A winter of hard work in the nets has paid dividends for rising Launceston keeper Sam Elliston-Buckley.
The Lions' first-choice keeper in the absence of Raiders vice-captain Alistair Taylor, Elliston-Buckley enjoyed his breakout A-grade game against Mowbray, raising his bat for the first time at senior level en route to 81.
The score surpassed his combined total from 10 innings last season and came as part of an 89-run stand with fellow young gun Ethan Conway.
"I did struggle quite a bit through last year so it was good to get that game under way and it folded out nicely for me," the 18-year-old said.
"I just worked really hard before the season got under way - I knew it was going to be a challenge again this year so I just worked really hard on batting and focusing on what I needed to improve on.
"I'm quite happy with that, to finally get through to a good innings in A-grade."
After producing the best score of Cricket North's opening round, Elliston-Buckley also pouched two catches and completed a smart stumping to dismiss Eagles dangerman James Storay.
What's more, the the Launceston Church Grammar student was only too happy to share the limelight with three other teenage Lions who took career-best batting or bowling figures on the day.
"The group's very young and they're all very talented cricketers," he said.
"For them to all break through at the start of the year, it's a good sign for what's to come."
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Elliston-Buckley's coach and keeping mentor Taylor agreed.
"[Sam] played pretty much the whole of the first half last year and then he had school cricket, he played as our wicketkeeper-batsman when I was away," Taylor said.
"He's a great young kid, he hits the ball extremely hard and he's got a massive upside to him if he can get things right."
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