Opperman aims for consistency at Merrivale

MERRIVALE teenager Otto Opperman is considered one of Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s brightest prospects, but all he wants to do is add consistency to his game.

Five leading division one players named Opperman as their rising star tip in The Standard’s 2012-13 captains’ survey yesterday. 

The highly-touted batsman starts his second WDCA division one season against Port Fairy today.

After a strong division one debut season, where his top score was 47, Opperman said consolidating his spot was his aim.

As he looks to avoid any second year blues, he wants to “make as many runs as the older blokes at the club”.

“Nugget (captain Michael Walsh) gave me a good opportunity last year to play every senior game and hopefully I can play and make a few more runs this year,” he said.

Opperman is a right-handed batsman whose career-best 172 came in the under 17s competition last season.

He only bowls in under 17s after he “started to get smacked around a bit” and can wicket keep if needed.

“I concentrate on the field. I am not a bad catch but would like to work on my throwing,” he said.

Walsh was full of praise for the Emmanuel College student.

“He is fluent and his technique is spot on,” he said.

“It is nice to watch him bat. He has a good eye, good technique, good composure and doesn’t crack under pressure.

“That is good for a 16-year-old kid and last season he was 15.

“He is still a kid, Otto, so we’re not putting any big expectations on him.

“We will let him enjoy his cricket. We have full confidence he can go to the next level.”

Walsh said Opperman loved sport and was always trying to improve.

He said Merrivale opening bowler Cordie McKendry, all-rounder Josh Stapleton and wicketkeeper Sean Fary were other up-and-comers at the club.

“Otto puts a bit of pressure on himself but that’s because he sets high standards for himself,” Walsh said.

Opperman represented Western Waves at the under 16 Dowling Shield state championships in January.

He will try out for the Waves’ under 18 team in Hamilton tomorrow.

Opperman also plays football and a spot on North Ballarat Rebels’ 2013 list is also a goal.

He said combining the two sports has not become a problem yet.

“I’m not sure which I’d choose yet. Whichever path looked brighter,” he said.

Opperman said he was a little “underdone” heading into round one, having only swapped his football guernsey for cricket whites after Warrnambool lost the Hampden Football Netball League under 18 grand final to Terang Mortlake in September.

In other division one matches, Allansford hosts Woodford, Brierly-Christ Church welcomes reigning premier West Warrnambool, Wesley CBC plays Dennington, Russells Creek and the promoted East Warrnambool YCW clash and promoted side Nirranda tackles Nestles.

justine.mc@standard.fairfax.com.au

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