Spirit of a champion

BRAEDON Hensel looked like he had played his last game of cricket.

In the latest setback in his fight against cancer, scans showed the St Patrick’s batsman had tumours up to 10 centimetres in his lungs.

Surgery wasn’t an option so he started the first of six cycles of chemotherapy.

While the news hit Braedon’s family and friends hard, the 22-year-old picked himself up and threw himself head first into the next battle.

It’s been tough going with a persistent cough and breathing difficulties keeping the Patties’ star out of one match before the Christmas break.

But there was no stopping the right-hander on Saturday as he stunned Cricket Albury-Wodonga followers by top-scoring with 79 against North Albury at Bunton Park.

“To tell the truth, a month ago I probably thought cricket was finished for me,” Braedon said yesterday.

“But I had one week off and then after one cycle of chemo I realised I wasn’t getting too sick from it.

“I was going to play in a lower grade, but Heath (Naughton) said if you think you are OK you will be playing for us. I’m really surprised and happy how I’m going.

“The doctors can’t believe it and we can’t believe it.

“I’m trying to do the things I enjoy or else you are sitting around like a sick kid.”

Naughton admitted he had never been prouder walking on to the ground to replace Braedon at the crease after watching him bat for several hours.

“It’s just says a lot about Braedon,” he said.

“He never complains, he just loves his cricket and playing with his mates; he’s an inspiration to us all,” Naughton said.

Braedon will return to Melbourne today for his next round of chemotherapy but plans to be in the field as St Patrick’s set out to defend 8-283 on Saturday.

“I’ll be out there in that 40-degree heat,” he laughed.

“The plan is to have six cycles of chemo and this is my third.

“I’ll have a scan in the next week or two. But purely by the way I’m feeling we think it’s all going well.”

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