Sydney Sixers recruit Nick Bertus bats on for Big Bash debut after death of both parents


It took a millisecond for Nick Bertus to see the joy on his dad’s face as he stumbled in the front door of the family home at 6am after a few too many celebratory beers.

“I was so drunk and I remember he was just sitting in the lounge room with the biggest smile on his face,” Bertus said. “He was asking about every wicket and who was sledging who.”

Twelve hours earlier, Nigel Bertus could barely speak. His near decade-long battle with multiple system atrophy, a rare neurodegenerative disorder similar to Parkinson’s disease, was not to blame this time.

At Bankstown Oval, against a strong Sydney University outfit, Nigel watched his son captain Parramatta to a first grade premiership; the club’s first in 53 years.

Sean Abbott, Ben Abbott, Nick Bertus and Nathan Reece with Nigel Bertus (middle) holding the Belvidere Cup in April 2018.

The kids Nigel coached growing up, including Australian representative Sean Abbott and brother Ben, among others, had won the Belvidere Cup.

Nigel and wife Merryn were beside themselves after watching Nick top score for the match with 85.

“Dad used to get so emotional, so we used to stay away from him,” Nick said. “I saw him and he couldn’t really talk because he was just so happy we’d won.”

It was the first day of April in 2018, and the last game of cricket Nigel would attend.

Nick Bertus and his dad, Nigel, outside the family home.

Nick Bertus and his dad, Nigel, outside the family home.

A few weeks later, Nick immediately noticed the apprehension in his sister’s voice on the phone. His heart sank and by the time he had made it home, the ambulance doors were slammed shut.

The Bertus family had known Nigel didn’t have long, but somehow he had kept soldiering on. But not this time.

“He had collapsed and I knew straight away he was gone,” Nick said. “It was sudden, but it’s easier to get your head around when you know for four or five years it could happen. We waited in hospital for three or four days and that was the shit part. He was never getting out of that room.

“I was really close to dad.”

**********************************************************

Later that year, Nick, with a fresh NSW Blues contract, had had enough. He wanted to quit cricket.

The pain of his dad’s death would not go away. Getting “flogged” at training wasn’t fun. Getting out cheaply didn’t hurt like it used to.

He sought advice from the woman who knew him best.

“I told mum it was just hard without dad,” Nick said. “He was always the one who helped me. I played for him and I just had no motivation to do well.

Nick Bertus with his mum, Merryn.

Nick Bertus with his mum, Merryn.

“She snapped me out of that and was pretty blunt. It kicked me into gear and I thought, ‘Screw it, if dad was here he’d be so upset I wasn’t playing cricket’.”

Nick put the pads on and got to work.

“We got to the season and I still found it pretty hard,” he said. “I did well but don’t know how or why.”

Talk about an understatement. Bertus, a reserved character, banged down the state selectors’ door by amassing 1053 runs at an average of 75.21 in all first grade formats, to go with 418 runs at 38 in NSW Second XI fixtures.

He made his Sheffield Shield debut shortly after against Tasmania in Hobart, scoring 17 and 16 in a big NSW win, 10 months after Nigel’s death.

Merryn and the extended family, including Nick’s long-time girlfriend, Dom, were there to soak in the occasion. They watched Abbott present his childhood mate with his baggy blue.

Nick Bertus during his debut in Hobart.

Nick Bertus during his debut in Hobart.

“Mum was over the moon,” Nick said. “She loved the week. She’d follow cricket all around the country talking rubbish to people at the game if she could.”

A one-day debut for NSW followed in September of 2019. Despite nursing a broken hand, Bertus crunched an unbeaten 69 off 60 balls. Life was good again.

**********************************************************

Then, in December last year, came another call.

“You need to get to Westmead Hospital, your mum’s been in an accident,” they said.

Nick knew something was seriously wrong. Surely not. Not again.

He’d just spoken to his mum the evening before about her trip to America with daughter Hayley to celebrate her 21st birthday.

“I had to drive from Drummoyne and the closer I got, the more they called,” Nick said. “I was like, something bad has happened. I walked out of the car straight to the emergency and mum’s brother was standing there in tears. I knew straight away. Hayley was really upset in the waiting room. The nurse explained what happened. We were told she wasn’t going to wake up.

