Offspinner taking his opponents by surprise
FROM 'muck-around' games in Taroom to a grand final victory in the 'big smoke', 11 year-old Oli Letbridge has quickly risen in the ranks of country cricket.
The 11 year-old offspin bowler was part of the winning South West Country team in the Darling Downs Under11 Challenge Cup grand final on March 15 against Toowoomba South.
A club based representative team, Letbridge was picked for South West Country last December when he participated in the Darling Downs & South West Challenge Cup.
Letbridge said he started playing cricket at the age of four and he likes bowling and taking wickets.
"The thing that motivated me to play cricket was my father, he has played cricket since he was young and plays in the Taroom/Wandoan side," Letbridge said.
"My goals for the season were to get chosen to play in the South West school team and the South West Country team, both of which I was successfully chosen.
"I was very excited and grateful when I got chosen in the side and then to go on and win the grand final was exciting for the team and myself."
Oli's father Robert Letbridge said he was very surprised that Oli and his team achieved thought the competition.
"We were playing teams like Toowoomba North, South and the South East Country side," Mr Letbridge said.
"All these teams are kids that get to play a lot of cricket.
"St George and Chinchilla juniors are very strong and there's lots of other towns in the South West district that aren't strong."
The 11 year-old offspinner had not been playing in an organised club cricket competition before he was selected for the South West Country team and the school based South West team.
Oli was initially a leg spin bowler but made the switch to offspin bowling last year which he believes gives him a great advantage over his opponents.
"Bowling offspin allows me to bring a different skill to the game, and it's a type of bowling that not many people my age have played against before," Letbridge said.
"Although every now and then I bowl a few leg spin balls."
Oli and his father constantly show dedication to the game, having to travel from Taroom to places like Roma, Dalby, Goondiwindi and Chinchilla so Oli can be given the opportunities to develop.
"Since Oli made the rep team I took him to Chinchilla for the junior club competition on the Saturday and then travel for South West games on the Sunday for four-five times during the season, "Mr Letbridge said.
"He hadn't played proper cricket until he got picked.
"For the weekends we didn't need to go to South West cricket on the Sunday and just to Chinchilla on Saturday, I would also take a few other kids that were playing."