It is a long way from Dubbo, but Ben Patterson and Marty Jeffrey are applying the skills they learned growing up in the town in country New South Wales as members of the men’s state side currently competing in the National Indigenous Cricket Championships (NICC) in Alice Springs.
This year’s NICC is the second time the two players have taken part in the indigenous competition and is the latest chapter in their shared cricketing history.
“Marty and I grew up together in Dubbo, we played for the same club when we were quite young, we played 16s together, we played first-grade with each other and first-grade against each other,” said Patterson. “It’s been really good growing up with him and to watch him grow into a good cricketer.”
Patterson, who moved from Dubbo to Sydney to further develop his cricketing career when he was 19 and now plays for St. George in club cricket under the tutelage of Trent Copeland, Moises Henriques and Kurtis Patterson, is hoping to improve upon his performance at the NICC last year, which included figures of 5-7 against Victoria and led to being named in the National Indigenous Squad.
“My aim is just to maintain form from last carnival really. I want to get up there with the wickets and hopefully score a few more runs than last year.”
For Jeffrey, the NICC last year proved to be the catalyst for an exciting 12 months for the young cricketer and he has high hopes that this year’s competition will set the scene for a big 2017.
“I came up to Alice Springs last year and performed reasonably well and got a couple of good scores on the board and went to the trial again this year for the New South Wales team and was lucky enough to do well again and to make it into the side,” said Jeffrey.
“From that I was lucky enough to be given a community rookie spot with the Sydney Sixers. I’ve been at all of their home games this year and their home training. I think I’ve learnt a lot from the players in the group there and the coaches there. It has been a great last 12 months and hopefully I can do well again this year and keep improving.”
While the success of the past 12 months has seen him identified as a rising star, Jeffrey sees the NICC as a great chance to build on his game and admits he is “trying to learn as much as [he] can off the team and just trying to play some good cricket.”
“All I am trying to do at this young age is just keep trying to improve and learn as much as I can and when opportunities come up try and grab them with both hands and try and do as well as I can.”
Source: Cricket Australia