HE’S arguably the most in-form bowler in Sydney Grade Cricket, and Charles ‘Chuck’ Matthews is not only keen to help Hawkesbury on the field but wants to ensure his off-field contribution is just as influential.
Matthews, who has returned to Hawkesbury after a stint at University of NSW, has taken 15 wickets in the past two games including a rare 10-wickets haul against Parramatta – only the second time it’s been done in the history of first grade for the club.
The Mudgee product said he would also be doing his best to ensure the Hawks retain their talent, which has always been hard to do with the glamour clubs in Sydney doing a good job of luring western Sydney’s best cricketers east.
“We’ve probably struggled to find role models for the juniors.
‘‘We need to keep our juniors because we’re in a re-building stage,” Matthews said.
“I just want to help our juniors out.
‘‘We’ve produced a few Australian players in the last few years and our juniors are coming through but we’ve got to keep them.”
Matthews said he was glad to be back at the club he helped win the Poidevin-Gray Shield in 2005-06, despite the tough start to the season. The Hawks have now won three-straight games thanks mainly to its bowling arsenal.
“We just haven’t been scoring the runs, but we had a tough start to the season when we ran into the top six teams,” Matthews said.
“It’s got that country feel and being from Mudgee that’s good.
‘‘And it was a good challenge to come back and help out.
“I’m enjoying being the leader of the attack with [Shane] Mott and I’ve taken the new ball on with aggression.”
And in a further warning to his opponents, Matthews expects to be at his absolute best in the coming years after getting over a run of stress fractures in his back and front leg.
“I think I’ve been bowling well, probably because I’ve had fewer injuries.
“As a cricketer I think you start peaking at about 28 and 29 and I think I’m peaking now,” Matthews said.