London calling for cricket trio
WARM BEER, bangers and mash and a mild English summer is awaiting Easts captain Doug Harris as he embarks on a trip of a lifetime today.
Harris is a self-confessed cricket tragic who has been known to swing the willow with great effect in the local Premier League competition.
He also likes to roll the arm over with his well-flighted off spin.
So how will the talented local cricketer handle the English conditions as he lines up for Elmstead Grasshoppers Cricket club in Essex this English season?
“No bloody idea,” says the skilled top-order batsman.
Harris was instrumental in the Easts Cricket Club gaining the services of two English recruits this season, Connor Finney and Aidan O’Brien.
Finney and O’Brien played in the Easts Premier league side and were welcomed to the club with opened arms.
Both characters on and off the field, the Pommy imports are adamant Harris will handle the English conditions without too much trouble.
“Doug is a good cricketer who should have no problems adjusting to the conditions although he may struggle with his favoured pull-shot,” O’Brien says.
“Doug has a sound technique and it won’t take him long to work things out.”
Finney, a noted party boy, says the experience of living in Grafton and playing cricket has been invaluable for his career.
“I enjoyed the cricket and it was certainly a good quality competition. I enjoyed the company of the lads and their friendship,” Finney says.
“We had some great times on Saturday nights after the game and the people are down to earth...it’s a different culture...you seem to drink a bit more.”
O’Brien who was an asset with the ball for Easts added the experience has made him a better cricketer and hopefully a better person.
“I enjoyed my time in Australia, everyone treated me well. I have matured as a cricketer and a person,” he says.
Both imports had a word of advice for Harris: ‘The pitches in England behave differently to the ones he is accustomed to in the Clarence’.
“The wickets here are slow and more bouncy whereas in England they tend to come off the pitch quicker but keep low,” O’Brien says.
An excited but cautious Harris will also be involved in coaching during his stint in the Old Dart and says he is looking forward to the challenge.
“I will be living with Aidan for the first couple of weeks then with a bunch of different people,” Harris says
“I’m looking forward to playing cricket in a different environment and travel around parts of Europe. “Learning how to play in different conditions will hopefully improve my game...it will be a good learning curve.”
Harris says the initiative by the Easts club to organise overseas players has been positive and is something the club intends to continue with over the next few seasons. “Having Connor and Aidan has set the platform. The boys have been well accepted by the club and the community and the whole concept has captured people’s interest,” he says. When asked about the prospect of drinking warm beer Harris quickly replied ‘no chance’.