If you’d asked around at the start of the season who’d be Cricket North’s leading wicket-taker after round five, few would have tipped a 15-year-old off-spinner who spent most of last season playing third grade.
Yet with a career-first five-for against Launceston on Saturday, Cooper Anthes has thrown his name into the spotlight to lead the league with 11 wickets in four games.
Debuting in a round one win over Mowbray, the Riverside High student collected figures of 3-8 and 3-21 in the opening two weeks before coming on as the Blues’ seventh bowler last weekend and claiming 5-34.
“A lot of the wickets were caught in the outfield, there were a couple which were a bit lucky but the last one was probably the best one I bowled all day,” Anthes said.
“I used to bowl medium pace up until about under-13s and I started bowling off-spin at training, and one of my teammates’ dad told me I should start bowling off-spin because he said I looked good.
“I’d never really thought about it before but it’s turned out alright.”
Anthes enjoyed a breakthrough season with the bat last year, posting two half-centuries in third grade and one in under-15s, and credited Clinton Reid with improving his bowling during the off-season.
A state under-15s player and Northern Force skipper in the Hurricanes academy, Anthes is part of a larger core of youngsters including James Simpson, Sam Artis and Matthew Owens who have worked their way into the Blues’ first XI this season.
“We’ve got a few young players but we’re playing at a really high level in club cricket and outside club so we know what we’re getting ourselves into,” Anthes said.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to go a long way with Riverside and do a lot for the club.”
Anthes was named Cricket North’s player of the round for round four.