AT just 15, Hugh McCluggage is already starting to feel very much at home in senior cricket.
The talented Allansford teenager has become a regular in the Gators’ first 11 since making his division one debut in round two last season.
Last Saturday against East Warrnambool-YCW, McCluggage announced his arrival as a high quality top-order player when he hit 99 in Allansford’s total of 251.
While he may have missed out on a maiden division one century, the class and composure shown by McCluggage left no doubt that a triple-figure innings is not far away.
Speaking during his lunch break at Warrnambool College where he is in year 11, McCluggage said batting in the top order in division one was an exciting experience.
“Last year I batted down the order most of the time so batting at number three against East was a big difference,” McCluggage said.
“The ball is a lot harder and it swings more and the bowlers are quicker because they are still fresh.
“I got off the mark early which is always a good feeling and the outfield was pretty fast so you got value for your shots.
“Once I got to 20 I felt a bit more comfortable but the thing about division one is that you can never relax. You need to keep your concentration levels high.”
McCluggage’s success has not been confined to club level, having made a century in January playing in Melbourne for the Western Waves under 16 team.
He has a long-term plan of going to university and playing cricket in Melbourne and is keen to test himself at higher levels of cricket as his career advances.
Cricket plays a big part in the McCluggage family with Hugh’s father Sam a former Warrnambool and District Cricket Association division one cricketer of the year and a premiership player with Allansford.
Sam has played some games this season with his son while Hugh’s uncle Gault McCluggage is also one of his division one teammates.