Tara in Australia – a warm Christmas, family trip around Melbourne & wrapping up the season!

Date: 22nd January 2017

Maddie’s Vision Game

Our last game of the year was a league T20 match against our rival team, Box Hill, where two former Aldridge Cricket Academy students are play. However, this game was part of a charity event put on at our club to support Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision – which is a charity supporting people with bone marrow failure – you can read more about this charity here. This charity was put together by Maddie’s brother, Nick Riewoldt, who is an AFL (Australian Football League) star in Australia.

We had a crowd of about 900 people who came along to support the charity and the match. The game was streamed lived and we were fortunate enough to have commentary throughout the game, it was a massive event. We also received purple playing kit which was specifically made for this event, which included purple clads (coloured batting pads)! For me, this game was a fantastic opportunity but also an amazing learning curve, as I was bowling against Meg Lanning, who is currently the Australian Women’s Captain and one of the world’s leading players. I was fortunate enough to bowl against other Big Bash League players, which helped me test my variations and tactical awareness.

Unfortunately, Box Hill were the victors on this particular day, where we were left needing 4 off the last ball. Despite the result, it was a great challenge for me as a cricketer and a perfect way to raise funds for this brilliant charity.

Christmas in Australia

Waking up on Christmas morning in 30º weather is a definite shock to the system, after spending most Christmas’s in England! Heading down to the beach on Christmas morning was even more of a shock, but strangely, there were loads of people there, everyone wearing Christmas hats and some people even brought along their Christmas trees! Christmas is not nearly as celebrated as it is in the UK or USA, so for most of them, it was a normal day at the beach. But I must admit, I am still unsure if I liked the warm Christmas, it was definitely different but I did miss the roast dinner!

Travelling around Melbourne

Fortunately, my dad made the long flight out to see me for Christmas, which meant that during my time off, I could go travelling around Melbourne. I visited wildlife sanctuaries, went to numerous wineries and traveled the Great Ocean Road, which is the long coastal road of Victoria. You can drive all day along this road, with beaches on your left and rain-forest on your right. The views were spectacular. On the drive, there are touristy sites which are a must do, such as The 12 Apostles, Lorch Ard Gorge and others further down the road.

Back to the Cricket

Due to the Big Bash League being on at the moment, it is very easy to get tickets to the games. Etihad Stadium is great and holds 45 000 people but it is nothing compared to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) – this ground is simply amazing, holding up to 100 000 people, it is one of the best grounds in the world. I was fortunate enough to get Boxing Day tickets to the test match between Australia & Pakistan. I also managed to attend the Derby Cup match between Melbourne Stars & Melbourne Renegades, where there were 75 000 people and the atmosphere was incredible. Cricket is always broadcast on TV, regardless of where you are and it is seen to be quite a social thing to do, especially as a family, whether it is an evening at the ground or watching it on TV.

I have spent a large amount of time coaching young children out here, never once have I heard any of them discussing video games or FIFA, computers or technology. They discuss cricket and other sports that they may play, and I think that is largely because they are brought up with a more outdoor lifestyle, which is refreshing to see. As for me, I am currently back to training this week and only have 8 more games left of the season. After which, I will be travelling to Adelaide, Sydney & Fiji before I come home to start the English cricket season.


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