Fiona Urquhart - Blog from down under #1
Scotland Wildcats player Fiona Urquhart is spending the winter over in the heat of Australia playing and coaching cricket. She has sent us the first of her entertaining blogs from down under.
After 38 hours travelling, I arrived in Sydney and was greeted by the women's manager of my new club - Campbelltown Camden Cricket Club, more commonly known as the Ghosts.
After a quick tour of the home ground Raby, which boasts no less than 4 ovals, over 20 grass practice nets and an indoor training centre, I was taken to where I would be staying, a place called MacArthur which is 10 minutes from the ground.
A stunning house situated on a golf course is owned by The Craze Family who are all cricket daft. The house is kitted out with a full gym, swimming pool in the garden, and my very own pet python which roams free in my en-suite - what more could I want!
First game of the season was against a team called Gordon, from the North side of Sydney. After getting over the excitement of seeing the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House en route to the ground, it was time to play.
We lost the toss and we're fielding first. Gordon batted fairly sensibly and with a lightning quick outfield, scored at a good rate. I got in the game early taking a high catch at mid-wicket and was kept busy in the field.
The skipper threw me the ball to bowl - my first 5 overs were fairly uneventful, just my standard waist high full bunger which got dispatched. My 6th (and proved to be final over) was a bit of a disaster with the Gordon player taking to my bowling and carted me all round the park, including over the grandstand! Welcome to Grade 1 cricket Fi! Chasing 275 to win, we scored quickly but lost wickets regularly and were bowled out for 156. Disappointing to lose!
The following week brought about a big event in the grade calendar - The Bash for Cash! An event held at Raby where all teams compete and can win cash for their clubs by hitting boundaries in two T20 matches - $20 for a 4, and $50 for a 6! We were up against Sydney Tigers first - a strong team featuring no less than 3 internationals, Elyse Perry, Alyssa Healy and Erin Osbourne.
They bowled and fielded well restricting us to 114 for 4. I went in at 5 with only a few balls to go and swung from the hip - missed one delivery and Healy took great pleasure in stumping me. Healy and Osbourne set about chasing our total with relative ease, playing shots all around the ground - including some very impressive ramp shots, and they chased down the total in 15 overs. Our second game was a much improved performance - our skipper Kate and Aussie player Sarah Coyte opened up and went big!
We finished on 185 for 2, so I didn't get to bat. We bowled well and took some amazing catches to restrict St Georges to 140 to win our first game of the season. We carried that momentum into last week's game where we beat Bankstown (defending champions for the last 4 seasons). We restricted them to 90 off 20 overs and knocked it off 1 down with 13 overs. Great to win! Had a free week this weekend so helped out with our Under 16s team - my word there are some unbelievably good youngsters out here, great cricket on show and a great bunch of girls to work with!
From a personal point of view, it's been a little frustrating not having had opportunities to bat yet. Our openers are doing too good a job but there are loads of games coming up and I'll hopefully take my chance when I get in.
Apart from that, training has been going well - both with the women and I've been going along to the guys training too to get some extra hits in (and check out the talent.....I joke of course). Off the field, it's been really good as well. Done a few touristy thing - stacked it down the Opera House stairs while taking a photo, a day’s surfing up at Manly where I managed to actually stand up, watched some state cricket games, including witnessing a David Warner ton, and a few trips to the beach, including a massive wardrobe malfunction on Bondi beach (just as well I'm not shy is all I'll say).
It's getting hotter over here and lots more cricket coming up so exciting times ahead! The club is great and full of fantastic people who have really welcomed me in the few weeks I've been here. Loving every minute of my Aussie experience so far!