There’s no denying it – Nic Broes is in some serious form, having taken to the 2018-19 Royal Hotel Cup like a duck to water.
Firmly putting himself in contention for this year’s Carl Sharpe Medal – awarded to the player of the tournament – Broes has crunched two half-centuries in St Pat’s Old Boys’ first two games and has also played a role with the ball.
In Friday night’s battle of the pool A heavyweights, he’ll be looking to continue the purple patch against perennial contenders Orange City.
The clash pits the two unbeaten sides of pool A against one another in their first serious test of the season, both having overcome struggling Centrals and Kinross outfits so far.
While City have proven themselves capable of climbing the Royal Hotel Cup mountain before, in 2012-13, the Saints are showing the competition they’re not to be written off in their debut Twenty20 season, and Broes has been a big part of that.
But unlike some of the competition’s biggest hitters, Broes isn’t walloping the ball over the white picket fence of Wade Park as the teenager says he tries to bat smarter, not harder, in the shortest form of the game.
“I feel like I have adapted well to the shorter format, I may not be the biggest hitter but I really believe that to be successful in Twenty20s you don't necessarily need to be able to hit a large ball,” he said.
[It’s] obviously a very big game for us and can't wait to get out there and really see how far we can go in this comp.Nic Broes on St Pat's game this Friday
“It's more if you can work the ball well and just time the ball into gaps you'll score runs, especially with myself opening the batting with the new ball I feel it comes off so much better and that way I don't have to hit the ball as hard just time it.”
As well as the two Royal Hotel Cup half-tons, Broes hit 85 and took five wickets in the Central West Wranglers’ first Plan B Regional Bash game this year, and has passed 50 twice in Bathurst District Cricket Association’s top grade too.
“At the start of this year I looked over my dismissals last year and how I mainly got out and it was snicking off, so me and my father really emphasised not pushing at the ball and throwing my hands early, (and making it) compact and really getting my footwork where it needs to be,” he said.
It’s a strategy that has paid off.
“I've only been snicked off a couple of times which from last year is a major improvement but still have a lot of work to do,” Broes said.
“I think one thing that has been frustrating for me so far is if you look at my stats there is a lot of scores between 25-50, for me working through that first part of my innings has been good it's just a matter of cashing in and turning them into 80-plus scores.”
Broes has proven himself a weapon with the ball too, having taken 21 wickets across all formats this summer at just 10.9, picking up five in Bathurst’s President’s Cup win on Sunday.
Hampered by back injuries, the finger-spinner said he hadn’t been bowling as much as he’s liked outside of games, but has done work in Sydney with a spin coach and relishes any chance he gets with the ball.
“Obviously in the shorter format batsmen see a spinner and naturally they think easy pickings and should be going for 8-plus an over. That's where I pick up a lot of my wickets by building pressure by bowling dots which then leads to a half shot,” he said.
Broes went on to say Friday’s clash will be a “good test to see where we’re at” and he’s looking forward to the challenge, and seeing how deep his side can go into the competition now they’ve started perfectly.
“[It’s] obviously a very big game for us, can't wait to get out there and really see how far we can go in this comp, because in my mind we have a very deep list and if one person doesn’t fire then it gives another a chance to step up,” Broes said.
“Our ability to dig in with the bat when needed and just having those one or two 50-plus partnerships a game really helps setting us up.”
Friday’s blockbuster begins 7pm Friday at Wade Park.
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