Australian women's cricketer Sarah Elliott was full of superlatives for the Northern Territory's rising stars after captaining the Australian Cricket Association Masters team to a 13-run win over NT Cricket's Academy side.
Elliott, who averaged almost 48 runs with the bat in her three Tests for Australia and 32 in ODI matches, was left to reflect on her links with NT cricket in the mid noughties and the continued supply of emerging young cricketers in the Top End.

"The young talent up here is very strong and it's been that way for quite a few years,'' she said post match.

"It was terrific to see (Australian white ball cricketer) D'Arcy (Short) back here with the success he's had over the past couple of years, but the Academy was outstanding with bat and ball.
"No doubt we'll see some of these young fellows follow a similar path to D'Arcy and the girls as well, the game is in good hands up here''.

The T20 match at Gardens Oval in Darwin city was historical enough, with the tag of the first Sunday game under lights at the iconic ground alongside it, almost 350 runs scored and the Academy side boasting players aged 16 and under.
The game had everything, including some explosive batting from Darwin Cricket Club juniors Tom Menzies and Will Pilkington, genuine fast bowling from 15-year-old right-arm quick Jaxon Treumer and a trip down memory lane with big hitting left hand bat and former international Mark Cosgrove (58 from 31 balls) for the ACA side.
Menzies (52 from 34 balls) and Pilkington (31 from 21) lit up the arena with an opening partnership of 73. finding the boundary line on several occasions with a series of superb front-foot driving.
Treumer's 135km delivery from around the wicket that clean bowled Short had spectators buzzing when the ACA batted first.
Menzies admitted to a few nerves when he walked out to begin the innings with clubmate Pilkington.
"I was pretty nervous when I got out there and faced Michel Kasprowicz and D'Arcy which added another element to it,'' he said.
"But when I got a couple away with the fast outfield and a bit of dew around I started to have some fun.

"I hope to go down to the Sunshine Coast in the off-season and get a game at a higher level, let's hope things work out that way.''
Former Test paceman Terry Alderman, a long-term ACA member, said the youth on display set all kinds of records for his organisation and their pledge to take the game of cricket to all corners of Australia.

"They (Academy side) are the youngest team we've ever played against since we started playing these type of games matches around the country in 2004,'' Alderman said.

"So 18 years of travelling around Australia and playing an average of three games a year that continue to produce emerging cricketers and provide a fantastic opportunity to get out to communities that don't get anything, is a big positive.

"I'm talking about parts of Australia that are almost forgotten about from a Cricket Australia point of view.''

Alderman's 41 Test matches and 65 ODI's produced a series of highlights. including 83 wickets in the 1981 (42 wickets) and another 41 in the '89 Ashes, both of them on the green fields of England.

"It's what good about our touring,'' he said when reflecting on the hidden young talent in remote areas.
"One of the kids playing in this match came up to meet me when I watched a club game and he was thrilled at the chance.

"I gave him a couple of tips on swing bowling, something that never happened to me as a 16-year-old bowler in Perth.
"Actually I was lucky in my early career. I got (then WA captain) John Inverarity caught at second slip in an A-grade game and he got on the phone to the state selectors and told them he had just been knocked over by a 16yo kid.

"Invers wanted me added to the state quad there and then and as it was, I was in the squad the next week thanks to him.''