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Six months in Albany

Posted in Performance Lifestyle

On the morning of Tuesday October 21 I set out on my journey, which turned out to be quite an epic!

My parents drove me to Heathrow and waved me goodbye and off I went. This was the first time I’d flown alone and all I could think of was getting something wrong and missing or getting on the wrong plane.

I know it sounds stupid but I must have checked and rechecked my ticket about 20 times. Eventually I boarded and about 20 hours later, with a brief stop off in Kuala Lumpur, I arrived in sunny Australia.

I was met at the airport by one of the players from the club I’d be playing for, Dean Toovey. After another five hours in the car we arrived in Albany, my home for the next six months. By this time it was quite late and after a quick phone call home I was introduced to Daniel Alford who I’d be staying with initially.

On the drive from Perth to Albany the picture of Australia I had in my head all came to life. Long dusty red gravel roads, kangaroos hopping along and miles of bush land. It was a great feeling to leave the miserable weather back home and escape to the sunshine.

After a few house changes I’m now staying with one of the B grade players who has also only recently moved to town. He has a two=bedroom apartment that has only recently been built so is pretty impressive. He’s also a pretty good cook so I’ve got nothing to worry about on that front.

After one quick net session I was into my first game against a team called Denmark. We won comprehensively, bowling them out for 140 and then scoring 220. All games are win-lose, and if you pass the team’s total batting second you carry on batting for bonus points.

All games therefore last 100 overs unless the team batting second gets bowled out. I didn’t manage to trouble the scorers with the bat but got 2-15. I can put the batting down to a bit of jet lag and lack of practice since the end of the English season. I can try at least anyway!

A few days later I was invited to go fishing for the first time by Troy Skippings, one of the players at the club. I have to admit, I didn’t think fishing would be much fun but I was willing to give it a go. Much to my surprise I had a great time and managed to catch three fish; although I’m not really sure what they were. The only down side was that I couldn’t get the smell of the prawns we used as bait off my hands for days.

The second game we played was in town against Collingwood Park and bowling first we restricted them to 136. I had figures of 0-21 off 10. We then batted and scored 230 off our 50 overs with me personally scoring 81. It was good to get a score early on and it meant that I’d cemented my batting position of three for a good spell. Although I didn’t get any wickets I bowled well and quite economically which was pleasing.

So with two wins we went into our third game full of confidence. We again bowled first and restricted them to 179. I bowled 10 overs 2-26 and we were confident on another win. We started off well but then continued to lose regular wickets and were 85 for five at drinks. So being well behind a long way from the finish line the chances of a win looked minimal but we always knew that one good partnership could win us the game.

That was exactly what happened. A partnership of 96 between Daniel Alford and me took us within 30 from a win with about four overs to go. After a bit of scampering around we crossed the finish line, with me ending up on 59 not out.

Onto game four, which was against Manypeaks. We bowled them out for 187, I took two wickets and a fourth win looked imminent. With good contributions from all the top order we went on to win in the 48th over and had a final score of 205. I scored 42 and the got out to probably the worst ball faced all game - but the bad ones get the wickets! It was good to carry on the form and get a few runs again but disappointing not to get at least 50.

The next day the Albany Association had a Twenty20 game against Subiaco Floreat, a team from Perth who had one of the Northants players I’d played against earlier in the year back in England. I was pleased to be selected for the side and although we narrowly lost by five runs I top-scored with 43 and bowled four overs, 1-24, which I was pretty pleased with.

On the odd Sunday I’ve also managed to get a few rounds of golf in at the Albany course which is pretty good. It looks onto the beach and although the breeze doesn’t always help the golf much the views are very impressive.

Unfortunately the next two games were rained off as Albany had record rainfall and quite a lot of places were flooded. Not what’s expected when you think of Australia and I was blamed for bringing the Pommie weather with me! I’m not sure whether it was the couple of weeks off or being over confident but we lost the next two games, although only by small margins, so we’re all eager to get that back on track next week.

The journey so far has brought a lot of firsts for me. The first time I’ve lived away from home, the first time I’ve really had to provide for myself and the first time I’ve had to do my own washing! Even though I had to make a lot of changes to my usual lifestyle I’ve really enjoyed being independent and having only myself to rely on and blame if things go wrong.

So that’s all for now really, I’ll keep you all posted on how I’m getting on and how the cricket’s going later in the New Year.

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