Talented duo have much to chirp about

Parksville's Dane Hasell, left, and James Twiddy will be in West Vancouver July 28-Aug. 1 trying to crack the lineup for the Canadian Western U18 Cricket team. James Clarke photo

PQ News Sports
Being typical teenage boys, they've been known to chirp, but what makes them different is the sport they pursue and the fact they're two of the best junior aged cricket players in B.C.
Bound for the Western Canadian U18 selection camp slated for Hugo Ray Field in West Vancouver July 28-Aug. 1, are Parksville's Dane Hasell, 17, and James Twiddy, 16. Also making the trip are Nanaimo's Nick Borghesan, 15, and two others from Victoria. In fact, 40 of B.C.'s best U18s will take to the pitch for an intense four day camp that includes 14 players from Alberta and Manitoba, all of them vying for one of 13 spots on Team Western Canada's U18 side.
Hasell and Borghesan were in Kitsilano for a prep camp July 7-11 headed up by Canadian National Team coach Steve McKay.
"It was fun," shrugged Hasell above the crack of the bat Wednesday evening at the Arrowsmith Cricket Club's new batting cage where a half dozen of his older ACC teammates had gathered for their weekly practice. "It was good coaching."
Make the cut, and they're off to Toronto in August to compete in a four-day tournament. After that, the Caribbean for more test matches.
Well travelled in the game already, Hasell and Twiddy were selected to make the trip to California with the B.C. U18s for a week long CanAm tournament back in 2001.
The three Islanders are being billeted at a condo in Richmond provided by the Canadian Cricket Council.
All three players, as is the case with nearly all Juniors, took up the game to be with their dads.
Craig Hasell, an Australian by birth, and Andrew Twiddy, British, are both longtime members of the ACC. Oliver Borghesan is another veteran of the sport currently serving as captain of the Nanaimo Mid-Island Cricket Club. Playing for five years already, Dane played his first match for ACC at 13.
As for his teammate, Twiddy, "I've got a picture of him playing at 14 months," points out Luke Downs, one of the founding members of ACC. Twiddy is the youngest player ever to take to the pitch in competition for ACC at 12.
Hasell plays pretty much everything, and has also excelled at hockey, a game he introduced his parents to 12 years ago. He's had calls from the BCHL's Coquitlam Express and Langley Hornets, and was put up for a week long rookie camp with the Saskatchewan Junior. Hockey League's Estevan Bruins earlier this spring. Tuesday's mail brought an invitation to pre-season camp from Princeton.
When it comes to cricket, a gentleman's game that couldn't possibly be any further at the other end of the sporting spectrum than hockey, Hasell is nonchalant.
"I just like the game," Hasell shrugs. "The catching, the fielding, the batting ... there's a lot to it."
"It's a great game," echoes a savvy Twiddy, who also excelled in soccer. "I love it. The people are great, the travel ... (and) the great thing is, the Canadian Cricket Council pays for everything."
Asked if they see themselves continuing on in the sport, Twiddy says 'oh yeah. We're totally committed."
Cricket bats, for the uninformed, are about the same length as baseball bats, but shaped differently, slightly heavier, and made from English Willow.
The balls are hard, made of leather with a cork core.
And in a game so steeped in history and so difficult to understand (this scribe once watched a two-day match that ended in a tie) what is surprising is that the longest running international test match at over 100 years is not England vs Australia - the birthplace of Cricket - but Canada vs the United States.
Team Canada made its first ever appearance in the 30-year-old ICC World Cup this year in South Africa. The Canucks gave much heralded West Indies a run for the money, beat Bangladesh, and saw one of their own score the fastest century (100 runs) in World Cup history.
A record crowd of 32,827 for a cricket match piled into Wanderers Stadium March 26 to see the defending champion Aussies dump India by 125 runs to clinch the Cup.
"They're good kids, great ambassadors for the sport (and) there's a real good opportunity for them there to go on to a higher level, because there's not a lot of juniors out there," ACC's veteran player/coach Chris Goodwin offered on "the lads."
The retired school teacher has played and coached the sport in Australia, England and Canada. Goodwin's book on coaching cricket is considered one of the best.
"They've stuck with it, they have good skills, and they understand the game. It comes down to hard work and practice (but) once they're recognized as a Team B.C. player, they get looked after pretty well."
"There's a lot of (experience) on this club," Twiddy offered from inside the batting cage. "They definitely help us - absolutely. All the time."
If you are curious about this sport, Hasell, Twiddy, and the rest of their ACC teammates are in action at QB Fields this Sunday when they host Comox at noon.

Copyright 2003 Parksville Qualicum News