The Gap Stalwart Joshua Pope Heads to Ireland for Under-17 Cricket Selections

Joshua Pope, a teenage cricket stalwart from The Gap, is set to compete in the upcoming Under-17 Provincial Championships in Belfast, Ireland. The young all-rounder, currently playing for Valley District Cricket Club, has been selected by Cricket Ireland for their Provincial Carnival—a selection competition—starting July 8.

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Shane Warne connection and legacy

Pope’s journey is particularly noteworthy due to his connection with the late Shane Warne. Growing up in Blackrock, Melbourne, just two blocks away from the cricket legend, Pope, 14, developed a passion for spin bowling inspired by Warne’s iconic style. This influence has shaped Pope into a left-arm wrist spinner known for his aggressive shot-making.

Pope’s trip to Belfast carries additional significance as he will represent the Shane Warne Legacy. The organisation plans to conduct health checks for stadium spectators during the event, commemorating Warne’s game in Belfast 23 years ago.

This initiative aims to raise awareness about heart health, reflecting the legacy Warne’s family has created following his untimely passing.

Joshua Pope prepares for the selection

Before the championships, Pope plans to hone his skills by playing for Ampthill and Cople cricket clubs in the Bedfordshire County Cricket League. This competition has been a starting ground for several English cricket stars.

Nathan Hauritz, Pope’s mentor at Valley District Cricket Club and former Test spinner, expresses confidence in Pope’s skills and mental preparedness for the challenge ahead.

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Pope’s eligibility to play for Ireland stems from his father’s Irish heritage. The young cricketer initiated this opportunity himself, inquiring about the possibility of representing Ireland. This chance arose after Pope narrowly missed the age cut-off for Queensland’s Taverners Under-17s representative competition.

Published 22-June-2024