By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
BEING the new boy on the block hasn't been a hindrance to 17 year-old Joe Mennie having his talent on a cricket field recognised.
Moving to the Northern Beaches this year from Newcastle, Mennie has quickly found himself named in the Northern NSW under 17 team that is playing in Bowral this weekend against their southern counterparts.
He admits that he's slightly surprised by his selection but those in the know are the first to tell you that Mennie impressed many with his debut season in first grade last summer in the very strong Newcastle competition.
Playing for Western Suburbs, Mennie showed maturity beyond his years with the bat and his handy medium pace bowling and agrees that it was good grounding learning the tricks of the trade against hardened cricketers.
"Playing in Newcastle it was a bit difficult making the step up in first grade," the Woolgoolga High student said.
"It's just hard cricket with faster bowling, harder field placings, there's a lot of pressure put on teams and yourself."
Upon arrival in the Coffs Coast region, Mennie's cricketing talents were quickly snapped up by Diggers Ex-Services who've made a strong start to the season.
Mennie is yet to set the world on fire on the local scene with his batting but the talented youngster has enough faith in his own ability to think that a big score is just around the corner.
"With my batting I've been going through a few things that I'm working on," he explained.
"I'm still on the right track and the runs will come."
Mennie is part of a strong local contingent that has been selected in the Northern NSW team as alongside him are Dorrigo's Mitch Harvey and Lloyd Moore as well as Macksville's Philip Hughes.
Having a few familiar faces around him during this weekend's vital match is a welcome relief for Mennie who is hoping that a few runs in this match will see him selected in the NSW Country team.
"I'd like to make the Country team but we'll see what happens," he added.
"It would be good to get a good score under my belt.
"It will make the trip worthwhile."
Mennie will probably bat at number three in this match while Hughes and Moore will open the batting.
Harvey is expected to be given the new ball duties.