The Big Bash’s distinct PSA roots

On the eve of the BBL 13 Final, contested between the Sydney Sixers and the Brisbane Heat, we reflect on how much the alumni of PSA schools have influenced the competition over the past two seasons. Undeniably, there is a distinct PSA flavour with no less than 16 PSA Alumni featuring in BBL13, and over the years many more old boys have gone on to achieve personal and team success in the BBL.

Unsurprisingly, the Perth Scorchers have the strongest PSA representation, with an astonishing 50% of the 18 squad members hailing from PSA schools. Another astonishing statistic is that PSA alumni account for roughly 10%* of total players in the BBL! For the PSA boys on the hunt for silverware, the best opportunity was with the Perth Scorchers. The defending champions were looking to go back-to-back-to-back this year but ended up falling short against a strong Adelaide Strikers side in the knockout final.

To see the impact the old PSA students have had on the competition, last year’s final is a perfect place to start. BBL 12’s Final was a thrilling match, which saw the game go right down to the wire. The Scorchers looked to be in trouble midway through their innings. Chasing 175, they slipped to 3-54 before Christ Church Grammar School (CCGS) alumni and Perth Scorchers Captain, Ashton Turner, hit 53 off 32 in a Man of the Match performance. In one final twist, Turner was run out, leaving the Scorchers in trouble with 39 runs needed off the last 18 balls. Unlikely heroes Nick Hobson, of Scotch College and Cooper Connolly saw the Scorchers home, with Hobson hitting a six and a four to bring the Scorchers their fifth Big Bash League title.

Throughout the BBL12 season, Aaron Hardie, of Aquinas College, was a highlight with the bat, scoring 460 runs, the most ever by a Perth Scorcher in a season. Captain Ashton Turner and opener Cameron Bancroft also from Aquinas College, both finished in the top 10 in the competition for runs, as did Hobart Hurricanes batsman and former Scotch College student, Tim David.

This season the Scorchers boasted a strong line-up once again. They managed to keep the majority of their title-winning list from last season, while adding two local rookies to their squad; Hamish McKenzie and Liam Haskett, who were both PSA students, having attended Scotch College and Christ Church Grammar School respectively. Along with a host of local talent, they also signed overseas players Zac Crawley and Stephen Eskinazi, who is another alumnus of CCGS.

Dealing a blow to the reigning champions chances of going back-to-back was the absence of Australian Test players Mitch Marsh of Wesley College and Cameron Green of Scotch College, as well as the departure of opener Cameron Bancroft, who moved to the Sydney Thunder.

However, it’s not just the Perth Scorchers who boast a number of former PSA students on their list, with four other teams also featuring PSA Alumni. Nathan Coulter-Nile of Aquinas College, Joel Paris of Scotch College, Hilton Cartwright of Wesley and Marcus Stoinis of Hale School returned to a stacked Melbourne Stars outfit. Their crosstown rivals, the Renegades, have former Wesley College student Shaun Marsh on their list, and in 2022 had Guildford Grammar School’s David Moody. The PSA connection goes even further than just the current playing crop, with Simon Katich of Trinity College captaining the Scorchers to their first BBL title in 2013/14 and Justin Langer, from Aquinas College, the coach from November 2012 to the end of the 2015/16 season.

It was another thrilling season of Big Bash cricket, with the Scorchers again going deep into the competition. What were your stand out performances from your school’s alumni this year? There are so many contenders it’s hard to pick! BBL13 was an amazing spectacle and we look forward to following our PSA alumni in BBL14 and beyond.

List of PSA Alumni in BBL13

Perth Scorchers

  • Aaron Hardie – Aquinas College
  • Stephen Eskinazi – Christ Church Grammar School
  • Ashton Turner – Christ Church Grammar School
  • Liam Haskett – Christ Church Grammar School
  • Matt Kelly – Scotch College
  • Nick Hobson – Scotch College
  • Cameron Green – Scotch College
  • Hamish Mckenzie – Scotch College
  • Mitch Marsh – Wesley College

Melbourne Stars

  • Nathan Coulter-Nile – Aquinas College
  • Marcus Stoinis – Hale School
  • Joel Paris – Scotch College
  • Hilton Cartwright – Wesley College

Melbourne Renegades

  • Shaun Marsh – Wesley College

Hobart Hurricanes

  • Tim David – Scotch College

Sydney Thunder

  • Cameron Bancroft – Aquinas College

*based on 20-players squads.