Andrew's Aussie Diary 1
Hello to everyone back in chilly Carrickfergus from a sunny and warm Brisbane, Australia. For those who do not know I am out in Brisbane at the Australian Sports Gateway Academy (ASG) where I am training and playing cricket on a full time basis for the academy and a local club called Beenleigh/Logan Cricket Club who are in the Brisbane league. The aim is to develop my game in several areas, technical, fitness, psychological and in other specific areas.
I left Belfast on Monday 11th of September and did not arrive in Brisbane until Wednesday 13th at 7am. I was given the day to acclimatise and rest. Next morning at 8am training started at the academy with the next 4hours of physical torture. At half past four I arrived at my new club for the next six months and had a three hour session spending most of the time batting as this turned out to be an experience in its self. Half way through training it got dark and the floodlights came on and the ball was changed from orange to white.
The training and coaching at the academy is taken by Brad Murphy who also coaches for the Queensland Bulls who are the state team. The club coaching is taken by Greg Campbell who is a past Australian test player. Training and playing in Australia is very tough with the Aussies having a professional hardness mentally and physically in all aspects of their game.
I am playing grade 2 cricket which is a higher level than I have played before. There are 6 levels in the senior league and then there are local leagues. At level one you have players such as Andy Bichel, Michael Kasperwich, James Hopes, Jimmy Maher, Michael Johnson, Martin Love, Shane Watson, Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds when they are not on international duty.
It has taken me almost four weeks to fully come to terms with the pace and accuracy of the Australian bowlers. I am now scoring runs and that is taking the pressure of me. The games I play for my club are 2 day games which can be tiring when you spend 7 hours out in the field in 33 degrees.
I spent a day as a net bowler for the Queensland Bulls who are a state team. I shared a net with Andy Bichel which was very rewarding to see an international bowler up close and to listen to his advice. There is nothing more rewarding to have bowled a ball and hear Bichel saying well bowled. This was a great day for me and when I thought it was over the players gave us tickets for their state game with New South Wales the following day. There is very little free time and usually if we get some we spend it resting in the sun and lying on the beach. The local people I have met through the cricket are very friendly. One of the other players in the academy is a person called Richard who is from Glasgow and I have played cricket against him on a few occasions before and we have formed a friendship. Two reserve players for the Scotland world cup squad are with us in the academy Quasim Sheikh and Simon Smith. Hope everyone has a good night at the dinner. I will keep in touch. Andrew Cowden