Duo set for Bradman Cup
BY ALEX TIGANI
They have waited two years to represent the Central Northern Zone.
Now Upper Hunter duo Ashton Blake and Harry Scowen are ready to take on the state’s best cricketers in the opening rounds of the Bradman Cup.
Unlike previous summers, this year’s tournament will include a pre-carnival weekend where northern teams playoff in Sawtell and southern teams meet in Wagga Wagga.
Scowen and Blake’s line-up will play Newcastle, North Coastal and Central Coast this weekend before travelling to Lake Macquarie for the main tournament in January.
“We both got picked in the Central Northern team playing for the Kookaburra Cup at under-14 level but it was called off with the fires,” Blake told The Hunter River Times.
“I remember we were ready to drive down (to Albury) but then we were told it was cancelled and so we have waited two years for this tournament,” Scowen added.
Both junior talents have achieved more than most of their 15-year-old counterparts.
Scowen has impressed all before him at club level with Muswellbrook and now East Maitland.
He will also commence his Sydney Premier League journey with St George later this month in the A.W Green Shield competition.
Blake has also represented Denman (junior and senior level), Murrurundi, Maitland City and now hones his craft with Newcastle DCA outfit Stockton and Northern Districts.
On the eve of their representative tournament, both were able to reflect on their journey to the Bradman’s Cup side.
“I was initially inspired to play cricket after going and watching a mate, Tom Seldon, play his Saturday game around seven years ago,” Scowen reflected.
“He and his dad encouraged me to join.
“Along the way, I have been inspired by mentors from the Upper Hunter and Maitland cricket.
“Col MacIntyre from North Maitland was an inspiration for me to believe in myself, but my biggest inspiration is my Dad (Luke), who is also my number-one coach and trainer.
“We spend many hours at the nets and in the backyard doing keeping drills.”
MEANWHILE Blake has recovered from a hairline fracture in his elbow in time for this weekend’s tournament.
He hopes to make his family, friends and entire township of Denman proud going forward.
“I want to make my family proud as well as my local heroes,” he explained.
“In Denman, Alan Mills has been an inspiration.
“He has been doing all of the curating work and is the president of the senior club (and has been for way longer than I have been alive).”
It has been many years since the Central Northern squad last won a Bradman Cup title.
However local duo Ashton Blake and Harry Scowen are just happy to represent their region.
Their campaign will start this Saturday when the line-up plays off against Newcastle at Sawtell’s Richardson Park (Oval 2) at 10am.
The squad will then continue the pre-carnival weekend with T20 clashes against North Coastal (9:30am) and Central Coast (1:30pm) on Sunday.
This weekend will be a true indicator of their form ahead of the remainder of the carnival to be held at Lake Macquarie from Tuesday, January 4 to 7.
That week Central Northern will face Riverina at the Pasterfield Sports Complex, ACT Southern Districts at Charlestown Oval, Greater Illawarra at Feighan Oval and Western at Belmont’s Cahill Oval.
RECENT BRADMAN CUP WINNERS
2016/17 – Riverina
2017/18 – Central Coast
2018/19 – Central Coast
2019/20 – Abandoned due to fires**** 2020/21 – North Coastal