IT’S NOT hard to see Warrnambool is brimming with junior talent after the association’s widespread success at junior country week carnivals.
With many players carefully managed between junior and senior schedules, the city’s best talent are making waves on the regional and state stage.
The Standard has unearthed eight junior talents currently plying their trade in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association to keep an eye on as they progress into senior grades.
BAILEY JENKINSON (NESTLES)
WHY: Jenkinson’s versatility is vital to his strength and future prospects. A classy top-order batsman, the Nestles product is emerging as the next possible big export from the south-west region. An elite fielder and a developing bowler.
WHAT: An all-rounder with the ability to change a game. Burst onto the scene with a stunning 94 with the Western Waves’ under 16 side last month.
WHEN: Expect Jenkinson to make big strides in the next 12 months. Has the potential to follow in Tommy Jackson’s footsteps and pursue a Victorian Premier Cricket career.
ALEX JENNINGS (WOODFORD)
WHY: A proven leader and player who can do as much damage with the ball as he can with the bat. Jennings captained Warrnambool Gold’s under 17 country week side, claiming nine wickets from three matches. Jennings is a big-game player who is already capable of influencing a division one match.
WHAT: Genuine all-rounder who bamboozles opposition with spin bowling, and is making huge strides as a batsman.
WHEN: Jennings had a taste of premier cricket with Northcote and this looms as his pathway into the next phase of his career. Already a rusted-on Western Waves prospect.
CAMPBELL LOVE (BRIERLY-CC)
WHY: Unassuming type off the field, but a genuine star at the crease. Blasted a stunning century on day one of under 15 country week in Horsham, before following it up with another half-century on day three. Love is foremost a batsman, but is handy with ball-in-hand when called upon.
WHAT: Top-order batsman with captaincy credentials. Not yet proven at division one level, but is only 15 and looms as an exciting prospect. Time with the Western Waves has also been well-deserved.
WHEN: As a top-to-middle order batsman, Love looms as a more long-term prospect. Representing Vic Country at the School Sport Australia 15 and Under Cricket Championships and a Western Waves prospect. Could emerge in the next two seasons.
ZAVIER MUNGEAN (NIRRANDA)
WHY: Has improved dramatically and Nirranda’s faith in him is looking like a masterstroke. Blasted 133 runs at under 17 country week to emerge as one of Warrnambool’s most consistent batsmen. Looming as a long-term division one prospect for Nirranda.
WHAT: Wicketkeeper-batsman who is capable of making big scores. Popular player among teammates and commonly goes by his nickname and middle name, ‘Norm’.
WHEN: Will grow into a more complete player with time, but is showing strong signs thus far. Could be a three-year project.
JACKSON COUCH (NIRRANDA)
WHY: Has burst onto the scene after an eye-catching season with Nirranda’s division three side last season. Now a division one regular under Steve Castle and is playing alongside his father, Corey, to average 15.4 runs an innings in his first season.
WHAT: An all-rounder capable of doing damage with both bat and ball, Couch is an attractive prospect for premier cricket outfits. Could follow in his brother’s foosteps to play with Geelong.
WHEN: Already a very handy division one player but is someone who will benefit massively from another one or two seasons in the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association’s top flight.
JACK HOLLEY (MERRIVALE)
WHY: Long-term prospect for the Tigers but came to life in the under 17 country week grand final, bowling a super economical 1-6 off five overs. Has claimed 10 division one wickets to prove his worth at that level and a swarm of runs in the under 17s indicates he can bat.
WHAT: Bowling all-rounder who can rip through a division one outift, as proven by his four-wicket haul against East Warrnambool in round six.
WHEN: Ready-made for division one as a bowler and will ease into batting with more time in the middle.
NICK ROBERTSON (NIRRANDA)
WHY: Robertson is a bit of an enigma. The leg-spinner transitioned into medium pace for country week and impressed several, including Warrnambool and District Cricket Association chairman and junior cricket boss Gordon McLeod.
WHAT: All-rounder who is focusing on his batting but is already a star bowler. His economical and lethal medium-fast bowling (which included efforts of 6-13 off six overs and 2-9 off eight).
WHEN: Robertson has been playing senior cricket for years and is poised to make a play at cementing a division one place with Nirranda. Originally from Russells Creek.
DAMON DEWS (ALLANSFORD)
WHY: Consistent batsman who has had no issues grasping the standard of division one to date in a talent-packed Allansford team. Was also serviceable at country week, contributing a steady flow of runs and wickets.
WHAT: Batsman who is serviceable with the ball. Has benefited from having leaders around him at Allansford and looms as a strong prospect for the future.
WHEN: While batsmen often need longer to adjust, Dews looks ready-made for division one now.