By Ben Pollard
The SMJFL has one of the world’s best junior indoor cricket players in its ranks.
Just over a month after finishing his footy season at St Peters, 12-year-old Harry Wardlaw was in South Africa helping the 12 & Under Australian team win the Indoor Cricket World Series.
Harry’s batting saw him named the 12 & Under player of the series. He hit the highest score of the tournament in one of Australia’s early matches, a 72 (most teams average around 100 runs per innings).
The team lost only once, and that was against the side it eventually defeated in the final, South Africa.
Harry says knocking off the home team and winning the World Series was a “good experience”, but he has had good experiences in other sports too.
In each of his years in the SMJFL at St Peters, Harry has won his team’s best and fairest. In 2012, he also finished second in the Under 13 Division 2 best and fairest, despite his team missing the finals. Next season, he will join the Sandringham Dragons development squad.
Over summer, Harry will focus on the outdoor form of cricket as a specialist fast bowler. Last summer he was good enough to play representative cricket with the City of Moorabbin Cricket Association.
He has also represented Victoria in rugby league, but didn’t pursue it further after the Victorians proved no match for the northern states last year.
Harry’s success now has him facing the great Aussie sporting dilemma: Cricket or footy?
He has a few years up his sleeve before needing to make a decision between the sports, but when the time comes it might be a tough call to make.
Harry’s favourite part of playing cricket and footy is the same. Basically, he just wants to have fun with his mates.
Harry’s favourite player in each sport is a Watson. Sometimes he likes to model his cricket game on Australia’s big-hitting Shane Watson and model his football game on Essendon’s ball-magnet midfielder Jobe Watson.
Like many 12 year olds, Harry dreams of making it to the elite level, but the question is: in which sport?
In the glow of recent success, he’s leaning in one particular direction. “Cricket over footy after South Africa,” he says.
So would he rather kick a goal after the siren to win the AFL Grand Final or hit the winning runs in a game of test cricket?
“Probably hitting the winning runs” is the current dream, but that may all change once the footy season begins again.