Maitland under-14 cricket coach Alex Seamer does not hesitate to sing the praises of young star Joe Hancock as one of the best young all-rounders he has seen.
There's plenty to praise with the recently turned 14-year-old making two centuries, including a career-high 178, in representative ranks this season and many believing his pace bowling is the equal of his batting.
Seamer said Hancock was probably the best all-round player to come through the Maitland junior ranks in the past decade.
“That includes Will Fort. Will is an exceptional young cricketer who has represented his country, but I think Joe shades him as an all-rounder,” Seamer said.
“They are both great batsman, but Joe is also an excellent fast bowler and top fielder.
“He can manage an innings and raise the tempo. He made his 100 off 115 balls and scored the next 78 off 33.”
But what makes Seamer so confident in signalling the youngster out is Hancock's humility and ability to deal with scrutiny and expectations.
The similarities and comparisons with prodigiously talented Paterson teenager and Australian under-17 and 19 representative Fort apply in talent but also level-headed natures.
"Even when Joe has a sensational game he is very much part of the team,” Seamer said.
Hancock said after making the Central North team to play at the Country NSW Championship and then being selected to play with the Northern Country Sixers at the state challenge, his goal is to make the under-15 Country NSW/ACT team next season.
"This is my best season. I've been training really hard, pushing myself in games and see what I can achieve," Hancock said.
"I'm trying to improve my bowling as much as I can, to be an all-rounder.
"I really want to train as hard as I can and get to the highest level I can. My goal is ultimately to make a Test 100 that would be absolutely awesome."
Hancock ranks his ability to bat for long periods as one of his chief assets..
"After every ball I try to look away. Sometimes I try to find the furthest thing away or maybe someone in the crowd. I will go and talk to my teammate after every over," he said.