Panthers Captain Matthew Birchley is not backwards in coming forward when he says he could quite possibly be the best player in the Mount Isa competition.
"When I was 14, I was asked to go to Sri Lanka to represent the Australian under 15s.
"It was a great experience, all the locals called me Hagrid because of my similarities to the Harry Potter character," Birchley said.
In his early years Birchley lived in Cunnamulla, he was the youngest player to compete in the first division competition after making back to back quarter centuries for the youth side called Yowah Wombats.
"I've played cricket since my eighth birthday when my favourite uncle bought me a cricket bat," Birchley said.
When I was 14, I was asked to go to Sri Lanka to represent the Australian under 15s. It was a great experience, all the locals called me Hagrid because of my similarities to the Harry Potter character.Captain Matthew Birchley
Before moving to Mount Isa, 19-year-old Birchley was the youngest player to Captain the Cunnamulla Watchmen's first division team, now in his fourth year playing in the Mount Isa Cricket Association, he is captain of the Panthers.
"I formerly played for the Challengers but when they folded, I decided to make the move to the well-respected Panthers," Birchley said.
"I'm an all-rounder, generally I bat at sixth or seventh but I prefer to bat at third."
Besides his uncle inspiring him with a cricket bat, Merv Hughes has been a massive influence on the way he approaches each game.
"His temperament and grace under pressure is something I have always modelled my game on.
"Away from cricket, former politician Kim Beazley was a large influence, the way he demands respect has influenced me greatly," he joked.
Birchley is sitting on a batting average of 12.7 in the 40-over competition but says his T20 average "couldn't be computed because he never got out".
"My bowling average has been somewhat lacklustre this year, averaging one wicket every 54 balls," he admitted.
This year Birchley has his eye on the 2019 premiership.
The Mount Isa Cricket Association is holding it's grand final on Saturday March 23.
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