“You’re in such shock. I just couldn’t believe it. It was the same waiting room as dad. It was easily the worst day I’ve had.”

Bertus, pictured in March, has just signed a contract with the Sydney Sixers.

Bertus, pictured in March, has just signed a contract with the Sydney Sixers. Credit:James Brickwood

Merryn Bertus had been walking back to her vehicle at a north Parramatta petrol station after paying for a car wash. A man drove his car around a petrol bowser and crashed into her. Her head struck the pavement and she didn’t wake up.

It was a tragedy that floored the Bertus family and the local community.

**********************************************************

Hundreds of people raced to the hospital. Cricketers, schoolmates, colleagues, family, friends and even some who didn’t know Merryn were there to offer what support they could.

Nick, numb with emotion, said he took comfort in their company.

He was supposed to play a Sheffield Shield match three days later, but he had to pull out. Teammates, including Abbott and Harry Conway, considered standing aside, but Bertus told them his mum would be “pissed off” if they didn’t play.

“We were really rattled and upset, but a lot of other guys were, too,” Nick said. “Mum was really close to a lot of people. It was a real shock, but it was humbling to see how other people were as well. It wasn’t just [my brother] Luke or me or Hayley struggling, it was a lot of people.”

At the funeral in Baulkham Hills, with hundreds in attendance, Nick told the story of the day his mum convinced him to keep playing cricket. He thanked her and put his baggy blue cap on her coffin. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church.

Nick played a grade game a few days later, against Mosman. He made a few runs for his mum: 166 not out, in fact.

“I’ve never cried before on a cricket field, but we were tearing up,” he said. “I batted badly until 20, but once you start you forget about external things. It was easily my favourite innings. It was the best thing I could have done.”

**********************************************************

Earlier this year, Nick received another phone call. After being assured his cricketing future was secure, he was informed there was now no state contract on the table.

“I’m the first to admit I was pretty gutted when I got the news,” he said. “It was a tough call to get something I didn’t agree with at all at the time.”

It was another setback in the young man’s life.

However, he continued to churn out the runs, while coaching on the side, before the Sydney Sixers came knocking with a chance to come on board for this year’s Big Bash as a replacement player for Australian spinner Nathan Lyon.

Christmas time with the Bertus family.

Christmas time with the Bertus family.

“The Sixers stuff was a bit out of the blue,” he said. “It’s exciting.

“With my family here, I decided to stay in NSW and with the Sixers opportunity popping up really that made the decision worthwhile. Being really disappointed with how the whole NSW situation played out, I’ve been given almost a second go and it’s something I’m excited about. It’s a different dynamic with different coaches.

“If they’re looking for a leftie in the middle that could be my role.”

People always tell Bertus how unlucky he is, to lose both parents in such circumstances. Life can be cruel sometimes, they tell him.

That’s not how he sees it.

“I don’t think we’re unlucky,” he said. “We were lucky to have such good parents. A lot of people are shaped by their parents and we were lucky that ours were very supportive, and we got everything we wanted in life.

“It wasn’t as long as we wanted, but when we had them, you couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

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Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Sixers Tips, Odds and Teams – BBL Big Bash 2020


Hobart Hurricanes host
Sydney Sixers
at Blundstone Arena on Thursday December 10, 2020. Sydney Sixers are favourites for the game which is scheduled to start at 7:16 pm. We preview the game and give you our tips and information on how you can watch the Hobart Hurricanes vs.
Sydney Sixers
game live.

When: Thursday December 10, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Where: Blundstone Arena

Bet: Bet On This Match HERE

Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Sixers Odds

Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Sixers Preview

Hobart Hurricanes have made some exciting roster changes this season and will be looking to kick things off with a win when they take on the Sydney Sixers.

The Sixers head into this game as favourites but given the squad changes and the fact this game is down in Tassie I’m surprised they’re so short.

I’m backing the Hurricanes in to win here.

Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Sixers Tip





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Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat Tips, Odds and Teams – BBL Big Bash 2020


Melbourne Stars host
Brisbane Heat
at Manuka Oval on Friday December 11, 2020. Melbourne Stars are favourites for the game which is scheduled to start at 7:16 pm. We preview the game and give you our tips and information on how you can watch the Melbourne Stars vs.
Brisbane Heat
game live.

When: Friday December 11, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Where: Manuka Oval

Bet: Bet On This Match HERE

Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat Odds

Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat Preview

Melbourne Stars kick off their 2020/21 campaign against the Brisbane Heat at Manuka Oval in Canberra.

The Stars fell short in the BBL Final last season and will be out to make amends this season.

They head into this game as favourites and they’re hard to back against given their form in past seasons.

Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat Tip





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Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder Tips, Odds and Teams – BBL Big Bash 2020


Melbourne Stars host
Sydney Thunder
at Manuka Oval on Saturday December 12, 2020. Melbourne Stars are favourites for the game which is scheduled to start at 4:06 pm. We preview the game and give you our tips and information on how you can watch the Melbourne Stars vs.
Sydney Thunder
game live.

When: Saturday December 12, 2020 at 4:06 pm

Where: Manuka Oval

Bet: Bet On This Match HERE

Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder Odds

Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder Preview

Melbourne Stars will back up Friday nights game against Brisbane with another thrilling contest against the Sydney Thunder.

Whether playing back to back games will help or hinder the Stars is yet to be seen and the odds here could fluctuate quite a bit depending on their opening match performance.

I’m sticking with the Stars here though but it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder Tip





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Melbourne Renegades vs Perth Scorchers Tips, Odds and Teams – BBL Big Bash 2020


Melbourne Renegades host
Perth Scorchers
at Blundstone Arena on Saturday December 12, 2020. Perth Scorchers are favourites for the game which is scheduled to start at 7:16 pm. We preview the game and give you our tips and information on how you can watch the Melbourne Renegades vs.
Perth Scorchers
game live.

When: Saturday December 12, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Where: Blundstone Arena

Bet: Bet On This Match HERE

Melbourne Renegades vs Perth Scorchers Odds

Melbourne Renegades vs Perth Scorchers Preview

Melbourne Renegades and Perth Scorchers will, both be disappointed with their 2019/20 performance given they both missed out on playing finals.

They both have a good chance here to start their season off with a win when they meet at Blundstone Arena.

Perth Scorchers head into this game as favourites but I’m backing an minor upset here in the Renegades.

Melbourne Renegades vs Perth Scorchers Tip





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Teenager Charli Knott finishes year 12 exams from Women’s Big Bash League COVID-19 bubble


The final month of year 12 can be the most challenging yet rewarding time of a student’s schooling life but for Charli Knott, it was spent in a COVID-19 bubble playing professional cricket.

The Brisbane Heat all-rounder packed her bags on October 22, travelling south to Sydney for 47 days in the Women’s Big Bash League’s makeshift village.

The competition’s eight teams, with hundreds of players and staff, moved into the hub to ensure this year’s season went ahead, as the world battled a pandemic.

Days after the 17-year-old Brisbane State High School student arrived in the bubble she started her ATAR exam block.

Charli Knott gets her cap for her debut for the Brisbane Heat on November 11.(Supplied)

“I had to travel to a school in Sydney called Cedar College and basically I just went into that school and sat all my exams just at that campus in a room with an adjudicator — it was all pretty well organised,” Knott said.

“All my spare time I was in my room studying, but having the opportunity to go and train was good to get my mind off study.

“Then similarly being able to study took my mind off cricket, but it was very hectic the first two weeks trying to fit all my study in.”

Missed some big milestones

Knott has missed her school formal, her graduation, and will not be able to celebrate her 18th birthday next Sunday at home with friends and family, including her identical twin sister Hannah.

“We’ve been together for a long time — we’ve been separated for shorter periods, but this is obviously a lot longer, so it’s a bit sad,” Hannah said.

“I was Facetiming her getting ready — I couldn’t talk to her at formal but it was still nice to have her there while getting ready.”

