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The SMJFL has produced plenty of AFL players over the years, but now we can also boast an Australian test cricketer… The following article is about a former East Brighton Vampires junior, Ashton Agar, courtesy of the East Brighton Vampires JFC website (Opens external link in new windowwww.govampires.com). Ashton just made his test cricket debut for Australia in stunning fashion.

Ex Vampire’s player Ashton Agar has pulled on the iconic ‘baggy green’ cap for the first time as he made his Test début for Australia in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge. Ashton, who played Vampires footy in 2008/09 was fighting back tears as he was joined by his family in the stands at Trent Bridge for Day 1 of the 2013 Ashes series. The Agar family are no strangers to the East brighton Vampires with Ashton’s younger brother Wes currently playing with the Vampires Under 16 team and father John and mother Sonja regular fixtures at Vampires games over many years. Ashton was told on Monday by new Austrailan coach Darren Lehmann and selector on tour Rod Marsh of his selection, and immediately got on the phone to his mum. “So we arranged flights on Tuesday morning and were on a flight on Tuesday afternoon,” mum Sonia explained of the whirlwind trip. “(We) got (to Nottingham) at 5.30 this morning. So it was pretty big.”

The significance of not only his parents but also brothers William (17) and Wesley (16) being in attendance was not lost on him – Ashton credits the two, who are themselves very well-rated cricketers, as highly as anyone for his rapid rise to the top. It makes sense when he tells you that none of his coaches gave him much technical advice. And if their backyard cricket games are anything to base Test futures on, he expects to see more of the Agar clan on the world stage in the coming years. “The rules were simple. You bowled at express pace on a six metre wicket, and runs could only be scored in boundaries – the neighbour’s yard was a six, while hitting the street gutter across the road. (They’ve had a) massive impact,” Ashton said after the first day’s play. “I put a lot of my cricket development down to playing with them in the front yard at home. “They’re both good cricketers, at 16 and 17. We’ve had fierce battles in the front yard. “Bowling fast on the short pitch, if you couldn’t bowl you wouldn’t get a bat and if you couldn’t bat you wouldn’t bat for long. “We had to try and be a good as we can, and they’re great.”

The East Brighton Vampires Junior Football Club congratulates Ashton and the entire Agar family on his amazing accomplishment and we wish him a long and successful career as an Australian Test cricket player.