Strabane teenager Aaron flying high in ‘Oz’

Thursday, 1 December 2016

STRABANE cricketer Aaron has been causing a big impression 'Down Under' so far in his stint at Melbourne-based Belvoir Cricket Club in Australia.

Gillespie and Strabane team-mate Ryan Gallagher flew out to Australia two months ago to play for six months. 19-year-old Gillespie went to professional club Belvoir in Victoria, while Gallagher went to Kalgoorie in Western Australia to play for Great Boulder Cricket Club.

And Gillespie has certainly hit the ground running. In seven games so far, the 'Eages' have won five, with Aaron batting in six games. The Strabane teenager has posted impressive figures; 137 runs, 46 overs and eight wickets, and currently holds a batting average of 22.83 and a bowling average of 20.63.

Aaron's fantastic form is further underlined by his current player ranking in the Cricket Albury Wodonga league, where he sits 18th out of 190 players, the second best from the Belvoir club.

Belvoir captain Drew Cameron has labelled the U19 International a "freak" in relation of his extraordinary batting abilities.

"He's 60kg wringing wet, but he can hit the ball around 150 metres. In one innings, he hit 120 off only 55 balls," said Cameron.

Aaron has already been dubbed 'Dizzy' by his new teammates in a nod to former Austrailian fast bowler Jason Gillespie. The Strabane lad's cricketing exploits have even made headlines in the local newspaper, the Border Mail, and he has also featured on the local television stations sports coverage.


'Living the dream'

"He is loving it, he is having the time of his life. He's living the dream as they say!" says Aaron's mother, Anne. "I talk to him almost every day, he's getting on brilliantly.

"The likes of What'sapp comes in handy. I can chat to him easily. Last week, I sent him a photo of the car dashboard when it was -2 degrees. He test me back that he was out on a jetski in 31 degree heat!

"The family he is staying with are amazing. They've taken care of him so well. They have a full-size swimming pool at their house, so Aaron's not complaining!"

Aaron has been able to get some home comforts, as he lives near a shop that sells Irish crisps and chocolate. However, Anne revealed she is sending him out his favourite Haribo sweets.

"Both he and ourselves were so heartbroken when he was leaving. The fact he was going on his own, and he had a very long stopover in Singapore along the way. it was such a relief to hear he had made it to his destination safe and sound."

Aaron studied sports studies in liverpool before deferring his studies to travel with the Ireland U19 team to the World Cup in Bangladesh at the start of the year. "Aaron has travelled quite a bit through cricket, since he was involved with national teams from a young age.

"This time though he was doing it completely on his own. He sought it out himself, and he didn't have the safety of going with a team. This what what he wanted to do for a long time."

Aaron's brother Gary will be joining him for a month after Christmas. "It's fantastic. The boys are very close so it's a nice opportunity for gary to go out and visit."

While Aaron is still a long way away from his return home in April next year, Anne said there is already talk of an offer for him to go out and play for Belvoir next year.

"It's shown how much an impact he's had, but I can't wait to have him home. Strabane need him next year!" laughed Anne.


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