Promise in the form of an athlete can be at once alluring and befuddling, as the athlete soars and splutters while trying to fulfil their potential.
For the past three seasons, South Tamworth have invested in the promise of 17-year-old top-order batsman Brock Morley.
It’s an investment that, in his first full stint in the top grade last season, looked good when he scored 69, 52 and 30 in his first 10 innings.
But then his next 13 innings, stretching to a duck against West Tamworth two Saturdays ago, yielded a highest score of 20.
The barren run ended at Riverside 2 on Saturday against Bective East, as Morley finally soared again – his 70-ball 74 not out his highest first-grade score and the main thrust propelling Souths to a last-over win against the Bulls, top spot on the one-day ladder and a clash against City United in the final at No.1 Oval on November 30.
“I haven’t scored a run since before Christmas last season, so it’s really good to get some more runs under the belt,” he said. “I think I’ve been a bit slack this season, starting Year 12. But I think the last few weeks I’ve been putting a bit more [effort into cricket] and it’s good to see the results show.”
Morley’s the type of person you root for to do well – a courteous young man who hopes to obtain a master’s degree in business administration [preferably at the University of New England so he can keep playing for Souths] when he finishes Year 12 at Carinya Christian School next year.
His knock was warmly acknowledged by his teammates when he exited the sun-baked ground on an uncomfortably hot day, including by his skipper, Mitch Smith, who continues to grow in the role after steering the side to a long-awaited premiership last season.
Smith’s decision to drop Morley down the order, from opener to No.5, provided judicious.
And adding to the pluses for Souths – on a day they played without their Central North representatives Tom Groth and Tom O’Neill due to the Country Championship – opener Smith followed his drought-breaking 83 against Wests two rounds back with a 48-ball 48 against Bective, as Souths chased 6-194.
Bulls captain Jye Paterson top-scored with 74, while Josh Attard (2-37 off seven overs) and Conrad George (2-21 off eight overs) were Souths’ most effective bowlers.
South Tamworth passed the total with six wickets down and with four balls to spare.
Nick Hird claimed 2-28 off eight over for Bective East.