Mackay Whitsunday Nitros with the Central Queensland Seamers after the last Bulls Masters T20 Country Challenge final.
Mackay Whitsunday Nitros with the Central Queensland Seamers after the last Bulls Masters T20 Country Challenge final.

How towering spinner may change Nitros’ fortunes

AT JUST 16 years of age, Isaac Borg has impressed plenty in Mackay’s cricket community. The 188cm offspinner has proved himself a key cog in the Magpies A-Grade line up.

Now his development has been accelerated even further, having earned his first selection for the Mackay/Whitsunday Nitros.

The squads for the Bulls Masters Country Challenge were announced this week, and Borg said he was surprised to see his name on the team sheet.

“It’s pretty surreal, I didn’t really expect to be picked (but) I worked hard in pre-season at training,” Borg said.

“From what I’ve heard the comp is pretty good, there’s some really good players among the other teams.

“The experience at a young age will hopefully gain my skills for the future.

“It’ll be a new learning curve, obviously, but I’ll just go in and bowl — do what I’m meant to do.”

The challenge will take place in Bundaberg from October 4 to 6, where Borg is hoping to be welcomed with hard pitches to help the extra bounce his height provides.

Nitros coach Troy Newton said the side, which narrowly lost in last year’s final at the Gabba, missed a spinning option.

But the nucleus of the team has remained the same and will carry some strong form into the competition.

Australia and Queensland Country representative Mitch English powered his way to 123 in the opening game of the A-Grade season, while Walkerston’s Peter Blaik finished unbeaten on 113.

While English was often identified as the key wicket of the side, Newton said the depth of the XI would ensure one man did not define the innings.

“People expect him (English) to go out and smoke a hundred off 60 balls … (but) we bat right down to the bottom,” he said.

“That’s important; we’ve got no one that is a dead set bunny which helps. You have to have guys at 9, 10, 11 who all can rotate the strike.”

Despite featuring in the last three finals, Newton said his side was sticking to an old adage: taking each game at a time.

He said it was a younger side than what the Nitros had typically assembled, but the balance between youth and experience would make them a strong force.

“It’s going to be a big step up from first grade cricket in Mackay, but they’ll work it out — it’s all about learning,” Newton said.

“T20 is funny on the day; last year we got flogged in the first game but came out the next game and flogged the Gold Coast. It’s a weird form, you don’t know from game to game.”

Mackay/Whitsunday Nitros 2019

Mitchell English

Sam Vassallo

Jason Butterworth

Jakob Frierichs

Peter Blaik

Chris Dunn

Mason Kohler

Lane Kohler

Todd Dixon

Isaac Borg

Matthew Wicks

Damien Etherington

Troy Newton (Coach)

Russell English (Manager)

Mick Polzin (Mentor)


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