East Albury’s Miles Hemann-Petersen is believed to be the youngest first-grade cricketer in the competition’s 159 years.
The 13-year-old made a stunning debut as wicketkeeper in Saturday’s round five clash against Belvoir, taking three catches.
“It was pretty good, I was a bit nervous because I was playing with the best people in the area,” he said.
Hemann-Petersen is the son of long-time association star, Darren Petersen.
“He’s given me some tips like try not to get flustered, try to wait for your ball when batting,” he said.
The James Fallon High School Year Eight student doesn’t turn 14 until January.
“I didn’t want to throw him to the wolves, so to speak, I didn’t want to play him too early, but I was still confident at the same time he was up to it,” coach Dylan Weeding said.
“We spoke about it as a selection committee and got a bit of input from some other people as well around the club.
“We don’t even really look at him as a 13-year-old kid, he’s much more mature than that.
“If you didn’t know him, you probably think he’s 16-17 anyway.”
Hemann-Petersen’s catches dismissed Belvoir’s English import Jack Jessop, John Spencer and Drew Cameron.
“One was off Cameron White, it was just a catch straight to my head, straight in front of my face,” he said.
“One was off the inside edge keeping up to the stumps and the other batsman tried to glide it to third man and I dived to my left-hand side.”
Cricket has always had plenty of teenage first-graders, with Austin Shepherd bowling first-change for East Albury last summer at 15.
The association has produced a number of first-class cricketers, including Geoff Milliken, who played 15 games for New South Wales, debuting in the 1989-90 season.
“I reckon I was older, about 15 or 16 at least,” he said.
“I’d just tell him to learn from the more experienced people around, you pick up a lot of information on how to play the game.”
Hemann-Petersen stepped in for Weeding, who will also miss Saturday’s match against Wodonga Raiders with Riverina commitments.
“He’s got very clean hands, he’s not blessed with fast feet or anything like that, but up to the stumps, for a 13-year-old, you won’t see much better around,” Weeding said.
In what would be a remarkable feat, the teenager could face his father on November 18 when the Crows play New City.