QUEANBEYAN fast bowler Josh Bennett readily admits he’s never been the most naturally talented cricketer going around.
But the 23-year-old is living proof that hard work and persistence really do pay off after emerging as one of Australia’s most promising country bowlers.
Bennett joined Queanbeyan this season after relocating to Canberra from Newcastle to spearhead the ACT Comets’ attack in the side’s upcoming Future’s League campaign.
Never considered a rising star while coming through the junior ranks in his home town Orange, it has only been over the past 12 months that Bennett has stepped into his own.
In January, Bennett produced a breakout performance for NSW Country at the Australian Country Championships, claiming 21 wickets at 13.
Selected in the Australian Country XI on the back of his strong showing, Bennett was also named as NSW Country Cricketer of the Year.
Not bad for a bloke who couldn’t even force his way into local Orange representative sides as a teenager.
“I wasn’t making Orange sides when I was 19 and now I’m 23 and I’m playing second XI state cricket,” Bennett said of his rapid rise.
“It’s pretty funny actually. All my mates down in Orange were always better than me growing up but then they went off to Uni or wherever they gave it away or only ever played now and then.
“But I just love cricket so I just playing and kept trying and I guess it has paid dividends.”
After moving from Orange to Newcastle for university in 2010, Bennett said it was a conversation with former Comets fast bowler Josh Anderson that proved a turning point in his cricketing career.
“I was just playing grade cricket for the University of Newcastle with [former Comets quick] Josh Anderson and he said I might have a bit of potential,” Bennett said.
“Before then no one had ever really suggested I had the potential to make it in cricket. Then the Comets showed a bit of interest as well so I just really started working hard on my craft.”
Bennett made his Comets debut against Queensland in February this year, taking 4-35 off 12 overs
After missing the Bluebags’ opening match against Ginninderra due to a hamstring injury, Bennett will make his club debut for Queanbeyan against ANU this weekend.
He’ll line up alongside fellow quick Dean Southwell who will be making a welcome return to first grade for the club.
The duo’s inclusion gives Queanbeyan’s pace attack an intimidating air heading into its round two clash after the side comfortably accounted for Ginninderra in last weekend’s opening game of the season.