It is a long way from Glasgow to Hobart – via Dubai, and Melbourne – and I was a little nervous but hugely excited to be heading out for a 2 week ICC Associate Rookie placement with the Hobart Hurricanes.
I arrived in Hobart, found my bags, and met up with Julia Price who was kindly hosting me at her house for the next 2 weeks. I started with a tour of their home ground, Blundstone Arena, before heading to watch the Ashes test match on TV.
Having not slept very well due to jet lag I went for a hit in the nets, and was given some very helpful technical coaching tips before meeting the full team the following day. There was a light training session at 10am after what I believe had been a pretty full on week of training after the disappointing losses to the Adelaide Strikers.
During the warm-up they did a throwing progression in pairs. Having only just arrived, I thought I was going to feel a bit lost, but Lauren Winfield came up to me and took me through the progression. This was very kind and immediately made me feel more settled. I was then asked to play in a club match that afternoon! South Hobart Sandy Bay played against Clarence, and although unfortunately we lost, I batted number 3 and was very excited to go in and have a partnership of 72 with Corinne Hall (Hurricanes captain).
The following morning started off in very exciting fashion as Mel Jones casually turned up as I was making my breakfast. I recognised that it was her as soon as I heard her voice having listened to her numerous times on commentary. Next was a ‘Fan day’ where all the team met up with fans, signed autographs and promoted the Hurricanes as well as cricket in general.
Those of us not in the starting 11 ended up having to take a high catch in front of all the kids….. Luckily we all caught it! All the BBL/WBBL teams have ‘Fan days’ – a really great idea. At the turn of the afternoon it was time for the match. I took part in the warm-up then sat in the dugout. It was pretty cool watching some of the best female cricketers (including Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Marizanne Kapp and Dane Van Niekerk) go about their games. I learnt a huge amount watching them – and it was so exciting to feel the atmosphere of playing in front of a large crowd.
Later on Secret Santa arrived, and I was very surprised that there was a gift for me – some Hobart Breakfast tea! The day finished with a surreal experience of casually sitting with two former Australian Women’s cricketers having a laugh! They really did make me feel totally welcome.
The next day started with a conditioning session followed by a tactics meeting. This was very interesting to see the sort of things that they think about and plan leading into a game. Initially they went through some of the footage of the previous game against the Sixers, bowlers watched some of their overs and batters watched each dismissal, with the aim of identifying any flaws in preparation for the next games. Each player in the opposition team was discussed, strengths and weaknesses identified, and a plan made. Listening to the discussion, particularly around well-known players was fascinating.
Days in between matches were filled with early morning gym sessions, nets or running sessions. The early morning running at 7am was pretty tough and although waking up so early didn’t feel all that pleasant at the time I am glad we did it before the main heat of the day.
During a bit of down time I took a walk along to Rosny Hill Lookout to take in some of the fabulous views – a nice way to keep the legs loose after the early morning session. Evening training was a good mix of fielding, working on my keeping with a shadow batter and a good hit in the nets. In one of the nets we used a dice and it was rolled before each ball, the number which it landed on was the number of runs which you had to aim to score off that delivery (5 could be anything you wanted). This developed awareness of options to do what could be required in a game situation.
During one of the days off, a number of the team organised a morning surfing session which was great fun. I just about managed a few runs staying upright – but will definitely need to work on my technique! I had a couple days off whilst the team went to Sydney for matches there.
I joined up with one of the other squad members and we had a fantastic trip to Freycinet National Park and the Wineglass Bay lookout. The scenery was stunning – Tasmania is such a beautiful island. I was a bit nervous about my first Christmas away from home – but I need not have worried! Stocking opened via a WhatsApp video to home, a champagne breakfast and a brilliant Christmas meal!! It is pretty odd having turkey when it’s hot and sunny though.
My last few days with the Hurricanes involved some more training sessions and a really helpful batting meeting in which they went through how to pace an innings in different situations in a match.
My final match was part of a double header with the men in Launceston – a great way to finish off. Unfortunately, the Hurricanes Women have struggled in their matches, so I didn’t get the thrill of a win. However, I have learnt an enormous amount from my placement and have lots of things to work on as I move to the Perth Cricket Academy for the next 3 months.
I want to say a big thank you to everyone who made me feel so welcome and gave me such a brilliant time!! The ICC Associate Rookie programme has been so worthwhile and I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity.