Jono Dean backs brother Blake on The Southpaw Project

Sport. Douglas Cup final at Kippax Oval between Weston Creek/Molonglo and Wests/UC. Weston Creek players, brothers Jono Dean, left and Blake Dean. March 22nd.The Canberra TimesPhotograph by Graham Tidy. Photo: Graham Tidy The Cricket ACT finals series is always an exciting time for Weston Creek Molonglo batsman Jono Dean, but this year there’s a bit of a hollow feeling.
Nanjing Night Net

His brother Blake isn’t there alongside him.

Creek are “hurting” and looking to right the wrongs of last season’s Douglas Cup grand final defeat in a three-day semi-final against Ginninderra starting on Friday.

But they are without a former Cricket ACT player of the year with Blake Dean deciding to forego a year in first grade to experiment with “The Southpaw Project”.

Right-handed Blake Dean committed to playing the entire season as a left-hander, averaging over 30 in second grade with a top score of 85* from 58 balls.

The former Sydney Thunder all-rounder even cracked Creek’s first grade side as a left-hander for two games after working on his game since winter.

All the while his progress has been documented in The Southpaw Project, which is tracking the mental and physical change a player goes through to try and “make it” in cricket.

A 44-second Facebook video of him switching between left and right-handed in the nets has been viewed over 27,000 times.

The goal is to be able to take that skill – as well as bowling spin with both arms – and get back to the highest level.

Eventually Blake Dean wants to see players doing it regularly – his early success shows “anything is possible in cricket”.

There’s no doubt his input has been missed for Creek in first grade and the ACT Comets in the Futures League, but Jono Dean can’t wait to see how far his brother goes with it.

“I’m his brother, I’ve always supported him in whatever it is he wants to achieve and whatever he wants to do,” Jono Dean said.

“Initially I was quite disappointed because I wanted to have him playing cricket next to me, being not only my brother but being the class player and exciting player he is.

“He’s been a huge loss for us at club level and especially at the Comets level as well. I’m trying to back him in as best as I can as his brother.”

Adelaide Strikers batsman Jono Dean tested himself against his brother on a baseball field as they batted left and right-handed.

Jono felt “awkward” and says he “looked horrible and felt horrible” batting left-handed, but Blake looked at ease.

“I don’t think the comparison was about that, it was more about the fact that it was opening people’s eyes to Jono is a Big Bash player, he’s the best player in Canberra,” Blake Dean said.

“Then I’m trying to show something different. It’s not something that is easy that anyone can do. You’ve actually got to train hard for it.

“There’s not many players who get to play professional cricket, and it’s not like when you’re playing first grade or for the ACT Comets you’re looked after.

“I’m training this two times a week, imagine if I could do it five times a week.”

Meanwhile, minor premiers Tuggeranong host reigning champions Wests-UC at Chisholm Oval in the other semi-final.

CRICKET ACT DOUGLAS CUP

Semi-finals: Three-day matches beginning Friday – Weston Creek Molonglo v Ginninderra at Stirling Oval. Tuggeranong Valley v Wests-UC at Chisholm Oval. Games start at 11am.

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