Almost every spare minute Goulburn teen Callum Smith has is dedicated to cricket. Whenever Callum isn't at school, he's almost certainly playing, training or watching the game.
His dedication was rewarded recently when the 15-year-old was named as one of 13 recipients of a Ray Harvey Sports Foundation grant.
The grant allocated a share of $2950 to junior athletes to ease financial burdens of playing representative sport.
It is the second time in a year that Callum has been awarded the grant, which his mother, Rachel, said was enormously helpful. "It is a big help," Mrs Smith said. "All we do is travel, so it's a little bit extra to cover the costs."
'All we do is travel' is no exaggeration. Mrs Smith estimated that Callum and family had been on the road to Canberra or Sydney five to six days per week.
In 2019, Callum was selected for the Cricket NSW performance academy, where he undertook national-level testing. He also plays for North Sydney in the AW Green Shield, the premier competition for Under 16 boys in Sydney.
He made the ACT Comets regional academy and the 2019 NSW u19 Combined Catholic Colleges team for the NSW All-Schools Championships.
He plays second-grade cricket for Queanbeyan, and represented the u15 ACT Comets at the 2019 Australian Indoor Cricket Nationals, after which he was named in the u15 Australian All-Stars Indoor Merit team.
Along with his metropolitan cricket duties, Callum has played for the Southern Tablelands in the u16 ACT Southern Districts and the Elite u19 competitions.
This would be an impressive resume for any teenage cricketer, but his achievements are all the more remarkable considering he came to cricket aged 10.
Having played rugby as a child, for some years Callum balanced basketball and cricket at representative levels. But once his cricketing commitments began to pile up, Callum's parents asked him to choose between the two, and the young fast-bowler did not hesitate. Cricket won the day, and Callum has not looked back since. He "loves it," Mrs Smith said. "If he's not doing school work he's watching it on the telly. There's a game of cricket on everywhere at any time. He's just determined and dedicated ... he'd go to the nets every day if he could."
It is this determination and commitment that Mrs Smith hopes will see her son continue his rapid climb in the representative ranks. "He doesn't do anything by halves. He's driven and focused," Mrs Smith said.
He hopes to qualify for the Bradman Cup, where he wants to represent the ACT Southern Zone, and he hopes to once again qualify for the NSW u19 CCC team.
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