Young cricketers start year at Clarke's old school

WITH the first term starting last week, the new intake of cricketers has arrived at Westfields Sports High School.

And the new kids will soon discover, if they don't already know, Australian Test batsman and skipper Michael Clarke has the highest profile of those who have graduated from the program.

There are 68 students in this year's programs under the guidance of head cricket coach Ian Gill, who is assisted by first grade wicketkeeper/batsman and physical education teacher Daniel Rixon.

Gill said the program was for year 7 to year 12 students.

"We have 12 new year 7 students and two new students in year 8 and year 9, this year," Gill said.

Two of the new year 7 recruits are Jackson Isakka, 13, and Deklan Newling, 13.

Jackson is an allrounder who plays in the Fairfield Liverpool Junior Cricket Gee Shield under-13 team.

Deklan, a fast bowler, plays in the Fairfield Liverpool Cricket Association Cawsey Shield under-12 team.

Gill said two other promising players, entering their second year in the program, are year 8 students, Tait Bensemann, 13, and Clayton Sands, 13.

Clayton plays for Bankstown's Gee Shield under-13 team and Tait with Parramatta's Gee Shield under-13 team.

"Tait and Clayton did well in their first year here in 2013," Gill said. "Tait is a promising wicketkeeper and batsman while Clayton bowls spin and is working on his batting."

Gill said many of the boys had been busy training and playing with representative teams during the school holidays.

He said there was strong competition for places in the cricket program.

"When they apply players have to attend trials where we have a good look at them," he said.

"They also have to be playing competition club cricket in an association and have a good level of ability and we assess what they have done."

Gill said school policy required students to meet satisfactory educational standards otherwise they are stood down from the program until their grades improve.

Jackson Isakka said he was thrilled to be accepted into the program.

"I am looking forward to learning a lot," Jackson said.

"I want to learn as much as I can."

Gill said the program covered all aspects, batting, bowling, fielding, wicketkeeping, health, advice, nutrition and fitness.

Gill said over the years 130 students had played grade and more than 50 in first grade that came through the cricket program.

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