Stark makes his mark
TO SAY Justin Stark bowled well at last weekend's North Queensland Championships would be an understatement.
The Clermont fast bowler starred for the championship-winning Central Queensland under-17 outfit, taking 3/8 off eight overs in the final match against Far North in Mackay on Sunday.
Stark's effort not only helped to secure wins in all three matches over the course of the carnival, he also cemented himself a place in the NQ representative side which will take on South Queensland in about three weeks time.
CQ under-17 coach Greg Slatter from Gladstone had nothing but praise for the promising right-hander.
"He was excellent - a first-class performance," Slatter said.
"He bowled really well for us and should go a long way."
Stark was one of a healthy field of six Central Highlands cricketers representing the region in the under-17 and under-19 age divisions.
Emerald's Dan Russell certainly made his presence known to selectors, with 64 and 30 run contributions with the bat for the CQ under-17s over the course of the carnival.
NQ selectors said the 16-year-old youngster was right in the money for selection and will benefit from his extra year in the under-17 division, which he is eligible for.
Stark, meanwhile, was making his mark wherever he went, taking a further four wickets during earlier championship clashes with Mackay Whitsunday and Tropical North representative teams.
Coach Slatter found it hard to fault the young paceman's bowling spells.
"The worst he went for was about three (runs) an over," Slatter said.
"His line and length was spot on - the batsmen found him really hard to score off."
While Stark was quickly making a name for himself in the under-17s, Emerald Brothers' bowler Cameron Keene was felling wickets at an equally rapid rate for the CQ under-19s.
Keene took 4/41 in the clash with Tropical North, backed by a superb batting display under pressure by Rolleston's Grant Wells with 54 runs not out, and Brothers' all-rounder Jason King, who made handy contributions with both bat and ball.
Their combined efforts helped clinch the CQ under-19 side victories in their final two matches of the series. The Central Highlands junior representative contingent is said to be one of the largest the region has fielded in CQ teams in a number of years. When this next generation of stars links with the wealth of experience already existing in CH's playing ranks, the prospects look strong for local teams heading into inter-association matches against Rockhampton later this month.