-Test se­ries and he will be look­ing for­ward to a busy 12 months.

Next up should be the Sul­tan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, the World League semi-fi­nals in South Africa and Trans-Tas­man ac­tion against New Zealand.

Then come the Com­mon­wealth Games where Batch is surely not go­ing to deny him a crack at a third gold, on the Gold Coast. And that, Mit­ton hopes, will be the start of some­thing even bet­ter.

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