For the second season in a row, Singleton’s Beau Parnell and Tom Druery have reached the pinnacle of representative cricket for their age group.
The talented duo were both selected to play for the Country Sixes Riptides at the State Challenge in Dubbo. They once again pulled on the pink and black jersey from January 23 to 26, and mixed with the best from all over New South Wales. However, this year they played in the U14 competition and made it to the final.
Since its inception in the 2014/15 season, the Under 13 and 14 State Challenges see the best NSW Metro and NSW Country players coming together across eight teams within each age group.
The teams are selected as combined ‘zones’ incorporating both the metropolitan and country regions which are aligned with the Sixers and Thunder. Parnell explains their team consisted of players from Newcastle, Central North, and the North Coast.
“It was pretty much the same line up as last year’s U13’s side,” Druery added.
But this year, Parnell was required to concentrate on batting rather than his fast bowling. Whereas, Druery had a chance to perfect his leg spin, and did not have to worry about scoring runs. During the challenge the boys played two 50-over matches, and two T20 games.
In the first round, Parnell was given the task of opening the batting. Despite being a bit nervous, he scored a half-century (50 runs) which set the tone for the rest of the carnival. When the Riptides faced their city rivals in the final, Druery snared two vital wickets. Breaking up what turned out to be a match-winning partnership for the opposition (Metro Sixes Waves).
Both boys were satisfied with their overall performances and enjoyed the challenge but the story doesn’t end here. After a full-on summer of cricket it looks like they will get another opportunity to be a part of the Cricket NSW Academy during winter.
I say full-on because their rep season began with selection in the Hunter Valley side. From here the pair played for Central North in the Kookaburra Cup at Griffith. After this they had to fulfill their Hunter Valley commitments and attend the Under 14 Graeme Malcolm Carnival in Newcastle before heading to the challenge in Dubbo.