While Australian batsman Aaron Finch starred in his debut Test with scores of 62 and 49, Tathra stalwart Adam Blacka recounts twice dismissing the stocky right-hander.
The pair’s first face to face meeting was during an U17 national championships, a tournament that featured a string of current Test players.
Finch was good and he definitely knew it.Tathra captain Adam Blacka
It was a time when currently suspended star batsman Dave Warner was a leg-spinning number nine batsman, and Blacka was the team’s number three bat and first change seamer.
Finch was captain of the Victorian squad and “just starting to go”, before NSW captain Moises Henriques strolled over to first-change bowler Blacka with some tactical advice.
“He said to set two back on the hook and to bowl a full, slower ball outside off,” the 31-year-old said.
“I bowled him an off-cutter and he hit it right up in the air and Jackson Bird fumbled it a bit but caught the ball.”
As Finch headed for the pavilion Blacka “gave him a spray”, telling the “big gun” to “sit over there and reload for the next game”.
“Finch was good and he definitely knew it. He was the biggest, most arrogant guy I’d ever met,” Blacka said with a laugh.
The two were selected in a strong Australian squad alongside Usman Khawaja, John Hastings and Matthew Wade.
“It was the right age to go on and make the Australian team because players like Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer were retiring,” Blacka said.
Their final meeting was at North Sydney Oval during the U19 national championships, and Blacka was one of three NSW players moved to the ACT to strengthen the squad.
“Finch bombed me for a couple of big sixes. One over the top of my head and then he hit a bouncer over the square leg boundary,” he said.
“I eventually got him caught at gully when he top edged a cut shot. I definitely said a few words, but I can’t remember what I said.”
In the same competition Blacka gained some satisfaction when he clean bowled his former captain Henriques for 67 after Henriques had dismissed him earlier in the day for 65.
“He was definitely the number one player in our age group at the time,” Blacka said.
Blacka said it was the consistency of the current Test players throughout their careers that set them apart from other talented juniors.
“My dad always pushed me to play the highest grade I could at a young age, and I think a few kids miss out on that nowadays,” he said.
“Players like Chris O’Brien at Tathra were really supportive, they taught me everything. If you learn from the older guys you’ll get better and better.”
Blacka will captain the 1st Division Tathra side on Saturday when they kick off the 2018/19 season against Eden.