North Albury has landed a stunning coup, signing former ACT captain Matt Condon.
The classy left-handed opening batsman is set to debut away to Belvoir on Saturday, pending a clearance from club side Western District and University of Canberra.
"I was looking at wrapping up my cricket, work's taken over my life a fair bit, (North Albury's) Tim and Anthony Hartshorn were around when I first started playing first grade in Batemans Bay, Tim was the captain, and the opportunity to go back and play with those guys is a big drawcard to me," the project engineer in the construction industry said.
I was looking at wrapping up my cricket ... the opportunity to ... play with those guys is a big drawcard.- Matt Condon
Club president Dale Paddle has been in contact for at least six months.
"Tim (Hartshorn) said to me, 'we should try and get this guy because he's a gun'," he said.
Condon spent two years playing first grade in the powerful NSW Premier Cricket with Eastern Suburbs, which is former Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin's home club.
He captained the ACT under 19 team and progressed through to lead the territory's senior outfit, while also spending a year on a rookie contract with the Sydney Sixers in BBL 4.
"It was Brett Lee's last year and (either current or former Australian bowlers) Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc were there too, so training was hell (laughs), it wasn't enjoyable," he offered.
Interestingly, Condon says the fastest spell he's ever faced in a match was against Jake Reed, who had a blinding patch with Hobart Hurricanes in BBL 4 and also played Sheffield Shield for Victoria.
"He bowled absolute rockets," the 24-year-old recalled of the pace blitz.
Condon topped the strong Canberra competition's run-scoring as a teenager, which is a tremendous achievement given the quality of aggressive batsmen and bowlers.
"I like to play a pretty aggressive brand of cricket, I prefer to take the game on rather than sit back and let the game fizzle out, I'm there to take the game forward," he said.
Condon's signing caps a unique month for the Hoppers.
It's extremely rare to pick up a gun mid-season and even moreso after the club parted company with Zimbabwean first-class player Tendai Power Maruma.
The all-rounder stepped down from the coaching role after two games, had a highest score of only 30 in his six games and was suspended for four matches for making contact with an opponent.
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"After watching the boys against Tallangatta last week, we've got a lot of players that can do a job, but we probably just lack that one class bat," Paddle said.
"This gives us a lot better balance and he's a gun in the field, a really good slipper and we're very excited, we're on top of the ladder and we want to do everything we can to be there at the end."
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