Reporting in from Darwin
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Footage from one of Sean's matches
From Sean Solia:
Flying from Auckland to Darwin I had high expectations after Craig Cachopa (Chops) had told me of his 2009 experience and I was eager to get started. Arriving in Darwin at 00:45am I felt the heat that I had been warned would almost be unbearable for a kiwi.
Matt Cavanagh, (Tracy Village Cricket Club President) greeted me at the airport and took me to the flat which was situated close to the club. My flat mate Matt Day (Daisy), a Tasmanian State 2nd XI player had already moved in earlier in the day.
With one day to prepare for my first Darwin game, Craig kindly introduced Daisy and I to our new home ground. Their facilities boast Darwin's only club grass nets, including five brand new artificial nets, new fully air conditioned changing rooms and a field with the same dimensions of the famous MCG, and I better not forget the BEST Pitches in the Northern Territory!!
GAME ONE vs. PINTS at TVCC
DAY ONE: Chops picked us up at 10am and we went to the ground where I met all the "blokes". Tracy Village won the toss and batted first against PINTS, their arch rivals. At the conclusion of tea I was at the crease with the score at 180 for 7, the pressure was on for me to perform with the bat. Facing the opening bowler swinging away from me I blocked the first ball. With that out of the way I carried on to bat for a session and a half whilst building a partnership of 90 with our keeper/batsmen Shane McDermott or "Macca". I got Stumped on 27, six overs from the end of days play. After a solid fight back we ended our innings on 325 for 9.
I set my fitness and training routine for the weeks to come ;
- Running/Sprint work: Monday
- Gym sessions: Monday/Wednesday,
- Net sessions: Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday.
It was great to train on top quality grass nets at club trainings twice a week and a pleasure to train at the Northern Territory Institute of Sport with former Bangladesh Assistant coach and our club keeper "Macca" every Wednesday.
DAY TWO: Fielding all day in sweltering heat, watching balls fly over our heads was a huge contrast after having PINTs 4 for 4 within 10 over's. After a maiden for my first over, I definitely did not expect to have absolutely no more energy. From then on I really knew how hard it was as a bowler in these conditions (especially bowling on roads) and my next few over's reflected that.
I began to find some rhythm and took my first wicket, a catch through to second slip, and what could have been a second wicket had "Chops" caught the ball at first slip when their batsman was on 30 (he ended up on 192 not out). My first spell came to an end with figures of 1/30.
With PINTS reeling at 280 for 9 (Simon Lavers 185 not out) and the number eleven arriving at the crease I came on to finish their innings off and I picked up the winning wicket, clean bowling the tail ender and finishing with figures of 2 for 37. With scores of TVCC 325/9, PINTS 292 all out. I was delighted to have won my first game for Tracy Village.
GAME TWO vs. Nightcliff at NCC
DAY ONE: Talk in the changing rooms prior to warm ups was of knocking over the table toppers Nightcliff and us moving into first. Having lost the toss and been asked to field we had another great start to the day with Night cliff 4 for 30. After productive training sessions during the week working on my weaknesses from the first game, it was my turn to bowl in much more favorable weather conditions.
I had a solid start with good energy and rhythm. I took a wicket just before lunch when the batsman tried to drive a good length ball, snicking out to the keeper. I continued my spell after lunch and ended up with 1/9 off 5.After a tough second session we continued to bowl after tea before dismissing Night cliff for 330.
I was asked to open the batting for the final 5 over's of the day. I certainly wasn't going to pass up the opportunity as I have had a lot of experience opening the batting for other teams. I went into bat with Elliot Herd (a kiwi from Westlake) and we said to each other to play positive. I felt very comfortable and was hitting the ball nicely until I played too much inside the line of the ball and was bowled...in the last over.
DAY TWO: After getting out the previous week I was running the drinks for the rest of the day. We didn't begin the day too convincingly, struggling at 5 for 35, but a solid 170 run Partnership between "Macca" and Greg Morgan (Aces Player) turned that all around. "Macca" went on to score 113, "Morgs" 60 and we were back in the hunt for the required 330. Another young Aussie Ben Cooper blasted a well needed 100 not out off 50 balls for the Village to get up on first innings - NCC 330, TVCC 421/9. Another top performance by the boys, as I ended my Darwin tour for 2010 on a winning note.
I gained a vast amount of experience from this tour. Being in such harsh conditions I saw the importance of ensuring my body was prepared for trainings and games and that recovery was a big part in enabling me to perform at my best. Batting against bowlers who bowled much smarter and tighter lines on flat wickets certainly tested my mental strength and stamina but I believe I handled it well. Bowling on the flattest wickets I've played on, made me adjust my lengths and forced me to hit the deck much harder.
Flatting for the first time with people I hadn't met before opened my eyes and made me realise how easy life was back home. Having lived with Matt Day for a month I have found a good friend and learnt life lessons that I will never forget.
Overall my time in Darwin was a big learning experience on and off the field. The cricket was competitive and to a very high standard, and I was made welcome by my team mates and the club. I left Darwin with very fond memories and lots of new friends.
Finally I would like to thank the Frank Grattan Legacy, Auckland Cricket Association and Auckland Secondary Schools for making this great experience possible, may it continue as I highly recommend it.