Hat trick hero Hugh follows in legend’s steps
HIS uncle Andrew Jones was a Balmain pace bowling legend who was once regarded as the fastest young bowler in Australia.
Now 15 year old quick Hugh Sherriff is making a name for himself as a prolific wicket taker for the Sydney club in the NSW Premier Cricket fourth grade competition.
The Christian Brothers Lewisham schoolboy has impressed keen judges with his sharp pace and accuracy to help the table-topping Tigers maintain their number one ranking.
Just like his famous uncle, the strapping Sherriff is a strike bowler with the knack of removing top order batsmen in key moments.
Last Saturday he ripped through a demoralised Western Suburbs team at Birchgrove Oval to snare the amazing figures of 6-2 off ten balls which included a hat-trick as the visitors were skittled for a meagre 33!
In an incredible first over the promising Sherriff bagged 4-0 that featured three wickets off successive balls before conceding two wides and claiming another two wickets to wrap up the innings.
Sydney (2-34) cruised to victory and lead the fourth grade competition on 74 points, eight clear of second placed Northern District.
The pace ace backed up his six wicket haul by grabbing 4-32 the following day to help the Tigers’ A.W Green Shield-winning side defeat Country champions Riverina in the NSW U/16 State Challenge at Port Kembla.
It has been a summer to savour for young Hugh, a NSW Emerging Blues squad member, who is now hitting his straps after recovering from a broken foot.
The rookie paceman missed the start of the season with injury before making a comeback before Christmas with Sydney’s Green Shield outfit.
Sherriff shared the new ball with Riverina star Max Harper and bowled without luck in the early preliminary rounds.
But he found his groove in the finals series and went on to play a key role as the Tigers captured the coveted trophy for the first time in 37 years.
Hugh grabbed two crucial wickets as Sydney toppled Northern Districts in a thrilling Grand Final staged at Mark Taylor Oval Asquith.
There to witness the Shield triumph was proud uncle Andrew Jones, a Denistone local who had figured in the Tigers’ previous A.W Green Shield trophy win back in 1980.
Under the coaching of former England Test skipper Mike Gatting, the Balmain Class of 1979-80 defeated Western Suburbs in the Shield decider with Jones and pace partner Michael Rodney prominent with the new ball.
The Tigers line up also included future Australian off spinner Gavin Robertson, Wallaby centre Brett Papworth, first grade rugby league fullback Rod Pethybridge, prolific run scorers Chris Madden and Gary Squire and skipper David Steel.
Former NSW quick Jones, who is ranked fifth on Balmain’s all time wicket takers honour roll with 689 wickets during a distinguished 20-season career, said Gatting had sent a congratulatory letter to the Sydney team to recognise the achievement.
Jones said the Tigers’ Green Shield premiership triumph last month took him on a trip down memory lane.
The Balmain great played his early junior cricket in Dubbo with the Newtown Cricket Club before moving to Denistone with his family at the age of 11.
“I spent a couple of seasons with St Andrews in the Northern Districts Junior Cricket Association before being picked in the Balmain Green Shield squad for the 1979-80 season at the age of 14,” recalled Jones.
The left arm speed merchant took 14 wickets at an average of 12 as the Tigers claimed the Shield title – then capped a memorable debut season by helping Balmain win the fifth grade premiership under club stalwart Peter Martin.
Jones went on to become one of the Tigers’ greatest-ever fast bowlers with 422 first grade scalps, win a top grade premiership and represent NSW in the Sheffield Shield competition.
In an ironic twist, young Sherriff gets an opportunity to emulate the deeds of his famous uncle in his rookie season with the Tigers.
Having won a Green Shield title, Hugh will now pour his energies into helping Sydney clinch the Reid Cup fourth grade trophy in coming weeks.
The talented all rounder has already caught the eye of State selectors.
He’ll spearhead a NSW bowling attack at the upcoming National All Schools U/15 Championships in Brisbane from March 25 to April 2.