Stand-in Wests/UC captain Joe Cooke has declared 15-year-old opening batsman Matthew Gilkes one of the most exciting prospects he has seen in the Cricket ACT first-grade competition.
After scoring 97 in his first-grade debut against Weston Creek Molonglo last weekend, the Ulladulla product rose to the occasion again with a classy knock of 80 in his side's Douglas Cup match against unbeaten ladder leaders Eastlake at Kingston Oval on Saturday.
Gilkes displayed all of his skill on a seam-friendly pitch, getting assistance from Cooke (52) to lead Wests/UC to 225.
Eastlake will resume next Saturday at 2-38.
Gilkes represented the ACT/NSW Country team at the under-17 national championships and completed the remarkable feat of scoring a century and taking a hat-trick in the same game while captaining the under-16 Ulladulla team in November last year.
Cooke - who is leading this round as Wests/UC while skipper Ben Oakley recovers from an elbow injury - said Gilkes had some serious talent.
"He's got the application, got the temperament and got the skill to be as good as he wants," Cooke said.
"I don't think I've seen too many kids that age be able to execute and apply at that level.
"You see some who have the skill, but not necessary apply themselves and vice versa, but he hits the ball so cleanly and can bat for long periods of time, which is pretty hard to find in a kid that age."
Gilkes faced a quality Eastlake bowling attack featuring ACT Comets representatives Josh Bennett (2-33), Vele Dukoski (2-61) and Michael Spaseski (0-34).
Meanwhile, half centuries to PNG international Assad Vala (72) and Tim Coggan (59 not out) helped North Canberra Gungahlin to 6-267 at stumps in its match against Weston Creek Molonglo at Stirling Oval.
Teenage leg-spinner Mac Wright was the pick of the bowlers with 3-93 while Mathew Wheadon chipped in with 2-37.
Both sides are battling to make the finals, with Weston Creek holding down fourth spot on 14 points ahead of Tuggeranong (12), ANU (eight), Norths (eight) and Ginninderra (six).
Honours were shared on the opening day of the match between Tuggeranong and Queanbeyan at Chisholm Oval.
Dean Solway held Queanbeyan's innings together with 50 while Chris Van Der Spek (3-36), Luke Ryan (3-40) and Gareth Wade (3-66) shared nine wickets between them.
In response, Tuggeranong was 3-39 at stumps, with Guy Gillespie picking up 2-8.
An unbeaten 64 from 69 balls from Josh Hogan propelled ANU to a competitive 179 in its match with Ginninderra at ANU North Oval.
Ginniderra was reduced to 3-29 at stumps, Matt Edwards taking 3-8.
Douglas Cup: North Canberra Gungahlin 6-267 v Weston Creek Molonglo at Stirling Oval. Queanbeyan 172 v Tuggeranong 3-39 at Chisholm Oval. Wests/UC 225 v Eastlake 2-38 at Kingston Oval. ANU 179 v Ginninderra 3-29 at ANU North Oval.