Purser brothers making the grade
By TONY WHITE
FOR any cricketer, scoring 1000 or more runs in a season is a noteworthy achievement and a good measure of a player's ability to wield the willow.
But when you have achieved the feat for three consecutive seasons, and you're still just 16, the achievement is particularly remarkable.
Brendan 'BJ' Purser has long been considered one of the brightest teenage talents in the Clarence Valley. Many in cricket's inner-circle liken him to the Valley's cricketing doyen, John Frame, at the same age. Frame's cricketing exploits are legendary.
This season BJ made his debut in Premier League for Westlawn Crown Hotel and after a short settling in period, has established himself in the important opener's role.
Westlawn captain Tony Blanch initially intended to ease BJ into his side's first grade outfit, but Purser's burgeoning ability and several team departures this season led to him being thrust into the limelight.
Along with his elder brother Daniel, who also made his way into first grade this season and thrived, the Pursers form an integral part of Westlawn's drive to win the proud club's fifth consecutive Premier League title. BJ and Daniel's mother, Trish Purser, has regularly kept newspaper cuttings of the boys' achievements and after the story appeared about 13-year-old Maclean star Brett O'Connor, Trish Purser made a check of her records.
O'Connor, a wicket-keeper/opening batsman, like his idol Adam Gilchrist, has scored heavily playing in school, representative and third grade for Harwood. In 33 matches O'Connor has tallied a marvellous 1091 runs.
By comparison, BJ has complied 1697 runs in the same period (See fact box).
His incredible tally is still unfinished with the South Ex-Servicemen's Club-Daily Examiner night final (this Friday) and the Premier League finals series still to be played.
"In 2003-04 Brendan scored 1400-odd runs and last season (2004-05), I counted up 1100 runs without including various carnivals," Mrs Purser said.
"We're very proud of BJ and Daniel's achievements."
Daniel, who has played far less games than BJ, has scored around 600 runs this season and is averaging more than 100 in Premier League after making the top grade following three early games in seconds.
Like most brothers, the boys don't mind ribbing each other.
"A bit of that sort of thing goes on, but I can't get stuck into him (BJ) unless I score more runs and that doesn't happen very often," Daniel said.
"Yeah, there's the odd brag. It's good playing with Daniel and Westlawn. I like playing first grade, I'm enjoying it," BJ said.
While under the wing of experienced campaigners Blanch and Andrew Firth, the Pursers will be further nurtured to play starring roles in local and repre- sentative cricket.