Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Net Session With Greg Ritchie

On Friday the Townsville Crocodiles held a luncheon with former Test Cricketer Wayne Phillips as the MC and Greg Ritchie as the guest speaker.

Phillips has MCed a few functions for the Crocs and he is quite the entertainer (this can be seen below in the video footage as he never lets the truth get in the road of a good story).

But once I saw Ritchie's Andrew Vlahovesque frame mount the stage it reminded me of a childhood memory involving both myself and Ritchie.

In my youth growing up in Toowoomba I rather fancied myself a Test batsman and not an Olympic basketballer.

Ritchie was kind enough to return to his childhood stomping grounds and contact a cricket clinic for kids while on break from Test cricket.

With my Greg Chappell Grey Nic single scoop packed the night before and fresh pen packed and ready for "Fat Cat" to sign it the next day, the clinic could not come quick enough.

It was your tradition clinic in that you got to bat in the nets for 15 minutes while the rest of the young punters tried their best to bring the "automatic wickie" into play as they worked on their out swing bowling. Then every so often Ritchie would roll the arm over so you could go to school the next day and tell all your mates you faced an Aussie player in the nets.

Then it was my turn. Back in the day I was know to be more Bruce Laird (yes, you will need to research him yourself) than Adam Gilchrist with the willow in hand.

Well, I had been watching "Fat Cat" roll the arm over for the past 2 hours (and you could see why he was thrown the ball for only 1 over during his Test career) so I was going to make the most of his long hops to me.

I was textbook sound for the first 10 minutes until Ritchie pipes up, "my tune". Ritchie waddles in and attempts a leggie. Now the highlight of the day, but worst part of the day was about to occur.

It was slow motion, like how the movies do it. I was Sir Viv Richards for one shot and it worked. Graceful footwork to the pitch of the ball and right off the middle of the bat. The ball sailed over the netting that surrounded the practice area. All mid wicket could have done was watch that ball fly over his head for six. I'm thinking this is a thing of beauty and Ritchie will appreciate that stroke. (If you ever saw him bat, boundaries meant he did not have to try and run.)

Instead, I hear, "you can go and take your pads off for such a wreckless shot like that."

"No worries," I said to myself.

Disappointed I did not get to bat my allotted time but I certainly went home with a smile on the dial knowing I had taken to a local Test hero.

Oh, and the pen stayed in the bag as well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love hearing stories like that!

keep em coming

Fat Cat was VERY funny the other day, as was Flipper...