ENGLISH batsman Jaik Mickleburgh has just joined elite company at Newtown and Chilwell Cricket Club.
After spending the last Australian summer knocking around the local grounds of Geelong, Mickleburgh last week made his first-class debut back home in England.
He scored an impressive 60 runs, bringing up his 50 with a six, helping Essex to a win over Leicestershire in the county game at Grace Road.
The debut makes him the sixth player to have played for Newtown to have played first-class cricket, including greats Ian Redpath, Lindsay Hassett, as well as Brad Stacey, John Chambers and John Shaw.
Newtown scorer Ange Fatone got up bright and early to check how Mickleburgh, who batted at number three for Newtown and occasionally opened the bowling, was going.
“I was up at 5.30 checking the scores on the internet this morning when we heard he was a chance to play his first county championships game,” Fatone said.
“Everyone at our club is just thrilled that he has got the chance to fulfil his obvious talent at first-class level. As well as being a very talented cricketer, he was a fantastic fellow to have around the club.”
Mickleburgh’s captain at Essex, Mark Pettini, said his trip to Australia was a turning point in the youngster’s career.
“He is only 18, yet he took himself off to Australia to work on his game last winter and came back a completely different player.
“He also learned a great deal about himself and, having been away from home for the first time in his life, the life skills he will need as he gets older.”
Essex will continue its relationship with Newtown this summer, when it sends out 2008/09 Graham Gooch Academy player Michael Comber.
by Michael Auciello, courtesy of the Geelong Advertiser