There will be a familiar face to Derbyshire County Cricket League followers when the first Ashes test gets underway in Brisbane this week.
Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft was a regular in Denby CC’s side back in 2013 when he first came to England to aid his development whilst also playing for Western Australia, whom he still represents.
Bancroft, now 25-years-old, scored over 1,000 runs for Denby in his time there before returning home, and having impressed in recent months is set to make his Test debut during the Ashes series.
For those who remember his time at Denby, Bancroft’s call-up has come as no surprise.
Club chairman Dave Cherry and his family had Bancroft stay at their home for the six months he was in England and Cherry says he became very much part of their lives.
“We’d involve him in everything from family barbecues to our regular Friday night Chinese meal - the latter being something he wasn’t sure about at first due to his professional approach but having scored a century the day after his first meal, he was more assured!” said Cherry.
“He played all season for us and made a huge difference, to the point that when he was called back to Australia and missed our last three games, we dropped a couple of positions in the table such was the momentum we lost with his departure.
“We’re so pleased for him. He had one focus when he was here and knew what he’d have to do to achieve it, so to see him now called up for the Ashes squad is fantastic.”
Cherry says that Bancroft’s professionalism stood out during his time with Denby and rubbed off on other members of the squad.
He said: “He’d run from Heanor to Denby all the time and was dedicated to his fitness and preparation. That in turn inspired others to take similar attitudes to their game.
“He’d let nothing get in the way of his goal and his desire to get to the next level. Others would love being around him and I don’t know of anyone who had a bad word to say about him, aside from perhaps a few bowlers he faced!
“He’s stayed in touch with us and we had a meal out with him last year when he was with Gloucestershire and they played in Leicester. He said then that he had work to do to get in the international reckoning but his form quickly picked up and the runs have kept coming for him.”
Cherry says he expects Bancroft to open the batting for Australia alongside David Warner, but remains patriotic when it comes to wishing his friend well, adding: “We hope he does well and gets a century - as long as England win!”