Tara Norris in Australia (October & November)

Date: 15th December 2016

“I have played my first game for Prahran 1st XI. The standard was really good especially for club cricket – similar to county women’s league. We played a team called Dandenong. We bowled them out for 106 and chased it down in 19 overs with the help of Jess Cameron (Australian player) and Annabelle Sutherland (upcoming Australian player who is just 15 years old).

The only thing I can’t get my head around is that even though Cricket Australia put so much money into club cricket, clothing, facilities and coaches, we still have to put the covers on! I don’t mean the ones you roll on, I mean old school sheets of covers that go on one by one which are also really heavy, so when it’s windy (which it has been every game so far) it’s almost impossible putting the covers on!

Every Thursday the men’s and women’s team train together and after we have a selection dinner. This is when all the men’s and women’s team come together, have dinner and the teams for the weekend are announced. It quite a big deal here because if players move up in squads everyone knows and the players get a big cheer. I was really surprised they did this because I’m just used to an email a couple night before a game! They also just hand out $300 gift voucher for the player of the rounds every week! This would never happen in club cricket or even county cricket!

The great thing is that all the men’s and women’s teams are integrated and get on so well. Even at Sussex the men’s and women’s cricket is very separate but here there’s so much interest in women’s cricket and vice versa for the men and lots of respect for all grades.

I’ve been given a few coaching gigs at schools and clubs and the amount of kids that turn up in their own lunch break to play cricket is ridiculous. We’ll get at least 30 girls aged 10-12 who turn up and already know how to bowl and bat with a pretty decent technique. This is usually because they play with their brothers or are just taught from a young age.
All the players are so keen for cricket and take pride in their work ethic when they train which is very admirable.  There’s lots of sport in England, but in Australia it’s encouraged so much more to play sport and at such a younger age as well.

I’ve also realised that Australia have a bank holiday for just about anything!  For example during the AFL final (Australian football league- Aussie rules) everyone had a bank holiday just to ‘prepare’ for the final the next day. Melbourne cup day is coming up (1st November) which is like the Grand National for us. But for some reason this involves a 4 day celebration and getting a day off as well!

As for the weather, it’s been very disappointing because I’ve already had a game rained off! Everywhere else in Australia the temperature is mid 20s…apart from Melbourne. Some days it will rain all day and others it will be 23 degrees and it can change within minutes because the weather is so unpredictable here! Hopefully around mid November the summer will start to kick in as it’s still only spring and it will be much better for cricket.”

We wish Tara the very best as she continues her incredible journey in Australia, as well as a pleasant Christmas (it won’t be a cold one!) and be sure to check in after the Christmas break to find out what she has been up to over December.

Until then, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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