Jack’s Qld Bulls reward creates new path for Ipswich
GROWING up in Laidley with strong Ipswich Grammar School links, Jack Wood is now a trailblazer for the Ipswich region.
His historic selection in the Queensland Bulls squad shows the Ipswich/Logan Hornets pathway is working, ending doubts a regional cricketer can again represent their state.
Wood, 23, is the first one-day and T20 player from the Hornets to receive a full Bulls contract.
For the popular cricketer and his supportive family, it is a deserved reward.
The down-to-earth left-arm wrist spinner and aggressive batsman has stuck to his cricketing task despite not knowing if he could ever secure a Queensland Bulls contract.
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity,'' Wood said.
"It's going to be awesome to work in with those guys that you sort of look up for so long and try and learn from them.
"It has been a tough journey, especially as a wrist spinner.
"There were a lot of tough days and you've got to try and use those tough days to feed that fire to get better I suppose.''
Younger brother and Hornets teammate Harry was glowing in praise for Jack's determination.
"I'm just glad to be on the journey with him for a long time now,'' said Harry, who is also an accomplished all-rounder.
"He's a really good example of resilience.''
The close-knit siblings forged their sporting careers with the Laidley District Cricket Club and at Ipswich Grammar School.
"He was in the Queensland Cricket set-up all the way through and he was forgotten about for a few years and he has just stuck with it,'' Harry said.
Harry said it's often mentally challenging for wrist spinners aged between 17 and 22.
"That is probably the toughest in the sport and just to see him be really resilient, just stick with it and come out the other end of it now and doing really well, we're really proud of him.''
The Wood family celebrated with a little barbecue when Jack was notified about his contract.
Jack appreciated his country and city support.
"It's a good culture there at Laidley and Ipswich now as well,'' he said.
Hornets coach Aaron Moore has also watched Jack's development from a promising country cricketer to Premier Grade and Queensland Second XI side to making the Bulls squad.
"It's huge mate. Extremely proud,'' Moore said. "Especially knowing Jack since he was 12 and seeing him grow through IGS as well.
"It's a big thrill.''
Moore said Jack's call-up could inspire other young regional cricketers striving to play at higher levels.
"There's always been chat around the place that you'll never play for Queensland from Ipswich,'' Moore said.
"It's just making a pathway on what we're trying to build.
"People don't have to go elsewhere. He's broken down that barrier.
"It's really exciting.''
Having caught up with Jack on Tuesday, the 2019/20 Queensland Premier Cricket coach of the year was thrilled to see the Hornets player settling well into Bulls life.
"He just loves life basically,'' Moore said.
"He's going real well. He just looks lean and super fit at the moment.''
Jack has been training five days a week with the Bulls squad for the past month waiting for a decision on when a new national competition season can start.
"They've been running us pretty hard there. It's been a good challenge,'' Jack said.
Jack's inclusion is the Bulls squad comes after some impressive performances for Queensland's Second XI last season and for his consistent efforts with the Hornets.
Jack and Harry often led the way for the Hornets in reaching last season's Queensland Cricket competition final for the first time. Jack took 28 wickets during his successful season for the Hornets.
The apprentice electrician said taking eight wickets for the Queensland 2nd XI was a turning point. That featured a match winning 4-79 against South Australia in Adelaide.
Jack is also a member of the QAS T20 squad that performed solidly on the Sunshine Coast.
"I'm just so excited to work hard and try and benefit my game, keep improving,'' the focused Hornets cricketer said.