Matthew Gilkes is looking to make an impact on debut for NSW and Henry Hunt playing his third match for South Australia after solid performances earlier this month. Hunt will line up for SA alongside Canberra-born Nick Winter, who is fresh off a stellar match haul of 8/118 against QLD and will be eager for more wickets.
20-year-old Gilkes has exploded onto the scene following his Sydney Thunder debut last season, leading to inclusion in NSW’s Marsh Cup squad, smashing 82 from 51 against WA in his second game and upstaging the likes of Smith and Warner with a useful 43 in NSW’s loss to Tasmania. Gilkes has piqued the intrigue of many (including Shane Warne who has included the young gun in his BBL Super Coach team), leading to his inclusion in Friday’s squad.
Henry Hunt, like Gilkes, has an excellent record for the ACT/NSW Country Comets in the Toyota Second XI competition, leading the competition for runs scored in 2018-19, averaging 46.06 with a high score of 208. Fitting into the team well, he describes the Redbacks as having a family-oriented culture and has taken the opportunity to learn from experienced Australian players like Travis Head and Alex Carey.
While the Comets will surely miss him this season, the goal of Cricket ACT is to produce cricketers who play at the highest level possible, and Hunt will go into the books as another of the program’s success stories, with his work ethic and humility giving young ACT and regional NSW cricketers an excellent role model to aspire to. When asked about how he feels about his role model status, Hunt gave a measured response, saying that his focus has been on enjoying the game and the journey for what it is, and avoiding putting extra pressure on himself.
Nick Winter is comparatively a veteran in the Sheffield Shield and has been a consistent performer for SA since his debut in early 2018. His swinging deliveries have troubled world-class batters, with perseverance and resilience some of the keys to his success, battling injuries to retain his SA contract after being dropped in 2016. A Canberran born and bred, Winter feels a strong connection to the nation’s capital and has acknowledged feeling a sense of responsibility to the ACT system that delivered him to SA, inspiring him to stick with it after being dropped. His perseverance has paid off, with him quickly becoming a mainstay in the SA line-up.
Players like Hunt, Gilkes, and Winter are showing that for players in the ACT region, there is a clear pathway to the highest levels of cricket in Australia. With world-class facilities and expert coaches, Cricket ACT looks forward to helping the stars of tomorrow in their rise to Australia’s premier competitions.