The secrets behind Brendan Cleaver's mighty blade
MANY a cricket ball has fallen victim to the full brunt of Brendan Cleaver's blade.
His lightly cherry-smudged Kingsport Noble Willow cricket bat, bandaged with tape along the outside edge, has served him well the past two years.
And for Cleaver, when hacking into leather, size does not matter.
"I don't look too much into bats," he said. "Just not to be too heavy, because I'm only a little fella."
In the world of power-hitting, the slight 19-year-old follows in the footsteps of some of the game's finest in proving you don't need a lot of bulk to pack a punch.
The Clarence River number three hit 71 not out against Coffs Coast in round one and he's hoping Ballina will be next on his chopping block when they meet this Sunday at Ellem Oval.
"This will be the first time I've played Ballina," the 19-year-old said. "It will be good to have another game at home too."
At South Grafton Gym for one of several weekly sessions, the Coles nightfiller recounted when the partnership began.
"I've had this bat for a couple of seasons and it's done me well," Cleaver said.
"I had a Kookaburra Blade before, but it was all smashed up and I needed a new one. We were driving past Newcastle so we had a look there. It felt good so I bought him."
Last season for South Services it produced 382 runs - sixth in the CRCA Premier League - and he's already racked up 149 in the first three rounds of this season.
Tom Kroehnert, CRCA president and Cleaver's captain at Souths, said: "Brendan's a young fella and still learning his game. But he has one of the most important spots in our team. He bats at three and is also our change bowler who we need to get 10 overs out of."
COUNTRY TEAMSCRCA Country Shield teamBob Mckenzie (c), Jordan Elliott, Tim Tilse, Brendan Cleaver, Matt Pigg, Doug Harris, Tom Kroehnert, Luke Cox, Brad Chard, Matt Dougherty, Brayden Pardoe, Nathan Blanch, Brandon Honeybrook (13th)
LCCA Country Plate teamLuke Many (c), Geoff Simmons, Hayden McMahon, Tim McMahon, Ben McMahon, Jacob McMahon, Daley Durrant, Matt Young, Zac Honeybrook, Harry Nicholson, Matt Farrell.