Jaycob Curtling is making a big impact in his second season at Armitage Bridge.
The 21-year-old Kiwi works in the family import business in Auckland, but the decision to export his own cricket talents has proved a boon down the Big Valley.
The man from Birkenhead City Cricket Club has hit 263 runs in 10 innings (one not out) and added 18 wickets with his off-spin, at a cost of just 11.94 each.
“It definitely helped me being here last year, because I was able to slip straight back in knowing exactly what I could do,” said Curtling, who played for Auckland up to Under 19 and was on the verge of the A side at Eden Park.
“I feel like I gel well with the lads, I know my role in the side and it’s gone well for us so far.
“It’s been a little bit of a change coming into the top section, because you don’t face quite so many bad balls as a batsman, and people don’t throw their wickets away as much as lower down, but I think we’ve coped well and everyone is very positive.”
Clubmate Dylan Steyn has joined him this time – Curtling holds an EU passport – and they are both enjoying the environment.
“The Drakes is a good format with two up and two down, so there is always something to play for wherever you are in the table,” he said.
“We have both played in the premier competition back home and, while our club went down a section, we have a very good young side and we are very hopeful for the future.
“I’m still hoping to progress my game and hopefully get on the radar for Auckland – that’s definitely an ambition.
“All I can aim to do is score good runs and get my name up there, and I definitely enjoy playing here.
“There are a lot more supporters at games than we get back home, and it’s brilliant here because we are such a family-orientated club.
“I think we have already shown we can compete with the very best and we don’t take any game for granted.
“We are all looking forward to playing Delph in the Sykes Cup, too, and while that will be tough, I do think we surprise people. We are an unknown side to them, and that could be an advantage to us.”