Mitchell among the wickets

WINGHAM cricketer Mitch Niven was named player of the carnival from the Stan Austin Shield for under 16 teams played in Taree.

Mitch, 16, an off spin bowler, played a pivotal role in Mid North Coast’s success in the shield. He claimed 16 wickets from four games, including three in the final. His best haul was 6/10 in the game against Far North Coast - a match where MNC were precariously placed after their moderate first innings, but the bowlers, led by Mitch, fought back to secure a resounding win.

Mitch is the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana. He was nominated by Wingham Cricket Club.

Not surprisingly Mitch was happy with his form in the shield,  agreeing the pitches were generally conducive to spin bowling. He’s enjoyed a strong summer at club and representative level. Mitch plays under 16s for Wingham on Saturday mornings and backs up to play seniors - either seconds or first grade in the afternoon.

“I start at 8am, have a break at lunch then play from 1 to 6pm,’’ he said.

While he relishes the challenge, he admits he’s weary come Saturday night.

“I sleep pretty well,’’ he said.

Mitch took three wickets in his last first grade game.

He’s in his ninth year of cricket.

“Dad played cricket and I watched a lot of it when I was younger and wanted to have a go,’’ he explained.

He linked with the Wingham club soon after moving here with his family. Mitch started as a medium pacer but switched to off spin on the advice of a representative coach when he was in under 12s.

Mitch captains one of the two Manning teams in the inter-district under 16 teams. The Manning sides clash next match with the winner progressing to the final.

Mitch is something of an all-rounder - he scored a century in the juniors this season - and says he wants keep working on his batting.

His ambition for the rest of the season is to keep taking wickets and scoring runs in seniors and juniors and captain his side to the inter-district under 16 title.

He also plays junior rugby league for Wingham as a five-eighth, but isn’t 100 percent sure he’ll be pulling on the boots this year.

Jack Piercy (left) from Iguana with the year's first sportstar award winner, cricketer Mitchell Niven.

Jack Piercy (left) from Iguana with the year's first sportstar award winner, cricketer Mitchell Niven.