Gunnedah District Cricket Association: Hayden Baker making his mark in first grade

ALL-ROUNDER: Hayden Baker is enjoying a productive second year in the Gunnedah District Cricket Association first grade competition. Photo: Ben Jaffrey
ALL-ROUNDER: Hayden Baker is enjoying a productive second year in the Gunnedah District Cricket Association first grade competition. Photo: Ben Jaffrey

There’s not many players that can lay claim to being an out-and-out all-rounder but one Gunnedah youngster is one player that can certainly throw his hat in the ring.

Albion’s Hayden Baker bats, bowls – both medium pace and off spin – and is considered “one of the best fielders in the competition” by Andy Mack.

Mack said Baker had come along a fair way since his debut in first grade for Albion in round one of the 2016-17 season.

“He got thrown in the deep end last year and we probably batted him a bit high,” Mack said.

“He’s scored a few more runs batting down the order a bit and has more of a role as a bowler.

“He’s very good in that point, backward point area. He’s a bit of a shark really.

“He’ll create something out of nothing and batsmen are pretty scared to take him on. He’s got a rocket arm, quick across the ground and a safe pair of hands as well.”

Baker has scored 126 runs and taken 14 wickets in first grade this season with his best all-round performance coming on the weekend against Kookaburras.

He ripped through the Kookaburras lineup with 4-2 from 5.4 overs before scoring 30 runs with the bat.

While the 15-year-old agreed with Mack and said his game had improved over the past year, Baker wasn’t entirely satisfied with his season so far.

“I probably could have done a bit better in a few areas,” Baker said.

“Probably my batting. My batting could get a bit better. Probably my defence.”

This season also saw Baker make his first XI debut in the War Veterans Cup for Gunnedah which came as a bit of a surprise for the youngster.

“I was just going to play second XI this year – that was my main target – but got asked to play [War Veterans Cup] and that was pretty fun,” Baker said.

Mack is delighted with where his side sits heading into the second day of play against Kookaburras.

Albion have first innings points wrapped up and lead by 102 runs with six wickets still in hand.

“Losing the toss was not ideal, we’d liked to have batted first but we bowled quite well,” Mack said.

“The openers didn’t quite get the rewards but we just chipped away and bowled nice areas.

“We played a patient game, waited for them to make mistakes and then held our catches which was pleasing.”

On the first day of play, Court House declared on 8-141 before Mornington moved to 5-62 heading into the second day on Saturday at Wolseley Park.

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