A TEXT message in the early hours of Saturday morning is not something every teenager welcomes – but for Roman Walker it meant the start of what is hoped will be a long and successful career in the game.
The 16-year-old was due to head to Cardiff on the train from his home in Gwersyllt to continue his development with Glamorgan Academy.
But Walker, who caught the eye of the entire North Wales League with Marchwiel last season, was told that instead of working with his fellow youngsters, he would be playing for Glamorgan first XI in the friendly against Nottinghamshire the following day.
Walker was tasked with bowling at former England international Chris Read, along with Notts’ team mates Jake Libby and Greg Smith.
Roman’s dad, Bryan, was in attendance, while mum Michele was at their north Wales base expectantly awaiting news – good or bad – of how their rising star fared.
Thankfully, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it was good news.
“His dad told me he didn’t look out of place,” said Michele. “That’s probably the biggest compliment he can be given.”
Indeed it is, as Walker was part of a match consisting the likes of Jacques Rudolph, Samit Patel and Harry Gurney, as well as former Brymbo ace David Lloyd.
A quick conversation with one of his biggest fans, mum Michele, however, suggests that Roman will not be getting carried away with the first team outing.
“He’s got the ability,” continued Michele. “He’s got this far and getting a game for the first team proves that he’s got ability.
“The key to him continuing to get chances to impress is hard work. That is the key to everything.
“When cricket is concerned he’s 100 per cent committed and he’s good at what he does. He’s just got to get his head down and keep putting the effort in.”
Walker, part of the Wales Under-17s squad, joined Glamorgan Academy in October after playing a couple of second XI fixtures towards the back end of the 2016 season.
“It looks as though he might get the chance to play more second team cricket,” said Michele. “Steve Watkin suggested that he might be contacting us to get Roman to play.
“Roman played a few games at the back end of last season and he bowled at the first team when they came up to Colwyn Bay last July.”
And what are the chances of Roman, who will play his club cricket with Oswestry this season, turning out in the County Championship in 2017?
“We need to keep him grounded and working hard though,” said Michele. “It is important not to get your hopes too high.”