PORTSMOUTH Grammar School director of sport Chris Dossett has backed three former pupils to be major hits Down Under on a cricketing gap year.
Talented teenage trio Joe Collings-Wells, Jake George and Robert Gibson, who all ply their trade at home in the Southern Electric Premier League, have already caught the eye with a series of fine batting performances in Sydney Grade Cricket (SCG).
Hambledon’s Collings-Wells struck an impressive 141 in a fourth-grade fixture for Western Suburbs, with the aggressive opener topping the SCG batting charts after his eye-catching solo effort.
Ventnor and Hampshire Academy batsman George celebrated being offered a development contract at the Ageas Bowl for 2013 by hitting 94 on his North Sydney second-grade bow against Western Suburbs.
Meanwhile, Gibson, who plays for both Hambledon and the Hampshire Academy during the British summer, amazingly out-performed Australian Test captain and one-day international Michael Clarke on his debut for North Sydney’s first-grade match against Western Suburbs.
Clarke’s appearance in the competition was the first from an Australian skipper since Steve Waugh donned the whites back in 2003 – and, understandably, attracted a lot of media interest in Australia. But Gibson was not to be daunted by the occasion.
He outscored his high-profile opponent by 55 runs to 38, as North Sydney spoiled Clarke’s party with a comfortable victory.
Settling in to their new surroundings in style, the trio clearly have what it takes to impress their hosts.
And Dossett firmly believes all three players have the ability to continue their success in Australia – despite initially not knowing that George had made the trip.
‘I’m not surprised to see that all of the boys are doing well,’ he said.
‘They have made the decision to go out there to improve their cricket and they have the talent, desire and work-ethic to fulfil their ambitions.
‘As for Jake, he’s so modest, to the extent that we had to find out about the news from elsewhere.
‘His talent has been clear to see, ever since he joined PGS in year nine and went straight into the school’s first team.’
Dossett added the trio’s impressive start may have raised a few eyebrows back at home.
But after working closely with the talented teenagers through their school years, he knows their capabilities more than anyone,
‘People may be surprised to hear of the boys’ achievements but those who know them won’t be,’ said Dossett.
‘They all work extremely hard and deserve to be successful.
‘We wish them the best of luck for the remainder of their gap year.’