Above: Victorian Under 19 State Squad member, Ollie Jenkins.
Seven of the Camberwell Magpies’ brightest prospects have been selected in the Victorian Male Emerging Performance Squads announced by Cricket Victoria last month.
Ollie Jenkins, Liam Fitzpatrick, Spencer Wood and new recruit Tom Nelson were all selected in the Under 19 squad, while Dhruv Redhu, Will Townsend and Mitchell Wolters made it into the Under 17s squad.
The players were selected in the respective squads based on performances in club cricket, the Youth Premier League and Youth National Championships last season, and have spent the preseason period benefitting from an extensive online training program that has included presentations from current and former Test players and industry experts.
For left-arm orthodox spinner and promising top order batsman Ollie Jenkins, being part of the state’s talent pathway system this preseason has been an eye-opening experience.
“It’s so cool (being part of the squad) and I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” Jenkins said.
“You get to work with guys like Aaron Finch and Scott Boland, and it gives me great insight into how they play their cricket and how can grow my game for the better."
For Jenkins, who was last year awarded the Geoff Mitchell Memorial Trophy as the Camberwell Magpies’ Most Promising Under 17 Player, his selection amongst the state’s most promising young players came as quite a shock.
"I was bored at home and I thought I’d go on my WhatsApp just to see if anything was happening, then I saw I was a part of a group chat from Cricket Victoria and I couldn't believe it,” Jenkins said.
"I always question that day because it one of those what-if moments, so it’s quite surreal."
As for the state squad environment, Jenkins said he and his fellow clubmates were soaking up the experience of mixing it with Victorian contracted players and fellow Under 19 squad members Jake Fraser-McGurk, Wil Parker and Cameron McLure.
"Everyone is so good, you learn off of each other and with the likes of Michael Beer and Aaron Finch around mentoring us, it is so cool,” Jenkins said.
"If you told me three years ago I would make the Victorian Under 19 squad, I would tell you to get lost. It’s just surreal and I’m very grateful to make it."
Beginning in the Fourth XI last season before graduating to the Third XI for the final four rounds, Jenkins impressed many around the club with 221 runs at 27.63 (high score of 64) and 15 wickets across both grades. Along with a spot in the final Under 19 Victorian team, the Laburnum Cricket Club product is also targeting a Second XI spot at some stage throughout the season.
Jenkins is one of four young Magpies vying for a spot in state Under 19 side, with Fitzpatrick, Wood and Nelson also looking to secure state selection and spots in the club’s upper grades with a strong start to the 2020/21 campaign.
Both Wood and Fitzpatrick players made their Premier Cricket debuts last season, with Wood playing four games (including two in the Second XI) and Fitzpatrick five (including a high score of 69 in the Third XI against Dandenong in Round 8).
Ormond Cricket Club product Wood will be looking to make to make it two from two in state squad selection after making the Victorian Metro Under 17 team last season, while Fitzpatrick (hailing from Balwyn Cricket Club) will be looking to continue the form that saw him become just the fifth Xavier College cricketer to pass 1000 runs in the school’s history last season.
The club is also projecting big things for Fitzpatrick’s Xavier College classmate Tom Nelson, who we were delighted to have join us from Malvern for this season and beyond.
Nelson arrives at McQueen Park this year with glowing references from former Camberwell Magpies stalwarts Glen Parker, Paddy McKenna and Tom Rickarby, who all played with the strapping right arm quick at the Roosters last season.
Members of the Under-19 Male Emerging Performance squad are in contention to represent Victoria at the Under 19 National Championships, with planning being formulated to stage the tournament in Adelaide in April.
The National Championships for Under 17s on the other hand have been put on hold due to COVID-19, but there are plans for Victoria to field three under-17 teams (Country, Metro and a Cricket Victoria XI) to play in a tournament involving South Australia.
For Pies youngsters Redhu, Townsend and Wolters, they will all be looking to secure a spot in this tournament planned to be held in regional Victoria early next year.
In his first season at Premier level, Redhu turned plenty of heads by averaging 48.33 from his four matches in the Fourth XI last year, including scores of 64 and 58 against Melbourne and Richmond respectively.
Above: Victorian Under 17 State Squad member, Dhruv Redhu.
Wolters (Glen Iris Cricket Club) and Townsend (Canterbury Cricket Club) are new additions to the Pies list this year and we look forward to seeing them running around in our colours and developing within our environment when school and representative commitments permit.
The Camberwell Magpies family wishes all seven players selected all the best for the season ahead and we look forward to them all having long and successful careers at the Pies.