A world cup on the line
THE carrot dangling at the end of this string is big, juicy and has Sam Daff and Lyam McKay frothing at the mouth.
The Bundaberg softball stars are well aware that the under-19 Australian squad, in which they were selected last week, is being groomed for the 2012 World Junior Championships in Argentina.
In two years these boys will be the right age and, after some top-level coaching and match fitness, at the peak of their powers.
The Australians are no slouches either, gunning for their fifth consecutive championship.
Daff, a specialist fieldsman and lead-off batsman, made the cut in this squad last year.
He was thrilled with the fact he retained his position.
“I guess it means I’m doing something right. I was pretty rapt when I got the nod again,” he said.
The pair represented Queensland at extremely close national titles in Perth.
Despite finishing fourth from five teams, one win would have pushed them into second place.
“It was one of those tight ones, where everyone was pretty equal, and we just didn’t have the results go our way,” McKay said.
“I think we both played pretty well and, at the end of the day, you aren’t going to argue with getting named in the squad.”
Both year 12 students have a clear focus on the Argentinean tournament, and are prepared to do the hard yards between now and then to make it a reality.
“It’s the goal, it really is. When I made this squad I didn’t really know what to say, I was so happy,” Daff said.
Daff (Brothers United) and McKay (Wests Lynx) both star for their local sides each weekend, but also travel to Brisbane regularly to compete and train.
“The comp here is great, especially this year being so close. But doing the trips to Brisbane is worth it, because the special skills coaching and experience you get is invaluable,” Daff said.
They will also play a series of games in Sydney this season under the eye of their under-19 coach.
Daff switched from Souths Sluggers to Brothers United 8 this season when Brothers’ 2009 premiership team split in two.
Since Christmas they have moved from second last to equal second as finals approach.
“I’ve enjoyed the switch so far and hopefully if we keep winning, a finals spot isn’t out of the question,” Daff said.