Katikati cricketer looks to future

By Betty Jeeves

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 Brody Gilroy has been well rewarded for the endless effort and time he has put into his cricket during the past five years.

Katikati Cricket Club captain Ben Warren says the talented Katikati youngster, a Northern District age group representative, has a very promising future in the sport.

"All players selected at Northern Districts representative age group levels are quality players and it is a matter of perseverance by them as to how far they take their cricket careers," Ben says.

"Brody's senior games for Katikati this year have shown that not only is he more than competent with the bat, but his bowling ability is already up there with the best senior men's bowlers in the competition. His selection as 12th man for the Bay of Plenty Senior Men's team at the Hawke Cup match verses Hamilton recently shows the recognition he is receiving from his peers.

"It is an exciting future for him and he is very fortunate to be so well supported by his parents, Steve and Angela."

The teen has been playing cricket since the the end of year 7.

"I got interested when Dad was coach of the Year 7 and 8 premier team at Katikati College. I used to go along with him. One day they were a player short so I fielded for them, enjoyed it and started going along to practices. I was about 11 or 12 then."

Not long ago Brody was in Wanganui with his brothers at a representative tournament when he received a call from head of Bay of Plenty Cricket, Mark Webb to say the BOP Senior Men's team needed another player and they'd thought of him.

"I was pretty nervous, but happy with that.

"I fielded for about an hour - 12 overs - plus supplied drinks, helped the batsmen practice with throw-downs and stuff like that," Brody says.

"It was actually an awesome experience. I got to play with the pros - Black Caps. I learnt a lot about how they go about their preparation. They were helpful to me too.

"The captain and coach give these opportunities to emerging players to give them the experience, and they said there was a possibility I could be playing for them within the next two years."

Currently he plays for the Katikati College 1st XI or Katikati Men's Senior teams on Saturdays.

To say Brody has a passion for the sport would be an understatement as before Christmas his training schedule also included two to three practice sessions each week for the U19 Bay Team and since Christmas he has played in two tournaments, one for the U19 Bay team which won the Northern Districts title. Brody was one of the stars. He took 5/29 v Counties Manakau in the semi-final and backed it up with 5/33 in the final v Hamilton.

From this he was selected for the Northern Districts Age Group team to play the Auckland U16 team twice.

While playing for the U16 and Bay rep teams Brody is a bowler but when playing for Katikati he is an all-rounder batting and bowling.

His ambition is to make the BOP Senior Men's team full-time.

"If you can make it while you're still at school it's a pretty good achievement and sets you up," Brody says.

"I'd love to be a full-time cricket player but my goal at the moment is to be a college PE teacher. I have another couple of years at college."

Those who have had the most impact on his life, Brody says, are his dad, "definitely, and coach of the Northern Districts U16 team, Ben Williams. He's also player/coach of the BOP Senior Men's team. Dad's kept me focussed and Ben has helped me technically and skills-wise."

On the home front his family couldn't be more supportive.

"He's had an amazing couple of months, he's put in a hell of a lot of work and it's paid off big time. I'm very proud of him," Steve says.

"The late John Howell, New Zealand Cricket manager in the 1980s, was a big influence on Brody's career early on."

Katikati is well represented in the Northern District reps with William Hayman, Richard Earl and Matthew Warren.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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