Padding up for success
FROM Don Bradman to Glenn McGrath and Doug Walters to Mark Taylor, New South Wales Country has been a traditional breeding ground for international cricketing talent.
However, the NSW PSSA cricket team to contest the Australian Primary Schools Cricket Championships almost snubbed the country areas completely.
Only one boy - a cheeky-faced, ginger-haired lad from the cane farms of Lawrence - made the cut to join the city-dominated side. Lawrence Public School Year 6 student Hayden Ensbey will carry the flag for the bush at the upcoming national tournament in Darwin from June 15.
Hayden joined a group of 24 hopefuls at a recent three-day camp in Sydney to trial for the 12-man team and was eventually picked as a fast bowler.
He is following in the footsteps of a long list of cricketers who went on to greater heights. Steve and Mark Waugh, Michael Slater, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Michael Clarke, Phillip Hughes, Steven Smith and Ellyse Perry all played for NSW PSSA in their formative years.
Earlier in the year the 12-year-old starred for North Coast as it finished third out of 14 regions at the NSW PSSA Championships. Throughout 2013/14 he opened the batting and bowling for Lower Clarence Under-12 runners-up Lawrence.
Cricket is in Hayden's veins. His dad Mark Ensbey was part of the CRCA Premier League-winning Harwood side - and even Hayden made the occasional cameo appearance as a sub-fielder, occasionally surprising the opposition by launching throws over the stumps from the boundary with his pint-sized frame.
"He lives and breathes cricket," Hayden's mother Kelly Ensbey said.
"Both pops are cricketers and have spent so much time with him."
From all reports former Westlawn cricketer Brian Hall provides his grandson with the mental insight into the game while on the other side of the family it's Bob Ensbey who has "sent a thousand balls down" at him.
Hayden was a recent recipient of a $500 grant through the NSW Government Young Local Sporting Champions initiative to directly assist with the costs involved in his representative cricket commitments.
Again the Ensbeys will have to fork out a considerable amount for the trip to Darwin, but are adamant it's an opportunity too good to miss for the aspiring youngster.