Australian U19 prospect has a valuable ally
WORLD Youth Cup prospect Harry Wood is thriving on his higher level opportunities as he works to secure his spot in the Australian under 19 team.
He's on a rookie contract with the Queensland Bulls squad and is playing with the Queensland Academy of Sport side on top of his Ipswich/Logan Hornets commitments in the Queensland Premier Grade competition.
As the Laidley-bred allrounder pursues his international goal, he's received plenty of support, including a handy cricketing ally.
His best friend Harry Macoun is also in the Australian under 19 preliminary squad of 28, which is being trimmed for the World Youth Cup after next month's national championships.
The two Harrys are now playing together at the Hornets after Wood invited legspinner Macoun to join the first division team this season.
Although Wood is an Ipswich Grammar School student and Macoun went to Brisbane State High, they forged a strong friendship through their junior careers, especially with the Queensland under 17 side.
"I sort of got him to the Hornets because he's done very well,'' Wood said.
"He felt like he wanted a change as well . . . and wanting to play at a higher level, he thought Ipswich was the best place for that.''
The promising pair will represent the Queensland under 19 side at the Australian championships in Tasmania from December 4-15.
The ICC World Youth Cup is in New Zealand from January 13-February 16, featuring 16 teams.
"I'm not really putting too much pressure on myself,'' Wood, 18, said.
"I'll just keep my focus pretty short-term. Focus on my club form and get a couple of wins for the Hornets would be ideal, and then move forward to the 19s.''
As he prepares to head to Tasmania, Wood is wisely keeping everything in perspective.
"You can't let it play on your mind too much while you're playing,'' the accomplished middle order batsman and fast bowler said.
"It would be an awesome opportunity.''
Wood has also been been playing for the Queensland Academy of Sport side in the Futures League (formerly the Queensland Second XI).
He completed his third Futures League game last Thursday, sharing in Queensland's nail-biting victory over Tasmania at the Gold Coast.
"We won it in the last over,'' Wood said.
"At one point, we thought the bad light was going to beat us. It was a great finish, a really good game.''
Wood made starts in both innings with scores of 20 and 15. Batting at six, he had to get on with the game in the second innings with the conditions threatening to deny Queensland victory.
Wood is also making steady progress after receiving treatment on an ankle injury late last season.
"I got it cleaned out and I'm just sort of maintaining it,'' he said. "It's going okay.''
Under Queensland Cricket restrictions, Wood is allowed to bowl a maximum of 12 overs in a match.
"Hopefully by the end of the season it will be more up towards the 16-18 mark,'' the former IGS First XI captain said.
Queensland's next Futures Leagues match is after Christmas.
The Laidley product said a beneficial part of playing in the QAS team was learning from experienced Bulls cricketers like Ben Cutting, Cameron Gannon and Charlie Hemphrey.
"It was a great experience,'' he said, also enjoying his regular training with the Bulls squad.
"You certainly learn a lot.''
Wood said one of his most pleasing innings this season was scoring 80 for the Hornets in their recent two-day win over Redlands.
Wood brothers save the day
IN his latest game for the Ipswich/Logan Hornets, Harry Wood ensured his team secured a draw against Toombul.
Attempting to chase the 307 runs for victory at Baxter Oval, the Hornets slumped to 6/148 before Harry and his older brother Jack dug in to deny Toombul maximum points.
Harry remained 41 not out with Jack unbeaten on 27.
Senior Hornets player Dan Wilson praised the Wood brothers for their gritty partnership late in the day.
Harry provided the backbone of the innings with the Hornets in a fragile position.
"Harry Wood, for someone that is 18, he's got an incredible ability to score really tough runs for us,'' Wilson said.
"He likes a bit of a scrap. It's not the first time he's batted out a draw for us.
"In the previous game against Redlands, we were in trouble and he and Anthony (Wilson) saw us home, and Jack as well.
"They (Harry and Jack) both have made a real habit of scoring tough runs for us.''