Stepping up to big league, claiming a place in record books

By Jamie Lowe

Just a week after his father Tim and brother Harry made history with the Deniliquin Cricket Club, Charlie Hillier put himself into the record books, becoming the youngest Rhinos cricketer to play in the premier grade.

Medium pace bowler Hillier, 13, lined up for the Rhinos twice on Saturday, playing for the under-14s in the morning, before making his premier debut against Katamatite.

Unfortunately for Hillier, he was unable to come away with the win in his first game at the top level of the Murray Valley Cricket Association, with the Rhinos suffering their first loss of the year.

Losing aside, Hillier said it was still a great experience.

‘‘I found out on the Thursday night before the game that I was picked,’’ he said.

‘‘I was pretty excited by the news as I always strive to play at the highest level of cricket possible.

‘‘I felt like I fit right in and I didn’t feel like I wasn’t up to it.

‘‘It was also good to be able to play alongside Harry at the top level. It helped settle the nerves a little bit.

‘‘Along with my other brother Kai, I got to play alongside Dad (Tim) and Harry when they both scored centuries in Division One last week.

‘‘That was a special day for the family as well as Saturday.’’

Hillier has represented various cricket teams — playing in the state squad and was a member of the Riverina Primary School Sports Association.

This year Hillier played in the under-13 State Challenge cricket competition.

His most recent achievement was competing at the three-day Graham Gorrel Cup carnival last week.

Playing for the winless Southern Riverina side, Hillier still caught the attention of the Riverina side selectors, selected in the squad that will compete for the Kookaburra Cup in January.

From the three games, he managed figures of 0-29 off seven overs against CAW Country, 2-31 off seven against Murrumbidgee and 2-33 off seven against Northern Riverina.

‘‘I was definitely selected for my bowling,’’ he said.

‘‘I made 22 runs in the first game, but didn’t have much luck with the bat after that.

‘‘I have a practice match with the Riverina squad against Albury High (tomorrow), so that will be a good opportunity to get to know all the other players a bit better.

‘‘I train every Thursday with the Rhinos as well as having a hit in the front yard with Kai and Harry most days.

‘‘I just love cricket and it’s a bit of a family thing for us.’’