Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cowboys Shooting Stars and Off To China

Ray Cashmere has the touch of a sledgehammer when it comes to hoops!

Early this week, the Cowboys made their annual pilgrimage to the Crocs Club for a training session. Now I know potential for a good story when I see it, so I made sure to grab my seat early so that I could enjoy the show.

Now, I know I enjoy breaking up the monotony of the daily routine at the stage of the season the Cowboys are at. The body language of the Cowboys seemed to demonstrate that they were happy to have a change of scenery, as well.

Under the tutelage of Croc coaches Trevor Gleeson and Rohan Short, the big boys were put through an array of drills that showed off the best (and worst) of their basketball skills.

One spectacle I thoroughly enjoyed was watching Scott Tronic attempting to dribble two basketballs simultaneously. If I didn’t know any better, I might be inclined to think that someone accidentally slipped him a couple of footballs for the drill. I have never seen two perfectly round balls bounce in so many different directions.

The best cheering and jeering, however, was truly saved for last in the form of a ‘winner takes all’ shooting competition.

My personal winners for the day would be:
Sione Faumuina, for the closest thing I saw to textbook shooting form
Jonathon Thurston, for his uncanny ability to talk (yes, talk) his shots into going into the basket.

However, the final two men left standing to battle it out for the right to be named “Best Shooting Cowboy” were Aaron Payne and Ray Cashmere.

You could tell Payne had gone to fellow local legend Kelvin Robertson for some shooting tips while Cashmere brought all the delicate touch of a sledgehammer to the court.

Big Ray showed he had some brain to go with the braun en route to the finals when he discovered a loop hole in the rules and used it to his advantage in preliminary rounds.

The final could have aptly been named “Rumble in the Jungle”. These guys went shot for shot until fatigue got the better of the front rower.

To the crowd’s delight, Payne won the chocolates and will now be looking for a piece of his mentor Robertson.

After the Cowboys session finished up, Thurston was hanging around like a bad smell and wanted to measure himself up against one of the best shooters in the country, yours truly.

Now some of you may recall a charity sporting challenge JT and I were supposed to have last year that involved me kicking some goals and JT shooting hoops. That head to head match up didn’t eventuate. And maybe I should have taken it easier on him the other day because I don’t see him fronting up for another challenge after our most recent session of hoops and trash talk.

I’m hoping his ego has recovered in time for Wednesday’s clash against the Cockroaches.

Unfortunately, I won’t be around to see whether he has recovered or not. I have been asked to assist Andrew Gaze in coaching a touring team to China.

The team will be made up of some of our younger NBL talent. Some names you might be familiar who will be amongst the team include former Crocs Peter Crawford, Cameron Tragardh and Greg Vanderjadt.

The tour will be a fantastic opportunity for these players, as they will be matching up against the Chinese National team that may feature NBA All Star Yao Ming, provided he has recovered from injury.

The two games played will be broadcast live throughout China and will be shown in various other countries throughout Asia. This is the type of exposure most of these guys dream of.

I am looking forward to an opportunity to work side by side with one of the country’s all time best basketball players in Gaze. I’ll have more to report upon my return.

You can find my article in Saturday's Townsville Bulletin.


DJ Rod said...

it makes you wonder how or why we lost those 3 talented youngsters.

Add Ben Knight and Brad Davidson to that list and look at what we have let slip through our fingers

John Rillie said...

DJ Rod;

Sometimes the players wish to leave themselves. It becomes an agreement between two parties but if one does not want the other..see you later. It does go both ways.

DJ Rod said...

good point - that is why you write the columns!