Sport is a huge part of the community here in Broken Hill.
Whether it is football and soccer in the winter, or cricket and basketball in the summer, most people are involved in some way, shape or form.
This is further evidenced by the litany of sporting stars that originated in the Silver City. Adelaide Crows veteran forward Taylor Walker, Darryn Nicholls, who is a world champion clay target shooter, and Marina Sulicich, a highly decorated gymnast who represented Australia at both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
They aren’t the only ones. Megan Ryan of the Essendon Bombers in the AFLW got her start in AFL in the Broken Hill AFL system, Sam Betts and Makinley Blows both hail from Broken Hill and have gone on to make their name in Australia’s biggest summer sport, cricket.
Both women play in the Women’s National Cricket League and both have also enjoyed successful stints at the Perth Scorchers, Melbourne Stars, Adelaide Strikers, and Melbourne Renegades at different stages of their careers.
With pedigree like this, we decided it would be a good idea to look at some up and coming sporting stars plying their trade locally. This week we meet a couple of the hottest prospects in the Barrier District Cricket League.
West Broken Hill Cricket Club up and comer Casey Ferguson and Central Cricket Club wunderkind Nick Devoy are on top form.
Nick Devoy is a brilliant Aussie Rules player, but his talent in cricket is perhaps best described by Central Broken Hill Cricket Club president Scott Mateer.
Mr. Mateer says Nick is a “very technically correct left-hand batsman with a glorious cover drive who is also outstanding in the field and able to do a job with the ball when required.”
Glowing praise indeed.
We put these comments to Nick when we spoke to him. He laughed and replied modestly, “he’s being pretty nice to me, there.”
Nick has played cricket almost his entire life. He started with Milo Cricket, before moving into primary school cricket before joining Centrals and playing at every level, and he’s hoping for a regular spot in the As this season.
Despite the serious level and commitment, it hasn’t dulled his love for the game. “I still play backyard cricket, more than anything, I think,” Nick says.
When we asked who he modelled his game after, Nick told us as a kid he was always a fan of Mr Cricket, Mike Hussey. “I always liked him but there’s no one recent that I have modelled my game after.”
A middle order batsman, if Nick can cause anything like the kind of havoc Mike Hussey often caused opposition bowlers, he will be a very handy asset to the Central line-up this season.
It’s not just with the bat Nick excels. He is a very reliable medium pace bowler. “I basically put it on a line and length, that’s all I do, I don’t trouble anyone with speed.”
There is a strong chance this isn’t the last you will see Nick Devoy in the sport pages. Not only is he a handy cricketer, but he will likely be part of the North Adelaide development squad next year.
Get down and catch Central cricket this season for an opportunity to catch Nick in action before he moves on to bigger things.
Like Nick, Casey Ferguson has been involved in cricket for as long as he can remember. He spent his primary school years playing for his school and played for West Broken Hill Cricket Club as soon as he was eligible.
A left arm fast bowler, Casey opens the bowling for Wests A Grade team, a side that lifted the Premiership last season. No mean feat by the 18-year-old carpenter’s apprentice.
“I wouldn’t say I have any role models,” Casey told us, “but there are a couple of people who helped me improve my game. People like Paul Attard and a couple of other folks at the club.”
Casey’s captain in A -Grade cricket, Mackenzie Attard, said his style was like “Nathan Bracken or Dirk Nannes”.
You can catch Nick and Casey when the Barrier District Cricket League begins next weekend.