ONE of Gunnedah’s most promising cricket stars is set to ply his trade in the Tamworth District Cricket Association during the 2019-2020 summer.
Hayden Baker will line up for Old Boys this season, making the shift from Gunnedah District Association club Albion.
The 17-year-old played a vital role in Albion’s grand final side last summer and proved to be key in Gunnedah’s drought-breaking War Veterans Cup victory.
The young off-spinner said the prospect of “trying something new” was the contributing factor behind his decision.
“To be honest, I had been thinking about making the shift for a while and Old Boys captain Ben Middlebrook got in touch to see if I was interested in coming over,” Baker told the Namoi Valley Independent.
“I had a long think about it, and decided that I was ready to give it a go.
“I’m really looking forward to it.”
Baker’s decision comes a season after fellow Gunnedah young guns Adam McGurik (Old Boys) and Kaleb McIlveen (South Tamworth) made the move to the Tamworth-based competition.
“It will be really interesting to see how all of us young blokes go over there,” Baker said.
“There’s obviously some really talented guys coming through. Hopefully we can all play some good cricket.”
Named man of the match in Gunnedah’s War Veterans Cup victory, Baker said he was keen to help his hometown retain their title.
“I’m certainly keen to play for Gunnedah, if I’m picked,” he said.
“I had a great time last summer and it felt so good to bring the Cup to Gunnedah.
“We have a great bunch of boys and I’m looking forward to the chance to play with them again.”
Baker won’t be the only key player to depart Albion this summer. Brad Jenkinson recently announced his plan to move to Newcastle.
“It’s going to be a different looking team this year, that’s for sure,” Baker said.
“But I’m confident Albion will still be competitive.”
Baker said he would be working hard in the coming weeks to sharpen his skills ahead of the new season.
“Lately I’ve been playing indoor cricket, which has really been helping,” he said.
“Tamworth has got a really good competition going at the moment and I think it will keep growing over the coming years.
“For me, though, I will really have to focus on my bowling because I could get taken apart in Tamworth if I’m not on top of things. I want to make a good impression, so I will be working pretty hard over the next weeks to make sure I’m ready.”