WHEN Corey Mark arrived at Sydney's Olympic Park to trial for the New South Wales Deaf and Hard of Hearing team only to discover the session had been cancelled, he feared his chance to represent his state had gone with it.
But as it turned out, the Bathurst cricketer had already done enough to impress. He will spend next week in Geelong competing at the National Cricket Inclusion Championships (NCIC).
"I show up, but there was no-one there. I had no data on my phone to check, they had sent an email, but I didn't see it ... I got the whole net to myself," Mark said of the trial, which was cancelled due poor air quality.
"I spoke to the manager and said what was happening? I asked if they cancelled the trial could I still get a spot in the team. He said 'I am quite happy with you, so I put you in the team'."
The coach of the Lithgow team said 'Do you want to play for Lithgow full-time?', so I said 'Yeah sure'. They paid for my rego and everything.
It was Mark's good record which got him the nod as one of four debutants in the NSW deaf side.
Last summer he was part of the Bathurst High team which reached the semi-finals of the Alan Davidson Shield, while his efforts in the Bathurst District Cricket Association's president's cup competition included a 73-run second wicket partnership.
This season in second grade for Rugby Union, he has scored 148 runs at an average of 29.6 to be ranked 10th on the leading scorers' list. His best effort thus far is a 40 against Bathurst City.
In the Bathurst District Junior Cricket Association, the 17-year-old made the switch to play for Lithgow in the opens competition. He has impressed in that too.
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"One of my mates who I played with, he messaged me to ask if I wanted to play with Lithgow because they needed more players. I said 'Yeah sure'," Mark said.
"I played my first game for them in Bathurst and it was against my old Pat's team, but I got my first 50 - 52 not out - against my old team.
The NCIC will not only be Mark's first representative cricket experience, but the highest level of sport he has played overall. His previous best was as hockey goalkeeper for the under 18 Bathurst side at last year's state championships - a role in which he excelled.
"I've been playing cricket since I was five, I started off playing for St Pat's and now I play for Rugby Union in second grade," Mark said.
"I am excited, it will be good cricket."
Mark was presented with his 2020 NCIC cap on Wednesday afternoon at the Big Bash League match between Sydney Thunder - the team he supports - and Hobart Hurricanes.
He will proudly wear it in Geelong as he tries to help NSW win its maiden deaf NCIC title. He will play Twenty20 format games against defending champions South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland.
"South Australia won it last year, they are trying to go back-to-back. I think they have got the same team as last year, so that will be a pretty hard game," he said.
The NCIC runs January 13-17.
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