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Baxter bowls way to gold

Young Central Park-St Brendan's all-rounder Ethan Baxter has played a big role in steering Victoria to victory at the School Sport Australia 12-and-under Cricket Championships.

DAMEN FRANCIS June 26, 2014 3:05am

Central Park-St Brendan’s all-rounder Ethan Baxter won a gold medal as part of Victoria’s School Sport Australia 12-and-under Cricket Championships winning team.

Shepparton’s Ethan Baxter learned two things at last week’s School Sport Australia 12-and-under Cricket Championships.

He discovered wayward deliveries were punished at the next level and with ball-in-hand he could match it with the best of them.

The Year 7 Notre Dame College student was part of the Victoria team that won four of its five matches and shared the title with Queensland.

Baxter, 12, was handed the new ball from day one and snared eight wickets for the championships to be Victoria’s equal highest wicket-taker.

His best figures came in the round-three win against ACT, when he picked up 3-8 from five overs, including both opening batsmen.

However, he said the highlight was undoubtedly the thrilling final-day win against NSW that secured Victoria a gold medal.

‘‘It was pretty tight near the end, then getting that last wicket was exciting,’’ Baxter said.

‘‘Queensland lost their fourth game, so we were equal with them and we knew if we won we were going to win no matter what.’’

Baxter plays his club cricket with Cricket Shepparton powerhouse Central Park-St Brendan’s and is one of the competition’s most promising up-and-coming all-rounders.

However, at national level he was asked to concentrate on his bowling.

‘‘I didn’t get to bat once, but I didn’t really mind,’’ he said.

‘‘They nominated me because we had a good batting line-up and I would be bowling a lot.

‘‘In Shepparton I’m classified as an all-rounder, but when you go up there they’ve got batsmen that train 12 hours a week.’’

The championships were played in Darwin, with Victoria’s only loss coming at the hands of co-champion Queensland.

South Australia beat Queensland, but lost to Victoria and Northern Territory in a closely-fought competition.

Baxter said Queensland was the toughest team he faced.

‘‘When they were fielding they talked a lot and got in the batsmen’s heads and they bowled tight and scored quickly,’’ he said.

Toolamba Primary School student Arnika McGregor also attended the championships, representing the SSA Invitational Team in the girls’ competition.

McGregor’s team did not win any of its five matches, but the tenacious young cricketer played a role with bat and ball.

Her best performance came against South Australia, when she opened the bowling and took 1-16, before scoring six runs batting at first drop.

McGregor finished the week with 20 runs and two wickets from five matches.

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