The newly formed West End SACA Premier League is providing the Northern Territory’s young cricketing talent with a pathway they've never had before.
The NT Strike compete in the revamped competition which also features four teams from Adelaide and one from Papua New Guinea.
Northern Territory Cricket chief executive John Stock believes the League is the right fit for the NT.
“We get to showcase our best players against the best from South Australia,” Stock said.
“If they do well in this competition there’ll be opportunities for them to go on to first-class contracts.”
Before this season aspiring NT cricketers would have no option but to relocate to chase their dreams.
“In the past our players played U17’s and U19’s then had to leave mum and dad and go down south, find a club and hope for the best.
"Having this now means our younger players in future years will have the option of staying in the NT and continuing to pursue their cricket.”
The Strike’s squad represents NT’s diverse culture, featuring two Indigenous Australians, two Sri Lankans, two New Zealanders, an Indian and a Dutch player.
“By default the Territory is very multicultural,’ said Stock, identifying the territory’s proximity to nearby countries.
“We’ve obviously got a large indigenous population but also a lot of people from neighbouring Asian countries, so it’s good to see that our team reflects our current community.”
This new pathway has already provided opportunities to the next generation of NT cricketers, with U19 representatives Jake Weatherald notching a century against PNG and Luke Robins blazing 109 not out from only 77 balls against the Redbacks in a recent RYOBI One Day Cup warm-up match.
“Both Jake and Luke are both in our U19s team, and they’re already a success story of this pathway.
“They’re based in Adelaide and are in the emerging Redbacks program.
Stock recognises that if NT cricketers are to make it in the big time travelling to the major centres is necessary.
“At some stage our boys have to pick up their bags and go south if they’re serious about their cricket.
“The difference between the pathways now is that instead of going into a club structure and getting lost, they’re going straight into high performance programs in the states down south.”
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 30 September, 2013 11:20AM AEST