Former Queanbeyan batsman Henry Hunt put an exclamation mark on what Bluebags legend Peter Solway called a "breakthrough season" today, with a score of 127 against Victoria.
Opening the batting for South Australia, Hunt was one of only two batsman to pass 35 as the Redbacks lost wickets early and, at one point, were 4-52.
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South Australia finished on 9-329 to draw the last Shield match of 2020/21, and Hunt's ton brought his run tally to 628 at an average of 44 for the season.
"I reckon he's had a fantastic season for his second year of first class cricket," Solway said.
"He'll feel pretty comfortable that he's made that opening spot his. He got a hundred today, and I think he'll look back on the season as a bit of a breakthrough for him I think."
One of the most remarkable aspects of Hunt's season was his consistency. In 14 innings, he got a start in 11 and was one half of an imposing opening partnership alongside Jake Weatherald.
Despite the 24-year-old's ability to get his innings going, he struggled to convert. He scored three fifties and two hundreds, but there were also five scores between 20 and 49.
"Henry's getting starts in most games, he'll be pretty keen to push on and get some bigger scores now," Solway said.
"That's an area he'd like to improve, I'd say, is turning those starts into more consistent fifties and hundreds."
Should Hunt manage to turn more of his starts into big scores in 2021/22, Solway said a national call up may be within reach.
"Once you get to first class cricket, you're probably three matches away from putting your name forward to selectors for higher honours," he said.
"There's no reason why he can't go on and play for Australia, he's not that far away."
From the time he started with Queanbeyan roughly five years ago, Hunt has possessed attributes which have carried him through grade cricket to state cricket, including a love for the game, a resolute technique, and mental fortitude.
"He concentrates well, he's determined and enjoys batting," Solway said.
"When he gets a start and gets in, he's hard to get out. His concentration is one of his key strengths and he's got a good all-round game. He can score in all areas and he's got a good head on his shoulders."
Having overseen much of Hunt's development from talented youngster out of Cowra to South Australia's first-choice opening batsman, Solway said his success is a testament to the club's facilities and culture.
"We like to think we played an important role in his grounding and development," he said.
"It's fantastic that we had the facilities to help his cricket. He could bat on good wickets, good outfields, and he could play in an environment that was conducive to improving his cricket."