PROMISING Taree West batsman Dean Mills will be lost to Manning cricket at the conclusion of the season.
Mills is heading to Brisbane where he hopes to further his career.
He’ll leave the Manning with his name in the record books. Mills and Josh Meldrum set a new high for the third wicket in Manning cricket when smashing 257 in the clash against Wingham last Saturday at Cedar Party Reserve. Mills made 146 – his highest score in first grade. He is the first Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week for 2017. (Meldrum was the final winner for 2016 following his 135 in the clash against Old Bar.)
Mills will relocate to Brisbane in April.
“I’ll have finished TAFE and be a qualified plumber,’’ he explained.
He hasn’t settled on a club yet, however, he’ll meet Ken Healy (brother of former test keeper Ian) soon after moving where this will be determined.
Mills is looking forward to the challenge of trying to break into a stronger competition, saying it was always his plan to move on after he completed his apprenticeship.
Mills has had limited opportunities this season with Taree West because he’s been away working.
He opened the batting against Wingham and joined forces with Meldrum with the score at 2/33. Concentration, he said, was a big part of his innings.
“I batted until 4.30, so it was a long day,’’ he said.
Intermittent showers also made conditions tricky.
Mills hit 19 fours and didn’t give a chance. He was caught off a no ball, but added he was in his 120s by then.
Mills made 135 last year at the same ground. Until Saturday he had the highest individual score at Cedar Party, however this now been overhauled by Meldrum’s 187. Mills can boast having the second and third highest scores there.
He will be available for the remainder of Taree West’s campaign this summer. The West had a slow start but Mills is confident they’re starting to peak at the right time. The premiership will be a three-way race between the West, Wingham and United.
“It could come down to the day and who is playing well,’’ he said of the big games ahead, although he’s confident the West can go one better than last season when they were grand finalists.
He was named player of the tour with the Northern Emus under 21 team in New Zealand last January, where he also scored a century.
Mills also showed promise as a utility back with Taree City in the Group Three Rugby League competition last year, but he won’t be taking his footy boots with him to Brisbane.
“I’ll be practicing four days a week, it’s going to be pretty intense, so I won’t have time for football,’’ he said.