At only 15 years of age, Mackenzie Best of Wirrulla has caught the eye of state cricket selectors and is set to compete in the Under 17 National Championships later this month.
The left-arm fast bowler, who is a boarder at Rostrevor College, will join three of his Rostrevor school mates in the championships in Brisbane and Mackay from September 30 to October 12.
A total of 18 South Australian cricketers have been selected across three squads – the South Australian, Northern Territory and Cricket Australia sides.
The tournament is a key milestone for junior cricketers aiming to move into professional cricket at the state level and beyond.
Rostrevor College first XI coach Bill Trewartha said Mackenzie’s height, speed and technique meant he had great potential to represent the state and, potentially, the nation.
“These championships will enable Mackenzie to showcase his talent on a national stage and will be closely watched by those at the highest levels of Australian cricket,” Mr Trewartha said.
The selection came as a great surprise to Mackenzie and his parents Shane and Cindy as most competitors must wait until they are 16 or 17 years old to make the national championships.
“There’s not that many fast, left-arm bowlers, so I guess that makes him stand out,” Mrs Best said.
Although he is from South Australia, Mackenzie was selected to bolster the Northern Territory side due to his ability and immense potential given he is just 15 years old.
Mackenzie is no stranger to playing cricket with teammates and opponents many years his senior and has played A grade cricket for Western Districts in the Le Hunte Cricket Association since he was 13.
Rostrevor College principal Brian Schumacher said despite his youth, Mackenzie was a key member of the College’s first XI side and would be “one to watch” in the years to come.
Mr Schumacher, who met with many Eyre Peninsula families at the Cleve Field Days last month, said sporting talent from the West Coast had contributed greatly to the College’s long and proud cricket history and would continue to be nurtured.
In addition to playing in Rostrevor’s first XI, Mackenzie also plays for the Port Adelaide Cricket Club at senior level and could soon be elevated to its premier side.
Mackenzie said it was a great honour to be selected to play in the national championships – even if it meant taking on some of his Rostrevor friends.
“I am really grateful for this opportunity in the upcoming nationals and will do my best to make it an exciting championship and take a few wickets off the interstate sides,” he said.