Young cricketing star Hamish Case endured a roller-coaster summer on and off the field that will stay with him for the rest of his life.
It all started with Case making his SACA Premier Cricket First Grade debut alongside Australian star Travis Head and finished it by representing South Australia as a bottom age player in the National Championships last month.
The 16-year-old found himself facing the best Under 19 cricketers in the country and showed no fear.
Despite the on-field results not being outstanding for South Australia, Case said he was immersed by the entire experience.
“It was crazy,” he said.
“Some of the boys from the Australian Under 19 World Cup team were there, so it was good to see how they went about it, especially our captain Isaac Higgins.
“How they think about the game is completely different, so that was a big takeaway and it was just good to be at the highest level.
“I had never been worried to face a fast bowler in my life before, but up there they were bowling 135kph, so your fitness and concentration levels had to be at the top.”
After not getting a hit in South Australia’s convincing start to its campaign against New South Wales Under 17’s, Case was thrown into the cauldron in his first appearance at the crease.
Chasing a formidable target of 260, the Mount Gambier batter had his back against the wall walking in at 5/96.
Despite the team’s batters and hopes fading fast, Case proved his class by taking the game on and constructing an eye-catching innings against the grain.
He sparked some life into the run chase by striking three boundaries and two maximums.
The innings may have only lasted 34 minutes, but Case left a big impression, smashing the top score of 36 and departing as one of the few South Australians to trouble their opponents before falling 74 runs short of glory.
Case said to play so well in his first innings of the tournament was a big confidence booster, but admitted it got off to a strange start.
“I am always nervous no matter what game it is, but there were some extra nerves,” he said.
“I had a hit before I went out to bat and started unstrapping my gear when I got back to the rooms and then two seconds later one of my mates ran in and said ‘you are in mate’.
“So it was a pretty funny start, but it was fun out there.
“Considering we were chasing a big target, I had a little bit of responsibility to get the score rolling.
“I was striking at around 140 at one stage, so I proved to myself I could do it at that level which gave me heaps of confidence.”
Despite only registering scores of 0 and 4 in his final two innings, Case departed the championships as an improved cricketer from the experience and it finished his “favourite” season.
The young right-hander shot himself into selection contention by piling on the runs for Tee Tree Gully.
In the space of three days Case slammed two centuries covered in emotion in the competitive Under 18 Shield competition, while he went even bigger against the big boys.
Batting at the important number three position against a Prospect 2nd Grade attack featuring another Mount Gambier youngster Connor Prior, Case went big with a peerless 147 off just 126 balls.
However, these remarkable highs were also surrounded by one of the toughest moments in Case’s life.
As Hamish’s cricketing career continued to gather momentum in Adelaide, he had to come to terms with the tragic passing of his father Heath, which was felt all around the Limestone Coast.
Incredibly in just the second game returning following his father’s passing, the youngster struck his first Under 18 Shield century and looked to the heavens upon reaching the milestone.
Even though Heath is no longer around, Hamish said he always feels the support whenever he is at the crease.
“I have a routine where when I walk out to bat, I take a squat down at the boundary rope then take a step back and look up to the sky,” he said.
“In that moment I say ‘I am playing for you today’.
“I know he will back me in every innings and I play for him no matter what.”
After a summer like no other, Case said he could not thank his support network enough as he entered a winter full of training and preparation.
“I have been really lucky because mum has always pushed me and backed me as my biggest help,” he said.
“I could also not thank Shannon Tubb enough for all of the work he has put into me.
“He has improved my game through my whole cricketing career ever since I have met him.
“My mate Harry Matthias also because he would take me to trainings at Adelaide Oval every second morning even though I did not want to get out of bed sometimes.
“So I thank them to the moon and back.”