BARELY a week after returning from Darwin, Jack Thompson was still proudly wearing his baggy maroon cap.
The Hervey Bay youngster had every reason to be smiling after helping Queensland become national primary school cricket champions.
The Ricky Ponting Shield was shared by Queensland and Victoria after dropping one match each during the School Sport Australia U12 Boys Cricket Championship, but Queensland was quick to claim bragging rights after beating Victoria and New South Wales for the first time in the same tournament.
It was Jack's first appearance for Queensland and the Kingaroy-born batsman said he enjoyed every moment of the championship.
"It was a fun trip and a good experience," Jack, who turns 12 on Thursday, said.
"The bowling was a lot better.
"There were hardly any bad balls and the fielding was also a lot better."
The State of the Sea Catholic Primary School student's biggest strength is his ability to occupy the crease for a long period and build an innings.
But it wasn't an easy championship for batsmen with just four half-centuries scored throughout the carnival.
Jack's highest score was 12, but the chance to pad up against quality bowling will do wonders to his game.
Regarded as one of the most exciting prospects from Hervey Bay since former Australian Test player Nathan Hauritz, Jack's father Scott said the tournament was a huge step up for him.
"It was a big learning curve for him and he's realised now at that sort of level once you get a start you need to go on with it," he said.
"He was a bit unlucky a couple of days, but he can carry on with this now and it's up to him how far he wants to go."