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Jake Weatherald: ‘Playing for Australia is the ultimate goal’

Originally from Darwin, Jake Weatherald moved to Adelaide as a teenager to attend Prince Alfred College, spending his secondary schooling days “playing cricket, footy and chasing girls”.

Almost 10 years later, the dashing left-handed batsman is now a staple in the South Australia Redbacks and Adelaide Strikers sides, and he went One on One with Grady Hudd to talk about his rise through the Sheffield Shield and Big Bash League ranks.

PHOTO: SACA Media

Grady Hudd: Can you start by taking me back to your early years? How did you get into cricket?

Jake Weatherald: I started when I was in Darwin.

So, I was born in Darwin, then I started playing cricket when I was about eight because of another South Australian cricketer, Tom Andrews.

I was good mates with him at school, his dad was the coach of Darwin Cricket Club at the time so I just went along with him and we started playing juniors together, under 11s, and ever since then we just kept playing.

I played junior cricket at Darwin Cricket Club until I was about 14, and played my first A grade game when I was about 14.

Then, my parents sent me down to boarding school at Prince Alfred College when I had just turned 15, and I spent three years there.

I spent one year at the boarding house playing cricket there with the firsts, and then moved out of the boarding house and continued to play cricket with PAC Old Scholars’ A team when I finished school.

From there, I moved on to Sturt Cricket Club.

I played there until I was about 20, and then from there I moved to Adelaide Uni when I was 21 for more of a role as a keeper/batter.

I then got picked up and contracted by South Australia.

So, that’s my journey in terms of where I’ve come from.

GH: Doing your schooling at Prince Alfred College, was that a pretty good grounding for your cricket? What was the cricket program like there, and how did that help lay the foundations for your cricket?

JW: It was really good.

At the time we had a really strong side.

We had Kelvin Smith, myself, Tom Andrews – we had three guys who now play state cricket playing that one year.

We had a guy called Peter Williams who played a lot of cricket for Port Adelaide Cricket Club.

He was really, really big in my development there, he, sort of, got me in line.

I wasn’t the most serious cricketer going around in terms of what I wanted to do.

I wanted chase girls, play football, play cricket, I wanted to do everything under the sun, and he, sort of, said ‘if you want to play professional cricket you need to do this extra stuff’.

So, later on in my years (at PAC) I knuckled down and made sure I was doing the right things, and preparing well for games and actually making runs consistently, which I started doing at the back end of my school playing days.

Being from the Territory, everything is pretty low key up there, so coming down to South Australia and going to a private school like Prince Alfred College was a big difference, just in terms of education and stuff like that.

It changed very dramatically how seriously I took school – most of the time I didn’t rock up to class in Darwin.

WAYNE ‘FLIPPER’ PHILLIPS REFLECTS ON A LIFE FILLED WITH CRICKET

Being in Adelaide, everyone actually went to class and took it seriously.

So, everything became a bit more serious, and if you wanted to be the best the pool was so much bigger in South Australia compared to what it was in Darwin, so everything was a lot more competitive.

Being at Prince Alfred College, and being amongst so many other good cricketers, it really made a big difference.

GH: So, did you start as a keeper-batsman when you moved to Sturt?

JW: I played my first C grade game when I was 16 as a keeper-batter and then I played A grade when I was 17, and I was a batter at that stage.

I kept a couple of games in A grade, but everyone said I needed to stick with my batting because I couldn’t catch them, so it worked out pretty well in the end.

I was always keen on being a keeper-batter, and that’s why I left Sturt to join Adelaide Uni because I wanted to keep and bat, and play a higher level of cricket.

I thought I could keep in the T20s and one-dayers and do a pretty good job, and wouldn’t have to keep in the four-day stuff.

That never came to fruition, but going to Uni was probably the best thing for me.

Cameron Borgas, who was a Sturt legend, I went across with him.

I worked really closely with him, he was a very close mentor of mine, so it worked really well.

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Grady grew up in Bordertown in the state’s South East, around 10 minutes from the Victorian border, and is a Geelong Cats tragic and a lover of sports. Grady has worked in the journalism field for more than six years at a number of regional newspapers. He plays cricket for Trinity Old Scholars, and doesn’t mind teeing it up at some of the fantastic golf courses scattered across Adelaide and its surrounding regions.