MERRIVALE’S resident South African is full of expectations.
Ben Compton, a London-based batsman from South Africa’s east coast, hopes to spearhead the Tigers’ lunge up the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association ladder.
While a priority, making runs isn’t Compton’s sole aim from his time in the south-west.
Instead, the 23-year-old expects his six-month stint will “toughen me up a bit”, providing the perfect pre-season for a tilt at English first-class level with Durham.
“I’ve been playing club cricket in London and mixing that with second XI cricket (at Durham). I’ve been trying to make a good go of that,” Compton said.
“Helping Merrivale is my primary intention, but on the side, it’s a nice way to prepare as well as I can for next season (in England).”
Compton said his responsibilities would stretch beyond the crease.
“I’ve got to do everything I can to give back to this club. I want to do what an overseas player should do and more,” he said.
“Everyone has been good to me and I feel inclined to help as much as I can.
“It’s not just scoring runs, taking wickets – but it can be things like coaching the kids and helping the under 13s, helping the under 15s.”
Compton, a politics and history student, had settled in to the south-west well and was relishing the change of pace from London life.
He drew likeness between Warrnambool and his hometown – Durban – and revealed he found the cricket conditions to be “not dissimilar” from South Africa.
“I think certainly the scale of the ground is similar. The ground at Merrivale, for example, is huge,” Compton said.
“The pitches are pretty similar – I expect you’ll encounter a bit of pace and bounce in the warmer conditions.
“I imagine it will be a little different to England, where the ball often swings a lot through the air but not quite as fast.
“It’ll be a good experience.”
Compton was serviceable in the Tigers’ upset triumph over Russells Creek on Saturday, blasting 29 runs from number two.