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Kewell and the gang

Posted in Disability Cricket

After training in the heat on Saturday morning we returned to the hotel and the boys were quickly into the pool for an aqua session.

With a bit of free time on their hands some of the squad headed up to Westfield Shopping centre, which is a short walk up the road from the hotel. Apparently it is the biggest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere and having driven past it on the coach I wouldn’t want to argue about that!

Our two coaches, Jason [Bowen] and Gary [Bass], and myself headed for one of Australia's biggest cricket retailers, again just up the road but in the opposite direction to the mall.

After a short time comparing prices of everything from base layers to bat rubbers, I noticed the shop also sold figurines of Australia's highest profile cricketers and footballers.

With Christmas around the corner I thought what a good present for my seven year old one of these figures would make. After deciding I couldn’t bear the thought seeing my son opening a box that contained a model of Brett Lee or Ricky Ponting, I thought, both of us being Evertonians, that we would both be happy with a figure of Everton player and Socceroo Tim Cahill.

I searched the shelves, discarding other, lesser players - I mean 'who is Harry Kewell for heaven's sake?

But to my dismay there was no Tim Cahill. Sold out I assumed, being Australia's highest profile soccer player and all that. I asked the assistant if they had any in stock. "Don’t do Cahill mate” was the response.

I left the shop immediately leaving the poor assistant wondering what this Pommie cricket nut was so appalled about.

With the best interest of the squad in mind, Jason, Gary and I proceeded directly to the Hooters Bar just over the road from our hotel. Well, we needed to ensure that it was OK for our squad to frequent from time to time. It is, and by arrangement with the manageress, we are all going for a meal on Sunday evening when it will be quiet.

I left the squad on Sunday morning to take a drive to Canberra to meet with Cricket Australia and Ausrapid (Australia's Learning Disability Sport Organisation).

England Blind Team

England train ahead of the first ODI against Australia where Matt Dean's side will try to defend the trophy

The squad were training on Sunday afternoon and so had a lie in whilst I left the hotel at 6.30am to commence my drive to Canberra. I’ve driven in Australia before and enjoyed the experience so I was looking forward to the three-hour drive down the Hume Highway from Parramatta to Munaka in Canberra.

As anticipated the drive was spectacular with lots of great views and kangaroos to watch.

The meeting was to discuss the plans for the third Tri-Nations tournament between England, South Africa and Australia that will be held in Melbourne next December. I’m pleased to report that the preparations are well underway and we can look forward to a very well organised tournament.

I commenced my journey home feeling excited about how far the LD game has come in a very short period of time and glad that I was able to meet up with Robyn Smith from Ausrapid and Luke Van Kempen from Cricket Australia.

Driving back to Parramatta I needed to stop for some petrol, the tank was nearly empty and I still had 150km to go. It was then that I had what I can only refer to as a Mr Bean moment.

I was standing, minding my own business, filling the car with petrol. In fact I was looking at how overgrown my goatee had become in the reflection on the glass on the petrol pump and then, no more than two minutes after starting, the pump stopped, as it does when your tank is full.

This can’t be right I thought. I looked at the price on the pump and it said $33 (about £17). Something is wrong. I tried squeezing the pump again but kept getting that clicking sound that tells you the tank is full.

With another car waiting for me to move off the pump I decided that I’d better go and pay. Whilst waiting in the queue my mind was going through all sorts - maybe I’d used the wrong type of fuel and it had just cut out or maybe there was a limit to how much you could buy. I just couldn’t understand why it had cut out, there was no way that $33 was enough to fill the tank up.

Anyway, whatever the issue was I was sure that I had enough to get me back to Sydney and I could fill the car up at a proper petrol station in the city.

After paying I returned to the car eagerly to see whether the petrol gauge would even get over half way. I was stunned to see the gauge zoom to the top, the tank was full. I couldn’t believe it. I drove back to Parramatta feeling a bit daft that I’d never even considered how much lower the price of petrol is over here but having had a reality check to how much it costs back home.

Big evening tomorrow - we are being hosted by the British Consul in Sydney at a reception for both teams and I understand that a certain Mr Richie Benaud is also on the guest list. What a marvellous night that will be. Super effort that!

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