Building for what type of season?

By Robert Muir

Corowa Cricket Club has two prized recruits for hopefully what will be a normal cricket season to start on Saturday, October 10.

In addition to new coach Jarryd Hatton, the Roos have Hatton’s good mate Ben Mitchell, a bowling allrounder.

“Ben’s an orthodox spin bowler, an ‘offie’ and is very, very good,” the coach told The Free Press.

“He’s played a lot of Sydney first grade, NSW Country Indigenous 11 and over in England with Hampshire Second Eleven.

“Ben can bat – he can be very conservative but he can be aggressive. He’s an X factor.”

In recent years Ben has been playing for the Australian National University in the ACT Premier competition and the Sydney Cricket Club in the NSW Premier Competition.

He has seen recent success including a One Day premiership and the NSW T20 Kingsgrove Cup title last year at the Sydney Tigers.

The Tigers then went on to win the National Premier T20 championships in Adelaide earlier this year. Selection in ACT’s Premier team of the year and NSW country also highlighted season 19-20.

Three seasons in the UK saw the left-arm spinner and left-hand bat play over 20 games with Hampshire’s second eleven in the County championship.

Ben has also played for the NSW NICC side and has been a NSW Country representative on numerous occasions. On these tours he formed a great friendship with coach Jarryd Hatton which led to his decision to join us for the upcoming season.

Despite the bowling allrounder status, Ben Mitchell has won games off his own bat. For example, in season 2017/18, he topped the Independent Sporting Association (ISA) batting statistics with 531 at an average of 48.27, scoring two half centuries for Saint Stanislaus College. However the highlight of that year was his 169 against St Patrick’s College on the Breen Oval. Apart from losing two cricket balls, he scored the runs in just 90 deliveries and it is believed to be the highest score by a visiting player at the Breen Oval.

Last season, he made an even bigger impact in the ISA competition, this time with the extra responsibility as captain of the Stannies 1st XI. He broke more records and was definitely the reason why Stannies was able to taste success for the first time ever in the 1st Division Competition.

On his way to breaking the record for total runs scored in a season (738), Ben scored three centuries and three half centuries. The first highlight for the season was against St Pius X at the Chaplin Oval, where he achieved the rare double of five wickets (5/38) and a century (109n/o). 

It’s a happy coach with the make-up of players at Ball Park. “There’s plenty of young talent,” Hatton said.

“The senior guys are more than capable. We’ve got Ben, there’s no-one else we’re after. I think we’re good enough.” 

The bowling speedster coach also thinks the 2020/21 season might get underway in the traditional manner. With Melbourne getting into Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions for six weeks, then another two or three weeks after that for the intended season start, Hatton said he is optimistic about the season going ahead and sport getting back to normality. “You’ve got to be positive and ready,” Hatton said.

In other most promising news, the bowling coach’s back is coming along well from injury.   

With its new coach, and multi-sports pavilion project almost complete, Corowa Cricket Club is preparing itself as best it can for the pavilion’s official opening and for season 2020/21.

Training at Ball Park commenced three weeks ago. Recently re-elected president Paul Lavis is also pleased with the club’s recruitment, initially with Jarryd and now Ben, and the club’s overall personnel. 

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome to our club all-rounder Ben Mitchell for the 2020/21 CAW provincial season,” the president said.

“Ben has a huge amount of playing experience and knowledge that will be an incredible resource.

“Ben is excited to help our burgeoning group of young players. We are even more excited. He will be a massive asset.”

Mr Lavis said Corowa has lots of young cricketers. “We don’t know what shape the season is going to be in terms of who we are playing. 

“We are still trying various leads to get an opening day for our new building. No date has been set.”

The president’s uncertainty about the upcoming season is shared by all cricketers due to the COVID-19 restrictions, which currently ban Victorian residents playing in NSW.

Season 2020/21 is due to commence on Saturday, October 10 – about eight weeks away.

At the club’s AGM on Sunday, July 26, Mr Lavis was re-elected unopposed as president, as were vice presidents Nathan Rhodes and David Lane, secretary/treasurer Shane Norman and committee Ray McLarty, Daniel Athanitis and Jarred Lane. As B Grade captain, speedster Aaron Phibbs replaces Scott Wilson as a committee member.