TV talent show star is Knowle's new Aussie find
KNOWLE'S preparations for the new cricket season have received a massive boost with the arrival from Australia of promising fast bowler Jackson Smith.
The 18-year-old is the latest in a long line of outstanding youngsters from Down Under – including Shane Warne, Shaun Graf, Michael Beer and Bryce McGain – who have headed to Broad Walk to further their cricketing education.
And Smith is already showing that he has the potential to go to the top after beating off more than 1,000 hopefuls to reach the final 15 of the Australian TV programme Cricket Superstar which offered a first prize of a four-month scholarship at the country's Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.
Dave Millard, Knowle's cricket chairman, said: "Our links with Australia go all the way back to 1979 when Shaun Graf came here to play for a season.
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"He went on to play one-dayers for Australia and become a selector, while Shane played for us on Sundays in 1989, Bryce appeared for Essex and Michael has just appeared in his second Test.
"Playing for Knowle obviously increases your chances of playing for Australia!
"I'm sure that history really assisted us. Having Jackson here is a great result for the club, and all the credit for his arrival goes to my predecessor, Lee Godfrey, who put in a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes."
Weather permitting, Smith will make his club debut in a second-team friendly tomorrow at Keynsham and is also set to line up on Sunday when the serious stuff gets under way with a home Kingfisher Beer National Cup clash with Cardiff (1pm).
Knowle, who play in the Bristol & Somerset division of the Globe Sports West of England Premier League, will this season be led by Matt Wilson, who played his first game for the club at the age of 11.
Now 25, he said: "The average age of the side this season will be something like 24 or 25, and I'm sure that some teams will be writing us off because of a lack of experience.
"But we've been netting well and we do have the squad and the ability to push for a top four or five finish.
"There are big chances this season for young players from our under-17s, such as Ollie Haynes and Jake Edmunds, to come through. And I've also got several senior players I can rely on as well."
Also in the Kingfisher Beer Cup on Sunday, Bath will entertain Keynsham, Bristol host Newport and Weston-super-Mare have a home tie with Bridgwater.
Bristol Phoenix 2nds began their AC Moles Somerset Women's League Division One campaign with a 172-run victory over Wells.
Laura Marshall (51) and Rosie Tregear (52) shared a century stand in a total of 215-4 from 30 overs before Wells were dismissed for 43, with Beth Davis, Sidra Khan, Carys Allen, Emily Waldron and Chloe Davis sharing the wickets.