THERE’S no time like the present, and Orange opener James Ryan is certainly making the most of the now.
Ryan belted a match-winning 121 in the second round of the Mitchell Cricket Council’s under 21s championship against Mudgee last Sunday, helping Orange chase down the home side’s 6-228 with just one wicket to spare.
Before that, Ryan hit 71 for club side Cavaliers in their big eight-wicket win over Centrals.
They’re two innings Ryan is unlikely to forget in a hurry.
They may even be the making of the man in both club and representative cricket.
“It was my first ton, in any cricket. It’s pretty exciting,” he said.
What makes Ryan’s innings even more special is no other batsman really got going on a green deck at Mudgee.
Orange, the defending MCC champions, limped to 5-110 before handy partnerships between Ryan and Jake Pauletto (39, sixth wicket) and then Ryan and skipper Hamish Finlayson (33, eighth wicket) edged Orange in front of the home side.
It was as good a time as any for Ryan to get his maiden triple-figure score.
“We obviously had a few out and as one of the blokes who’d been there for a few years, also in the opens side, someone had to step up and it had to be one of us. Who better than me?” Ryan said.
It feels like Ryan has been part of the CavS set up for the better part of a decade.
He played his first top grade game with the club at the age of 12 and, by his own admission, “didn’t really do much that game.”
Now 17 and with a ton under his belt at rep level, times have changed.
“I’ve got bigger roles now but it’s all still a learning experience,” he added.
“They’re a great bunch of boys (at Cavs). It’s fantastic to be around. Richie (Venner) knows a lot, Stu (Middleton) knows a lot, it’s amazing to play with guys like that.”
And as a senior player in Orange’s colts line-up, it’s the knowledge Ryan absorbs at club level that’ll be vital in helping the city’s under 21s side win back-to-back MCC colts crowns.
The side’s biggest test is tomorrow in Bathurst.
Both sides are undefeated this summer and after Orange won the title in 2011-12 thanks to a rained-out final, Bathurst will be desperate to send a message against the defending champs.
“Every rep year it’s probably us and them,” Ryan said.
“They’re probably our toughest opponent and there’s a bit of a rivalry between Orange and Bathurst. They’re the team we want to beat. We versed them in the grand final last year and we only faced four overs or something, but they’re the team we want to beat.”
Orange travels to Bathurst tomorrow, with play set to begin at 10am.
n ORANGE: Hamish Finalyson (c, cyms), John Warrington (CYMS), James Ryan (Cavaliers), Liam Gough (Cavaliers), Adam Cowden (Orange City), Matt Corben (Cavaliers), Stu Naden (Orange City), Max Dodds (Kinross), Jake Pauletto (Centrals), Jono Warren (Orange City), Ed Morrish (Orange City), Nick Roweth (CYMS).