Young wicketkeeper makes the grades

TYRO Brandon Crosbie is playing grade cricket at just 14.

The Erskine Park boy, a year 9 student at Westfields Sports High School at Fairfield West, is rated by his coaches as mature beyond his tender years.

Brandon, a talented wicketkeeper and left-handed batsman, debuted in fifth grade with the Blacktown Warriors this season then recently promoted to fourth grade.

He is a former Trinity Catholic Primary School pupil at Kemps Creek.

Brandon said he is pleased with his progress but content to bide his time and keep learning.

Brandon is batting at No.7 at Blacktown, although he opens in junior representative cricket.

His top score with Blacktown in grade is 55.

The teenager said he didn't think he would play grade at this age.

"I have always wanted to play grade but I thought it would be when I was 15 or 16," Brandon said.

"My goal is to one day play first grade — that has always been an ambition of mine."

Westfields Sports High School cricket coach Ian Gill said the teenager will be part of the school's first XI team this season.

"Brandon is a level headed young man with plenty of talent and most importantly his feet are firmly planted on the ground," Ian Gill said.

"We haven't rushed him through the cricket program since he came to the school in 2011 in year 7.

"We will have let him develop along the way and he is progressing well."

Brandon started playing cricket when eight.

The teenager said his cricket mentor and positive influence in his life has been his father Lindsay, who played second grade with Fairfield Liverpool.

Brandon said his mother Sharon is a great support, driving him to and from school and training, attending games and always encouraging him. "Dad was a wicketkeeper and has taught me plenty of things about keeping," Brandon said.

"He has taught me about keeping to spinners up at the stumps, how to get down low, and don't grab for the ball."

In a recent match for the Blacktown Green Shield under-16s team, the opener made an unbeaten 101 against Hawkesbury.

Brandon said he has a personal coach outside of school and club cricket, Rohit Ramanathan, who he said is also a guiding light with his cricket.

Brandon is also a member of the Cricket NSW Youth Academy Squads.

— Paul Haigh

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