Mortimer leads Blues at nationals

DAMIEN Mortimer will captain the NSW under-19s team at the national titles in Hobart.

The Denham Court teenager said he was excited about the role, the first time he will lead the Blues at the nationals.

Competition play started yesterday, Tuesday, and continue until Thursday, December 12.

"I played for NSW at last year's titles and we finished fourth, and I am honoured to captain the team this time," Mortimer, 18, said.

"South Australia are the defending champions. They have a good squad and will be hard to beat again."

The Australian under-19s representative batsman started playing grade cricket at 13 with Western Suburbs. It's the same club as Liverpool-born and Australian Test captain Michael Clarke.

Two years ago Mortimer switched to Campbelltown Camden Cricket Club, where he has been a regular first grader the past year after starting out in the lower grades in season 2011/2012.

In all grades with the Ghosts, Mortimer averages 32, with a highest score of 123 made in second grade last season.

Mortimer, who bats at No.3, said captaincy is a responsibility he takes seriously and relishes.

"I like the leadership and one thing about the captaincy is that you have to be switched on for every ball when you are out on the field," Mortimer said.

"I also like the tactical side and decision-making that goes with captaincy.

"I have captained junior representative teams before."

The right-hander came to Campbelltown Camden to link with his personal batting coach Neil D'Costa.

"Damien is coming along well, he's only 18 and will only develop further as a player," D'Costa said.

Apart from club training, Mortimer has three extra sessions a week with D'Costa at the Raby Oval indoor training centre, at the Ghosts' home ground.

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