Gabbys Blog Down Under Weeks 4 to 8

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So it's been about a month since the last blog and after the last game vs Carlton Brunswick we had a bye and break in the fixtures for Melbourne Cup weekend. I managed to play an extra fixture for Launching Place Mens in one of our weeks off against Gruyere and from the first over of their batting innings it was clear it was going to be a long day in the field! After 40 overs they finished on 311, a day spent chasing leather! I managed to bowl 7 overs for 33 which were the most economical figures for our team so I was more than happy. As a team we managed to bat out the overs but not get anywhere near the total.

The following weekend I was invited to go paintballing and the soldier in me couldn't wait to go. Turns out that even though I have a good eye shooting, I would not be very good in a battlefield! Headshots didn't eliminate you from the game, which was great for me seeing as I ended up getting hit in the head probably 20 times throughout the day. It was a great day out away from cricket, painful, but great fun and can't say many of us left without looking like a game of dot to dot. 

Back at the club, a "Ram of the Month" is named by each team based on performances for the month. I was fortunate (and surprised!) to win Player of the Month for the Women's First team! I'm hoping that I can continue the good form from those games into the rest of my time here!  Saying that.... it's not been a good couple of games with the bat!

After the break in games, our next fixture was against Brighton at home and it was a nervy nail biter!! We managed to make 189 off our 45 overs, after a rocky start and few shaky moments throughout the batting innings. We started well with an early wicket, but their third wicket partnership started opening up and scoring quickly. At 134-2 off 34 overs, they were looking set to cross the line easily. Then comes the mankad. Prior to the start of the season, the new laws of cricket were set that made mankading much clearer and if the batter is out of the crease prior to release of the ball, they are open to be run out; no warnings, no complications, as simple as that (MCC Laws of Cricket, not just the Aussies adding it in!). One of their batters, who was an experienced player was well over 3m out of her crease before our bowler had even got into her delivery stride, the chance to mankad was taken and the batter was given out. As you can imagine, it did not go down well with the opposition! However, it changed the situation of the game and led to a start of wickets for our side. The real heroes were our young gun bowlers who bowled out of their skins, two 14 year olds bowling at the death holding their nerve! One going for 10 off her final 4 overs!!  We ended up winning by 2 runs, and despite the controversy of the mankad, nothing can be taken away from young guns who held it together at the end!

The weather has also started getting warmer, and for us Brits, it is what I'd call "peak UK summer". So when I said in the field "god it's a bit warm isn't it", immediately I was told that I was going to melt when summer hits. The hotter days also means coaching at TopLine, inside, with no ventilation and air-con, can only be described as the Sahara desert. The freezer filled with Tip Tops or Icey Poles as they are known here is a gift from god!

Alongside coaching at TopLine, I have also started working for Cricket Victoria, coaching their new Social Sixes programme which is a concept very similar to the Women's Softball Festivals in the UK, trying to get as many women who don't have the opportunities to play cricket or looking for a more social aspect than a team set up as possible.  It's a great programme to be a part of and different to coaching the younger age groups like I would back home, so I am looking forward to the challenge.

Our next game was against Melton, who we'd played earlier in the season already. Despite looking like a first class road, it turned out that the pitch was slow and low resulting in a very low scoring game. Melton batted first and scored 109/9 off their 45 overs, something we would have felt comfortable chasing. Complacency is never a good thing! Wickets falling in clusters and very few partnerships built resulted in us being bowled out for 87. No excuses from our end, we just simply didn't play well enough. Accept it and move on! Our one dayers have now finished till the middle of Feb and its into the T20 Comp. We are up a division for the T20s which means a much bigger challenge for us as a team with stronger oppositions and one I can't wait to get stuck into and challenge myself against the stronger teams.

In the last month I have also moved in with our captain Maddie for the remainder of my stay here. We have managed to take a few trips into Melbourne city centre with a couple of the girls showing me some of the sights. Sitting on the bank of the Yarra having a drink was a pretty decent view!

Final update from me is that I've finally got round to buying my Boxing Day test tickets at the MCG! Actual boxing day is sold out (unsurprisingly) but we've got some cracker seats for Day 3 which everyone tells me is probably the best day to go anyway. Big thanks goes out to the Wales girls and coaches who all chipped in together so I could buy tickets to the test.

Till next time!

(If you were waiting for the poem, it has been written but a yet to be recited at selection dinner, watch this space, it's coming!)

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