There wasn’t a lot of top level cricket in Darwin back then and no obvious pathway to a career in the game. I was made aware of that from a pretty young age. I had a lot of people telling me not to waste my talent. Others before me had stayed in the Territory and probably regretted not chasing a state or national career elsewhere.
The wickets up north were great for a kid learning the game. When I was really young, I played for Tracy Village, then I moved to Waratahs. I played there up until the under 17s, including a few games of first grade, and then I played two or three years of first grade with Palmerston.
I was 13 when I made my first grade debut. It was certainly a different experience!
I didn’t get sledged too badly and all the grown-ups were pretty good about it because I was so little. I was batting at No. 11 and just there to fill in numbers. Still, even at such a young age, it was great to be able to test my game against grown men.
These days there is a bit more of a career pathway for players in the Territory.
You still have to move to one of the big states if you want to pursue a first-class career, but coaches are noticing players from the Territory more and monitoring the junior talent coming through.
I knew I wanted to play cricket at a higher level and realised somewhere along the way that that would mean moving. If I stayed in Darwin, I wasn’t going to get anywhere.
I didn’t want to be one of those people who regretted not chasing their dream.
To read more of D'Arcy Short's Player's Voice article, click here.