Belvoir recruit Nick Whitelaw is part of South African sporting royalty. Golfer Gary Player, voted the Rainbow Nation's Sportsman of the Century in 2000, was married to the sister of Whitelaw's grandfather. Sadly, Player's wife Vivienne (nee Verwey) passed away in 2021. "Gary is just what you see on TV, he's very, very competitive, he loves his health and fitness, he's definitely a gentleman," Whitelaw offered. Whitelaw's grandfather Bobby Versey Snr was a golf professional, posting 13 wins, including the Senior British Open. Quite remarkably, there's three eras of golf pros in the family. Whitelaw himself is a single-figure player, but cricket is his passion. He plays for the Lions in Gauteng, Johannesburg, during the southern hemisphere and has spent the past three 'winters' in the UK, playing the first two seasons for Egerton in Manchester and St Just Cricket Club in Cornwall. "I didn't get the contract that I wanted back home and just decided this was a good move for my career," he offered. "I'm young and playing good cricket, so why not travel the world? I always had a love for Australian cricket." The 25-year-old was quizzed what it's like playing cricket around the world. "It's brilliant. The cricket within Albury-Wodonga, the guys take it quite seriously and the community is quite involved, it's awesome to see the passion for cricket around here," he praised. "It's great to be part of a team with good blokes and I've already made some cool mates." A right-hand bat and left-arm orthodox spinner, Whitelaw has helped guide Belvoir to the top of Cricket Albury-Wodonga's provincial ladder, while he also played a leading role in Riverina winning through to the inaugural Country Bash grand final. Riverina was 5-51 against Central Coast in the T20 tournament in Orange last week and in danger of being skittled for around 80. However, Whitelaw and Lavington's Chris Galvin combined in a 57-run stand, which proved the match-winner. Riverina will now play Greater Illawarra in the decider on January 17, with Sydney Thunder to host Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash at the same venue later that night. Whitelaw has been nicknamed 'Saffa', or short for South Africa, and admits he's still getting his head around the Aussie banter. He has a sharp sense of humour and needed it too when Australia beat South Africa in the recent World Cup semi-final. "It did hurt a bit but, to be fair, the Aussies played incredibly, I can't deny that. Still we made up for it in the Rugby World Cup (South Africa won the event, while Australia failed to make the finals stage for the first time)," he laughed. Whitelaw will look to improve Belvoir's six-match winning streak when it hosts the improving New City on Saturday. Elsewhere in round nine, Corowa is home to Tallangatta, North Albury makes the trip to Wodonga Raiders, Wodonga hosts Baranduda, East Albury is away to St Patrick's, while Albury is home to Lavington.