The day Phillip Hughes taught us a big lesson

SAD LOSS: Phillip Hughes will be remembered as a bright and cheeky young man with an infectious smile. Photo: AFP//William West
SAD LOSS: Phillip Hughes will be remembered as a bright and cheeky young man with an infectious smile. Photo: AFP//William West AFP//William West

"THIS kid will play for Australia one day".

The first time I heard these words I was a young junior cricketer overhearing a conversation about Brad Hodge.

Considering Hodge's outstanding career, I sat up and took notice the next time I heard the sentence uttered again.

This time it was about Macksville 13-year-old Phillip Hughes.

So it was with anticipation that I watched a 16-year-old Hughes pad up with his brother Jason and take to the field for Sawtell.

Despite his tender years, the left-hander was impressive and was considered a vital scalp if the West Coffs Tigers, the team I was captaining, was to beat Sawtell in that season's grand final.

The young man seemingly not much taller than the stumps proved a thorn as he eased his way to a half century as the withering cut shot which would become his trademark proved hard to counter.

Late on the first day of the grand final, I thought I was crazy for placing a slip, two gullys, a short third man and a backward point to counter his run making. 

I felt better about my own cricketing sanity a few years later when Test captains like Graeme Smith, Ross Taylor and Andrew Strauss started employing similar fields against him.

That was Hughes'strength - not just his desire to bat for long periods of time but the ability to find the smallest of gaps anywhere between cover-point and the keeper.

It was only three years after that grand final Hughes became the youngest player to make a century in a Sheffield Shield final. For such a young man, his cricketing numbers soon made for Boy's Own Annual reading.

Hughes played 26 Tests, 25 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and a Twenty20 match for Australia.

He became the youngest player in history to make a century in each innings of a Test match, remains the only Australian to score a century on ODI debut and when he made an unbeaten 202 for Australia A against South Africa A he became the first Australian male to score a double century in a 50-overs-a-side match. He also shares the Australian Test record for a 10th wicket partnership with Ashton Agar.

Hughes is one of only four Australians to have scored multiple Test centuries before his 21st birthday. The others being Neil Harvey, Doug Walters and Don Bradman. Exalted company indeed.

But Hughes is more than a list of numbers and achievements.

Over the past couple of days it has become apparent that Greg and Virginia Hughes raised a fine son.

Cricket NSW chief executive Andrew Jones said: "Phillip is fondly remembered as a bright and cheeky young man with an infectious smile".

South Australian Cricket Association chief executive Keith Bradshaw described the 25-year-old as: "Loved by everyone, Phillip was a really terrific person and a remarkable talent."

The true tragedy of a life lost so early has all at the Coffs Coast Advocate extending our deepest sympathies to Phil's family and friends.

Topics:  chdca coffs harbour district cricket association cricket editors picks north coast cricket council opinion phil hughes sawtell cricket club

Coffs Harbour beach closed after large shark spotted

SHARK SPOTTED: A small shark was spotted at Diggers Beach this afternoon.

Large shark spotted leads to lifeguards closing beach

Are you the next top mature-age model?

Joyce Carey, 96, is a model with Silverfox MGMT.

MODELLING agency in nationwide search for new mature faces.

Sophie Collombet: How many walked past the dying student?

Thousands gathered outside Town Hall for a candlelight vigil and march to the park near the South Bank precinct where Ms Collombet's body was found in April 2014

Tragically, they thought she was homeless.

Local Partners

Family's new arrival in face of tragedy

MEL Small had already gone into labour when she learned of the tragic fate of her sister Jodie Spears.

Survive and support this Pink Ribbon Day

Denise Bass, Kathy Clough and cancer survivor Dorothy Lockart at Pink Ribbon Day stall in the mall.

Cancer survivors often say the diagnosis is the toughest part.

Blooming Woolgoolga

Handmade flowers have brought colour to mental health in Woolgoolga.

HANDMADE flowers have brought colour to mental health in Woolgoolga.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Jake left broken-hearted by Bachelorette break-up

Jake Ellis is one of the final three bachelors on The Bachelorette.

GEORGIA chooses Lee and Matty J as her final two suitors.

MOVIE REVIEW: Doctor Strange is out there in a good way

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the movie Doctor Strange.

MARVEL'S new superhero takes viewers along on his mind trip.

MOVIE REVIEW: Jack Reacher sequel falls flat

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

THE film's title Never Go Back should serve as a warning to fans.

The Bachelor contestants find love with each other

Former Bachelor contestants Megan Marx and Tiffany Scanlon have confirmed their relationship on social media.

MEGAN Marx and Tiffany Scanlon confirm relationship on Instagram.

Liam Payne wants to wed Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Liam Payne

Liam Payne reportedly wants to marry Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

Bindi Irwin 'honoured' to make MAXIM HOT 100 list

Wildlife Warrior named among Australia's most beautiful women

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Politicians promise homebuyers a helping hand

PROMISE: Canberra has plans to address housing affordability.

How Coffs can help fix housing affordability

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June