Charli Knott takes a selfie with her twin sister Hannah.
Charli Knott with her twin sister Hannah.(Supplied)

Knott said while it was sad she had not been able to celebrate those special milestones at home in Brisbane, there was no place she would rather be than playing cricket.

“I turn 18 the finals weekend actually on the 29th of November, the grand final’s on the 28th. Hopefully we make it that far,” she said.

Charli Knott and her twin sister Hannah as children
Twin sisters Charli and Hannah Knott.(Supplied)

From a family household to chaotic bubble

Knott isn’t the Heat’s only school student.

Georgia Voll, who is in year 11 at Brisbane State High School, is the youngest member of the team.

Voll and Knott are among 12 students who are living in the WBBL bubble and the group had been getting together for study sessions.

Brisbane Heat coach Ash Noffke said the side’s experienced players had taken the teenagers under their wing.

“We’ve got a female physio who’s come on for this trip — obviously we’ve got our sport psychologist and welfare officers back at home that are constantly touching base with them.

“We want the girls to be happy and relaxed — we probably don’t demand as much of them when we’re in this bubble — we try to spend some time together but spend some time apart as well.”

Charli Knott celebrates her Year 12 formal while away in Sydney.
Charli Knott had a makeshift formal inside the hub of the WBBL’s makeshift village.(Instagram)



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WBBL 2020: Alyssa Healy innings, Sixers vs Stars, result, record score, Big Bash news, WBBL finals


Sixers star Alyssa Healy has gone completely nuts in the WBBL in a record-breaking pyrotechnic display.

Needing a miracle to pull the Sixers into the WBBL Finals when she walked to the crease to chase the Melbourne Stars’ innings of 178 from 19 overs, Healy went to work in spectacular fashion.

The 30-year-old smashed the fourth-fastest century in the history of the WBBL, reaching her hundred from just 48 balls at North Sydney Oval.

Watch The WBBL Finals Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >





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Alyssa Healy innings, Sixers vs Stars, result, record score, Big Bash news


Sixers star Alyssa Healy has gone completely nuts in the WBBL in a record-breaking pyrotechnic display.

Needing a miracle to pull the Sixers into the WBBL Finals when she walked to the crease to chase the Melbourne Star’s innings of 178 from 19 overs, Healy went to work in spectacular fashion.

The 30-year-old smashed the fourth fastest century in the history of the WBBL, reaching her hundred from just 48 balls at North Sydney Oval.

Watch The WBBL Finals Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >

She was eventually dismissed via a run out for 111 from 52 balls, including 15 fours and 5 sixes.

She was just three runs short of the all-time highest score of 114 runs.

Healy know has four of the five highest score in the WBBL, according to cricinfo.

Healy and Ellyse Perry guided the Sixers to 0/150 in the 15th over before Perry’s dismissal resulted in a top order collapse at the pointy end of the run chase.

They lost 4/6 in 10 deliveries.

Despite cruising with Healy’s pyrotechnics, the Sixers went into the final over still needing seven runs to win with five wickets in hand.

They finally pulled off the win with two balls to spare.

It wasn’t enough for the Sixers to jump the Scorchers into fourth spot.

The Stars will now play the Perth in the first week of the finals with the Heat facing the Thunder in the other game.

Despite the result of missing out on a spot in the finals series, the Sixers disappointment was overshadowed by Healy’s heroics.

NSW Sheffield Shield great Trent Copeland wrote on Twitter: “Alyssa Healy!!!!! 100 off 48 balls. Unreal”.



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Cricket Australia, BBL 2020-21: Rashid Khan could miss half of Big Bash League


The Big Bash could be without the world’s best T20 spinner Rashid Khan in the closing stages of this year’s tournament, including the finals.

An international ODI series between Afghanistan and Ireland has been scheduled for January and, if called up to play, tight border restrictions could make it impossible for several players in the BBL to return in time to rejoin their teams.

The Melbourne Stars on Wednesday confirmed the signing of Afghanistan spinner Zahir Khan, who will move south for the BBL season after playing with the Brisbane Heat last summer.

The 21 year-old left-arm wrist spinner is expected to be available for the full BBL season.

The ONLY place to watch every single match of India’s Tour of Australia is on Fox Cricket, available on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >



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