It?s OK to be Blue
By Tony White
A rare opportunity to spend a day with the NSW 'SpeedBlitz Blues' cricket team at the ING match in Coffs Harbour last Saturday, turned out to be an experience of a lifetime for young Grafton cricket fan, Riley Oseland and his family.
Midway through last year Oseland's mother Rebecca joined Riley in the NSW Cricket Association's supporter group, the Blue Heelers Club, and he was selected at random to become 'a Blue for the Day' at Coffs Harbour.
The Blue Heelers Club offers young cricket fans the chance to become '13th man' at NSW SpeedBlitz ING and Pura Cup home games and a range of other activities. Membership is free.
"We got a call from the NSW Cricket Association to say Riley had been selected to attend the match at Coffs Harbour," Rebecca Oseland said.
"It turned out to be the most fabulous day, especially for Riley.
"The NSW guys treated Riley like part of the team. They were just fabulous.
"Everyone went out of their way to make it a very special day."
After arriving at the ground Riley was given a SpeedBlitz Blues training shirt and cap and introduced to the NSW team members.
He was taken to the centre of the oval with NSW captain Brad Haddin and Victorian skipper Cameron White for the official toss of the coin and sat in the NSW dugout while NSW was batting.
Riley also accompanied 12th man Moises Henriques onto the pitch for each drinks session and other player requirements.
Talk about being the envy of his mates.
"It was just brilliant, unbelievable," Rebecca said.
"When he was in the dugout all the kids around him were saying 'gee I wish that was me',"
"All the NSW guys made Riley feel really welcome, especially Brad Haddin and Stuart MacGill.
"Brad sat talking with Riley a lot and when Stuart MacGill came over he said "all rite who is the Blue for a Day?.
"He shook Riley's hand, rubbed him on the head, asked questions and they joked around. They had a real good chat. He was brilliant.
"You often hear a lot of bad things about sport and sportsmen but from the people at Cricket NSW right through to the team, the way they treat these kids is unbelievable.
"I can't praise them enough. They were just brilliant with him (Riley).
"The day is something he'll always remember."
Riley's grand parents Neville and Rozlyn Palmer accompanied Riley and his mother to the game.
"Yeah, it was a real family thing," Rebecca said.
"Everyone had a great time."
Riley, who attends Grafton Public School, loves watching cricket and really enjoys backyard cricket with family including his father David and nine-year-old sister Cassidy.
"Riley gets right into it, he even makes his own bats," Rebecca said.
As a momento from the occasion, Riley was given a special $5 Don Bradman coin used at the official toss and a framed photo with the respective captains.