FOURTEEN-year-old batsman Tom Belmonte makes his Orange District Cricket Association first grade debut for CYMS on Saturday, against a rampant Cavaliers unit, in a final-round game which will determine who wins the minor premiership.
Talk about a baptism of fire.
However, faced with the prospect of being bombarded by one of the best attacks in Orange, which features all-round phenom Stuart Middleton, experienced paceman Chris Martin, wily finger-spinner Richie Venner and up-and-coming seamer Josh Doherty, Belmonte was as cool as a cucumber.
“I’ll just approach any of them as I would any other bowler,” he said.
“Give them respect, see what they’re like, play them out and try to get some runs.”
Despite saying he was “surprised” at his selection, Belmonte hasn’t been knocking on the first grade door, he’s been slamming into it with a battering ram for some time.
Belmonte spent all of 2012-13 in Centenary Cup, systematically taking apart all who came before him. He led not just his team’s run-scorer’s list, but the entire club’s with 466, averaging 35.85.
In 2013-14, Belmonte has been juggled between Centenary Cup and third grade, and has dominated once again. Belmonte once again sits atop CYMS’ club run-scorers list, with 481 at 40.08.
He’s also scored three senior centuries, another in juniors, and five half-centuries in the past two seasons.
Belmonte said his goal had been to crack the top grade for some time.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, it was just a matter of getting a chance,” he said.
“Now I’ve got the opportunity, I guess I just need to do my best to take it.”
CYMS take on Cavaliers at Wade Park, from 1pm Saturday and Sunday.