Twelve-year-old Amber Smith jumped into the passenger seat of the car and turned to her grandfather with a simple guarantee.
“Pa, I know I’m going to play for Australia,” Amber said.
“I’m going to be like Ellyse Perry.”
The emerging all-rounder from Radford College has set the bar high and she is determined to realise her dream.
Just like her 13-year-old brother Jake, who has always told their grandfather Ross he is going to play Test cricket.
Amber initially wondered why she had to follow Jake around to cricket every weekend. Today she is in love with the game and finds herself on the same time as her brother.
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And this past week they ticked off an incredible milestone. Jake broke through for his maiden century while playing for the Radford College under 14 division one team with his sister partnering him in the middle.
One day later Amber scored her first century while playing for the ACT Emerging Meteors under 13s team in the Cricket NSW Mollie Dive Shield.
“Being out there with him was really cool so I could experience that moment with him,” Amber said.
“I did wonder how long it would be until I got my first hundred because I would really love to be in that position. The next day was such an amazing feeling, I couldn’t believe I did that.
“I always grew up when Jake was wanting to play cricket. I had never really been a fan of cricket and I always had to go to Jake’s games, and I would always get bored.
“Then Jake’s coach at the time said he was coaching a girls team if I wanted to play. [My family] told me ‘if you go along to that match and you don’t like it, we’ll never pester you to play cricket again’.
“I was like ‘there’s no way I’m going to like it’, and I loved it. It’s amazing it took me that long to realise that’s what I wanted to do.”
While it is Australian superstar Perry inspiring Amber in her bid to represent her country, Jake’s dream was sparked by a chance meeting with a cricket legend in a Gold Coast hotel.
“We were just in the hotel foyer and the receptionist came up to us and they were like ‘we have a suspicion Brian Lara is staying here at the moment’,” Jake said.
“We were like ‘no way, that would be insane’. Five minutes later he comes walking out behind us.
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“It was absolutely brilliant to meet a guy with the calibre of experience. It was amazing. That was a very special day.
“We’re obviously aspiring to get higher and higher up the cricketing ranks here in Canberra and then through Australia.
“At the moment we’re going through the ACT programs and NSW representative programs. Hopefully that can build up.”
Walk into Jake’s room at home and you will find pictures of Steve Smith on the walls and a cricket-themed doona cover.
The pair spend their weekends playing cricket for their school, club and territory – and on the odd weeknight it is much the same story.
But it doesn’t end there. Whether Amber and Jake are just waking up early or coming home from school, they can strap the pads on and walk into the garage for a hit.
“We’ve got a cricket net in the carport,” their grandfather Ross said.
“We converted that into a full net with artificial turf and a bowling machine, and they do a lot of their practice there. They’ve been doing that for years.
“I just love it, it’s great to see them so passionate about the game.”
Jake will spend his Saturday afternoon playing with Queanbeyan’s third grade side in the Cricket ACT one-day competition at Phillip Oval.
Across town Queanbeyan’s first grade side will meet Weston Creek Molonglo in the Gallop Cup at Stirling Oval.
Meanwhile, Western District will look to extend their lead at the top of the table against ANU at ANU North Oval while Eastlake will host North Canberra-Gungahlin at Kingston Oval.
Tuggeranong Valley and Ginninderra will jostle for a place in the top four when they collide at Chisholm Oval.