It is fair to say that Harry Brook was very happy with his hundred at the weekend here in Sydney as he helped his grade side to another win.
Things are going pretty well for Brooky. He scored an unbeaten 100 opening the batting as University of New South Wales chased down 180 pretty comfortably to beat Manly, and they are now top of the first grade league.
It was perhaps a different innings to what we are used to seeing from him. He said to myself and Matthew Waite that he was very patient and was quite happy that he’d succeeded in that manner with exactly 100 off 180 balls.
Brooky’s always working on his game. He spends more time on his game than anyone I’ve ever seen. He’s always doing extra bits.
YorkshireCCC</a> youngster <a href="https://twitter.com/harry_brook88?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">harry_brook88 takes
UNSW_Cricket</a> to victory over <a href="https://twitter.com/MWDCC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">MWDCC #TeamICP pic.twitter.com/J6xRuXKpAK
— Int Cricket Prog (@IntCricketProg) December 8, 2018
I’m sure the patience side of his batting is something he’s looking to work on whilst he’s out here.
We know how destructive he can be and how he goes through the gears, but he also has the ability to bat for a long time. For him, it’s about trying to find the balance.
It is quite a surprise to see his side top of the table.
Apart from Brooky as a professional, they only have another young lad called Matthew Gilkes, who is up and coming. Those two are their main players.
Then you look at teams like Sutherland with Smith and Watson and you’d think they’d be top.
Although I didn’t get a hundred, I played in a similar fashion for Mosman against Eastern Suburbs in scoring 49 not out in a defeat.
It was a game we should have won on a decent pitch. We were chasing 253 and lost, with Stuart Meaker running through us with eight-for.
Unfortunately, we are struggling at the wrong end of the table as our top order isn’t really firing.
We had left ourselves with a big task ahead of the second day on Saturday. We had 20 overs to bat before close on day one and were 60-4, employing two nightwatchmen.
That meant I batted down at number nine.
Being honest, I was very rusty for the first 15-20 runs. I haven’t been in the best of form, so I said to myself ‘Give yourself time’. It was the perfect opportunity to spend some time in the middle and build some confidence.
Giving myself time is a key point for me. It always has been. I know that I score quickly enough once I’m in.
Once I got through that initial rustiness, I felt much better and played some decent shots. I hit well straight, which is a big positive. I know I’m playing well if I do that.
Fingers crossed, that is a turning point.
Meaker bowled really well, with good pace and skill. He also got it reversing, which the lads struggled with.
Without the wickets, it sounds like Waitey was also quite happy with how he bowled for Bankstown in their defeat against Campbelltown.
He got through 18 overs and felt he went pretty well.
We only have one more game before the break for Christmas. It is a two-day game this weekend and next. Then we don’t play again for three weeks.
Brooky said to us the other day ‘We may only have five or six innings left before we come home’. That’s still nine or 10 weeks away.
That’s the difference between Aussie cricket and back home, where we’d bat a handful of times a week at various levels. Here, you might bat once in four weeks dependent on how things go and the luck of the weather.
The ICP training camp we’ve all been on also finishes this week.
We had some fitness testing on Monday to gauge where we’re at.
We still have half a pre-season to go before we come home and go to South Africa on tour, but all three of us are in good shape.
We’re keeping each other on top of that because we don’t even want one of us going back in poor shape because it would reflect badly on all three of us. You’d question why one of us wasn’t saying ‘Sort yourself out’.
Still, we will have a bit of downtime over Christmas.
Waitey has his missus over, so they’ll be doing their own thing with the family he lives with.
Myself and Brooky have booked a camper van to go to Byron Bay with a couple of the ICP lads. We’re going on the 23rd and are there for Christmas Day. We might also head to the Gold Coast for a few days. That should be good fun.
My parents get here on the 30th and are here until about January 14th. They get to see me play a one-day game against Fairfield before they go home.
We’ll also get to the Test at the SCG in the New Year.
Christmas is going to be quite different for me. I’ve never experienced anything other than an English Christmas, and it’s one of my favourites times of year with the cold weather. But I’m sure it will be fun out here too.
Despite the three-week break from games, we will still be training.
The lads from the ICP are still out here, and we’ve made quite a good group of mates. So it might just be a matter of putting some money together and booking the SCG nets out for an hour and a half and tick over that way.
The fitness stuff takes care of itself. All three of us are members of a gym.
We’ve also said as a three that we’ll probably do some fitness testing each week from halfway through January just so we can hit the markers we need to before coming home.
We are also hopeful of getting in some net bowling for one of the Sydney based Big Bash teams, which would be great if it happened.
There are people at Mosman who have links with the teams, as they have at Bankstown where Waitey is. That would be a big boost to our preparations ahead of the summer.