Hooper is immune to pressure
BELLINGEN cricketer Nick Hopper describes himself as a specialist lower order batsman and good net bowler.
But despite these modest assessments, the 34-year-old has been able to pull Bellingen out of a fair bit of trouble this summer.
Against Nana Glen in round nine, Hopper and Bellingen skipper Chris Moran combined for a tenth-wicket stand of 112, with Hopper scoring 76.
He also came to the side's rescue in round three, scoring 38 at number nine after coming to the crease with the side dangling at 7-96.
It's no coincidence that Bellingen went on to win both games.
Hopper loves the pressure situations.
The more tense the situation, the more he thrives.
"I enjoy the pressure situations," he says.
"I'm lucky I have been able to show my value when it's needed most."
While most of the Bellingen lads were a little nervous when Hopper strolled to the crease with Bellingen 7-140 chasing Diggers' 163 in last weekend's minor semi-final, he wasn't worried.
"I was bothered at all," he said.
"The wicket was pretty flat and the bowlers were getting tired."
Maybe it's Hopper's wealth of experience that makes him seemingly immune to pressure.
"I've played since I was about eight," he said.
Hopper, who moved to Bellingen from Sydney last Easter, has also had his fair share of grand-final success, having captained Sydney club Auburn to a premiership.
Like most players in the first grade competition this season, Hopper has been hot and cold with the bat.
"I've been consistently inconsistent," he says.