AUSTRALIAN cricketer Travis Head has earned legendary status for his heroics in helping his team win the cricket World Cup final in India on Sunday — but just ten years ago he was smashing the ball to all parts of two top Isle of Wight grounds.

Travis, who played for Ventnor Cricket Club in one amazing season as a 19-year-old, is one of only four players to hit a century in a World Cup cricket final, alongside fellow Aussies Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist, and the West Indies' Viv Richards. 

Isle of Wight County Press: Travis Head celebrates his century against India in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup on Sunday.Travis Head celebrates his century against India in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup on Sunday. (Image: PA)

The left-hander spearheaded his side's victory against India, silencing the vast majority of the 130,000 Ahmedabad crowd with some sublime, and sometimes unorthodox, stroke-making as he went on to notch up 137 runs.

Earlier in the match, Travis pulled off a sublime catch to dismiss India's captain, Rohit Sharma — a wicket that changed the game.

He was subsequently made man-of-the-match, which shows just how far he has come in his career.

It is unbelievable to think that just a decade earlier, Travis was smashing balls around Newclose cricket ground in Newport and at Steephill, when he played in one magical summer for Ventnor in the ECB Southern Premier League.

Isle of Wight County Press: Travis Head playing for Ventnor in 2013.Travis Head playing for Ventnor in 2013. (Image: Ventnor Cricket Club)

Travis was part of the first Ageas Bowl International Cricket Academy intake that summer, when he made 968 runs at 64.50 for the Island club — 733 of them in the Premier League.

And it didn’t take the club too long to realise they had a huge prospect when he stepped off the Red Funnel ferry in 2013.

Mark Holmes, Ventnor's skipper that season, has fond memories of Travis playing in the team — and they have remained good friends ever since. 

"Travis was always going to be a superstar. He always had that natural talent, coupled with a great attitude, dedication and is hard working. 

Isle of Wight County Press: Travis Head playing T20 for Ventnor at Steephill.Travis Head playing T20 for Ventnor at Steephill. (Image: Ventnor Cricket Club)

"Not only that, he is very down to earth — someone who would stay after a game and have a few beers and a chat with the lads. A proper bloke and a team player who just got on with everyone.

"We became good friends. He used to stay at my parents' place in Rookley, and we even went together to the Isle of Wight Festival."
Travis has never forgotten the impact his time at Ventnor had on his career.

“I was living in Southampton at the time, but the Ventnor boys looked after me. Just living away from home and having to do stuff on your own for the first time is a big thing when you’re a young guy," he said.

In his one season with Ventnor, he made a mark no one can forget.

He scored an unbeaten 142 against Bashley, 108 against Hambledon and six other 50-plus scores.

"His very first delivery faced for us, he smashed the ball through the covers," Mark adds.

"Travis made a massive impact — not only on the team, but also the club.

"I never imagined at the time Travis would playing in and score a century in a World Cup final, but I always knew he'd make it big.

"Ventnor Cricket Club is proud he played for us, that he holds us in high esteem and that he keeps in touch. 

"Two years ago, when playing for Sussex, he made a guest appearance for Ventnor. 

"He has a close affinity with Ventnor," Mark concluded.