In a matter of weeks, City United’s Joey Mead has gone from a Tamworth District Cricket Association fourth grade mainstay to a first grade debutante.
Before this season, 14-year-old Mead hadn’t played a second grade game – let alone first grade – since being a regular in fourth grade since the 2014-15 season.
Now he’s set to line up for his second first grade start for City United on Saturday against Bective-East.
The ascension to the top grade has come as a bit of a surprise for the young pace bowler.
“I was playing fourth grade last year, then two games of second grade [this year] and now I’m in firsts,” Mead said.
“It wasn't a goal at all [to play first grade]. I was happy to play second grade this season but I'll take the chance.”
While Mead may not have predicted his promotion, he made the most of his first grade shot.
City United captain Brad Smith and the first grade selectors had been toying with the idea of promoting Mead and said the quick “bowled with a lot of maturity” in his first start.
The Farrer student was given the new rock and claimed figures of 2-40 – the second best figures for his side behind Anoop Gopalakrishnan (4-28) – despite feeling edgy early on.
“Before [the game] I was very nervy,” Mead said.
“We were bowling first, too. I was the opening bowler, so very nervy. First ball – got that out of the way and then I just felt good.
“It was just a good ball. It wasn't anything special.”
To add to the pressure of his debut, Mead had the chance to become the hero against Old Boys.
With one ball to go, Mead was sent out to bat needing to hit a four to draw or a maximum to win.
Not that Mead’s teammates expected the youngster – or anyone for that matter – to be able to pull out a miraculous match-winning shot.
Mead said he was told to get bat on ball. He did that and knocked away a single.
This weekend Mead will now get to play his preferred form of cricket in Tamworth.
“I prefer two-dayers. I like longer games – I don’t like the T20,” he said.
Mead is looking forward to getting the chance to bowl more overs – up to 12 which he said is the most players aged 14 and under are able to – and also for City United to get a roll on.
City United clocked its first win in two years in round one this season followed by two washouts and two losses including last week’s nail-biter.
Smith said the club was moving in the right direction with the addition of players like Mead coming into first grade putting pressure on players in the squad.
“As a a club we’re looking to push forward and we have the option to drop people and bring people up to first grade,” Smith said.
“I’ve got four blokes out this week but we’ve been able to bring blokes up to fill the spots and hold their own.
“We feel we’re in a good position compared to last year and we’re excited to play cricket.”
City United and Bective-East will clash at No. 1 Oval on Saturday.