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Adam spins win

Thursday, 15th December, 2011

ALL-ROUNDER: Adam Armstrong is hoping to help Central to victory in Saturday’s Twenty20 cricket Grand Final to add to the Pierre de Coubertin Award he received from BH High School. ALL-ROUNDER: Adam Armstrong is hoping to help Central to victory in Saturday’s Twenty20 cricket Grand Final to add to the Pierre de Coubertin Award he received from BH High School.

By John Casey

The famous catch-cry of former Australian cricket captain Bill Lawry that; “it’s all happening”, is a perfect summary of the recent events for Central spin bowler Adam Armstrong.

This week alone 17-year-old Adam has received pleasing HSC results, picked up the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin award from BH High School and posted his best bowling figures (4/45) for the 2011-12 season.

Now Adam must prepare for Saturday’s Twenty20 Grand Final against West, decide which university course to pursue next year and field offers to play District cricket in Adelaide. Talk about hectic.

“It’s been very exciting and it was a real honour to take out the Pierre de Coubertin award which is presented to the person who best displays the ideals of the Olympic movement,” Adam explained.

“My efforts playing cricket were a part of the award, but I was also recognised for coaching the AFL and cricket teams at school as well as helping out with organising sports events.

“I’m also pleased with my HSC results which average around the mid-70s and should be enough to get me into the university courses I have looked at,” he added.

Not surprisingly, Adam is leaning towards study in Sports and Mechanical Engineering - or Human Movement and Exercise Physiology - which would allow him to pursue a career connected with his penchant for sport.

“I’ve always loved sport from the time I started playing when I was five or six,” Adam said.

“The courses I have looked at would lead to a role as a sports scientist and working with elite teams, which would be great.”

That is, if he isn’t already playing for an elite team because of his on-field talents, which have caught the eye of recruiters in Adelaide.

“I’ve played District cricket with West Torrens in Adelaide and have been offered the chance to play with them again in the New Year,” Adam said.

It has been a rapid rise to fame for the teenage off-spinner who earlier this year found himself rubbing shoulders with former Test players Darren Lehmann and Graham Manou as part of the Outback Emus charity match.

“That was an awesome experience,” Adam recalled.

“Even though it wasn’t a completely serious match, just to watch how those Test players prepare themselves and focus on the game was brilliant.”

Just one week prior, Adam had celebrated his debut season in A Grade cricket with a premiership with Central.

“It was a huge thrill. At the start of the season I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hold my spot in the team but I picked up four wickets in one game and then five the next week leading into the finals to earn my spot.”

Adam’s bowling effort in game one of the Grand Final against North (0/12 from 10 overs) helped steer his team to victory and he picked up three wickets in the game two loss before rain washed out the decider and - as minor premiers - Central claimed the pennant.

“Having had experience at District level in Adelaide as well as playing in the Bank SA Under-17 Grand Final gave me confidence I could contribute in the local premiership decider and surprisingly I wasn’t nervous at all,” Adam said.

The impressive youngster is also quietly confident of upsetting the highly-fancied West side in Saturday’s Twenty20 decider at Jubilee Oval.

“West have been in good form, but we now have our best team together and I think we will give them a good run.”

Adam and the Magpies will go into Saturday’s match full of confidence after defeating West the last time they met and easily accounting for South in round nine on Saturday. 

Adam and his leg-spinning partner Scott Shephard bagged eight wickets between them, although Armstrong gave up 17 runs from his first two overs, including 12 from his opening six balls.

“I copped a bit of treatment early, but it is important not to let it get to you,” Adam said.

“About five or six weeks ago I was down a bit and our captain (Cameron Wells) had a chat with me, which really helped.

“He said that he had faith in my ability to take wickets and to keep plugging away and that gave me some confidence.

“I’ll now try and think my way through things and maybe take a little more time at the top of my bowling mark and settled down if things aren’t going my way,” Adam continued.

The “spin-twin” tandem with Scott Shephard is also paying dividends for Adam and the Magpies as they look to defend their premiership.

“We complement one another quite well because we spin the ball in opposite directions,” Adam said.

“We are able to build a bowling partnership together and that puts pressure on the batsmen which hopefully leads to wickets and success as a team.”

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