A class above the rest
BEN Perry might be only a 16 year old but he is well established as an A Grade cricketer in the Leongatha and District Cricket Association playing for Koonwarra Leongatha RSL.
He was the club’s youngest ever debutante to play in its A Grade Division Two side at 14 years of age and if Koonwarra Leongatha RSL make it through to the season grand final, at 16 years of age Perry will have played 50 A Grade matches.
It is believed at the club the milestone is a district record.
President of Koonwarra Leongatha RSL Nigel Grimes said, “Ben lives, breathes and eats cricket.
“He’ll play all day in the sun and at the end of the match when the rest of us retire to the shade, he’s in the nets with his mates.”
In Year 10 at the Leongatha Secondary College Ben says any subject involving sport is likely to be his strongest but he also has an interest in mathematics.
He has not made up his mind what field he wants to move into at the end of his secondary schooling but says he is interested in being a ground curator and is enrolled in a horticulture subject at school this year.
Like most children, especially boys growing up in Australia, cricket is introduced by way of the television and for Ben it was no different; his cricket was inspired by watching it played on television.
As a young boy his favourite cricketer was Ricky Ponting, even his first bat was a Ricky Ponting.
Having a hero like Ricky Ponting is a good start for a young and aspiring cricketer.
Nerrena Under 12s used to train at the Leongatha Primary School before its relocation and so began his association with his first cricket club.
“You wouldn’t have picked me out from the crowd; I was just another person playing cricket.”
He must have stood out from the crowd to some degree because he played for the Under 14s LDCA representative side in Country Week.
He made 180 runs that week which made him the second highest run maker at the tournament and no doubt those runs were an important factor in the LDCA Under 14 team running out the premiers.
His talent didn’t escape the notice of the selectors as he was selected onto the GCL team and his maturity hadn’t escaped their notice either: he was named the captain of the team.
He rates as highlights of his cricketing career his first five wicket haul in season 2014/15 when in an A Grade Division 2 match against Poowong Loch he took 5/29 off a 16 over spell which included seven maidens.
In his 130 match LDCA career Perry has a batting average of 29.65 with a highest score of 114 and a bowling average of 17.04.
He has scored 534 runs in the current season most of those playing in the Koonwarra Leongatha RSL Under 16 side with a highest score of 72 retired not out in a match against his old team Nerrena.
For a cricketer with so much talent, Ben Perry is a modest young man who at least publicly doesn’t set his sights too high.
His ambition, he says, is to play district cricket, albeit fertile pastures for those on the rise in the cricket world.
Nigel Grimes says Perry is an all rounder who stands out for his professionalism and maturity.
“He took it all in his stride as a 14 year old and hasn’t missed a game since.”
He is chased by other clubs Mr Grimes said but he is loyal and believes that if Perry goes anywhere it will be to follow in the footsteps of another of the club’s success stories, Lachie Sperling who is captain of Casey-South Melbourne Cricket Club’s first eleven and a step away from a Victorian guernsey.
No matter where he ends up, Ben Perry is not just a talented cricketer but an impressive young man.
One day there could well be a few youngsters around the country watching television and rating Ben Perry as their favourite cricketer.
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