Harwood’s Nathan Ensbey has been playing with a straight bat for 15 seasons.
Harwood’s Nathan Ensbey has been playing with a straight bat for 15 seasons.

Ensbey opens up

WHEN cricket captains ask the team who wants to open the batting players usually run for cover.

Opening the batting is not for the faint-hearted. It requires a sound technique and the ability to see off the new bal l- often against hostile bowling.

Harwood’s Nathan Ensbey is that rare breed of cricketer who revels in the opportunity to face the best the opposition has to offer.

With his teammate Geoff Simmons they form one of the best opening pairs in the Premier League and are the cornerstone of Harwood’s batting line-up.

“I’ve been playing with Harwood for 15 years and been opening the batting with Geoff for the past three,” Ensbey says.

“It’s great opening the batting with Geoff down the other end...I think it’s a good combination. Geoff loves to attack and once he gets going he can tear an attack apart in 15-20 overs.”

Against Brothers at Ellem Oval today Ensbey and Simmons will have their hands full facing a formidable bowling attack led by Ryan Lynch and Brett Paxton.

“Brothers are a tough opponent to play and have been competitive over the last few seasons. Brad Robertson and Mick Summers have been in good form...there two guys we have to watch,” Ensbey says.

“Troy McLaren is someone with a lot of experience and we need to negate him with the ball.”

In the major semi-final against Westlawn last week Ensbey was put to the test against a fiery opening pair of Rohan Hackett and Matt Lobsey who decimated the Harwood’s top-order.

“Hackett and Lobsey both bowled well and Hackett always steps up in the big games...he certainly bowled at a fair pace,” he says.

“Our top-order failed to apply ourselves and we didn’t value our wickets.”

Ensbey is considered part of the furniture at Harwood and is quick to point out playing games away from their home ground is not an issue - and never has been.

“This is the only year we have played most of our games at Harwood, in past seasons we played the majority of our games in Grafton,” he says.

“Also we’ve won plenty of finals in the past in Grafton...playing away from home is not an issue for us.”

Playing away from home will not be an issue this weekend as the Harwood Oval has been announced as the venue.

Ensbey has been fortunate - or some may say unfortunate - to play all his cricket under the one captain - Tim McMahon.

According to Ensbey, McMahon’s leadership on the field is invaluable.

“Tim is an institution at Harwood Cricket Club...he provides that much-needed experience required this time of the year,” he says.

When asked about his nickname within the club Ensbey was reluctant to discuss the issue...all he would reveal was Harwood are on the cusp of a new ‘golden’ era in cricket.

Evergreen Ensbey

  • Premier Grade debut: 1995 aged 15
  • Career high score: 106
  • Best bowling: 6-15
  • Best moment: Winning four grand finals with Harwood
  • Batting position: Opener
  • Fielding position: First slip
  • Bowling: Right-arm medium

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