Valley Raptors first draft pick Harry Wood, from Laidley, is fortunate to play with his home team for a second season in a row as part of the DDBBL. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL
Valley Raptors first draft pick Harry Wood, from Laidley, is fortunate to play with his home team for a second season in a row as part of the DDBBL. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

Top draft pick excited to be chosen by local club for T20

HARRY Wood almost threw away the game he loved two years ago, but a change in mindset ended up earning him the first pick of the DDBBL draft.

Wood, from Laidley, was secured as the first pick of the Darling Downs Bush Bash League by the Lockyer Valley’s very own Valley Raptors.

While he would have been happy playing for any team, the 21-year-old said it “felt right” to be representing the Lockyer Valley in the sport he loves.

Last season, the Raptors had second pick, and Wood was chosen for the Lockyer Valley team.

“This season they had number one pick, and I had my fingers crossed that OB (Ian O’Brian) would look after me and pick me again,” Wood said.

Valley Raptors first draft pick Harry Wood, from Laidley, is fortunate to play with his home team for a second season in a row as part of the DDBBL. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL
Valley Raptors first draft pick Harry Wood, from Laidley, is fortunate to play with his home team for a second season in a row as part of the DDBBL. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

Wood, a highly credentialed player, has five seasons of experience with the Ipswich Hornets under his belt, as well as multiple games with the Queensland second-11 side.

After finishing school at Ipswich Grammar, Wood was offered a professional contract but said it came with a lot of pressures.

“I kind of forgot why I started playing cricket to begin with,” he said.

“It was a huge learning curve for me.”

But two years on, Wood’s mindset has changed, and he focuses on why he started playing cricket to begin with.

“The last couple of seasons’ I’ve gone back to why I love playing, and that’s playing with my mates and enjoying each other’s successes,” he said.

“I still have aspirations to play for Queensland, but I’ve trained my mind to not focus on that too much and instead play the game and have fun – the rest will take care of itself.”

The Valley Raptors are currently sitting on top of the table, having won both games at a home-ground advantage double header at the weekend.

Valley Raptors first draft pick Harry Wood, from Laidley, is fortunate to play with his home team for a second season in a row as part of the DDBBL. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL
Valley Raptors first draft pick Harry Wood, from Laidley, is fortunate to play with his home team for a second season in a row as part of the DDBBL. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

If the team can improve its fielding skills, Wood says they will be finals contenders.

“Our strength is our batting, we bat quite deep, and we’ve got some power in the back half of our batting line up,” he said.

“Our bowling is strong, not as strong as our batting, and going off the first game our fielding needs some improvement because it probably cost us the game – we dropped a couple catches.”

He said the DDBBL twenty20 series was the shake up regional cricket needed to boost the sport’s participation numbers.

The concept, which encourages big hits and a fast-paced game has been welcomed by local teams.

“It’s brought a whole new audience. There was a bit of a stigma attached to cricket where it was long, dragged out and boring,” he said.

“It’s exciting – everyone likes to see sixes.”

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