My Cricket Experience in Melbourne
Words Rory Bentley
It’s been more than great cricket. I only spent five weeks in Melbourne, but it was filled with exploration, curiosity and adventure.
I booked my Sport Lived experience merely a week before I flew across the world to Melbourne. Despite being heavily jet lagged, my first few days were an amazing induction into the infrastructure and culture of the city. I was signed up to play club cricket in the city, but after an extra batting session with a professional coach, I was offered a chance to play Victorian Premier cricket with Frankston Peninsular CC. Although it took me an hour to get to Frankston on the train, I made lots of friends with cricketers at a club where their training and matches are conducted with an infectious professionalism. I trained with Parkville District CC on Tuesdays and at Frankston on Thursdays. Both were very welcoming to the new Pom in their ranks.
I played 2nd XI Premier cricket for Frankston and won all my games. I learned a lot from how the senior players approached the game with bat and in the field. Playing two-day games across two weekends, the tactics of the game oscillated frequently, but the simple things for me, as a batsman, remained constant: patience, discipline, and diligence.
Away from the pitch and the nets, I was never bored. Along with other Sport Lived sportsmen, who quickly became good friends, we toured the MCG, watched the Big Bash final and a Super Rugby match, went to the top of the Eureka sky-deck, relaxed at Brighton and St Kilda beaches, enjoyed the nightlife of the CBD, and travelled down the Great Ocean Road for three days.
The Great Ocean Road trip will be three of the most memorable days my life - of that I’m sure. Not only was the geography and scenery spectacular, but the experience of covering 1000 kilometres of the coast in blistering sunshine with great friends was unforgettable.
The Sport Lived social events included a beach lunch followed by paddle-boarding at Brighton Baths, drinks at the Arbory Afloat, an open air cinema trip, and a surfing lesson followed by a visit to the Ballarat Wildlife Park. We were brilliantly looked after. From setting up Medicare and a bank account, to being put in touch with elite coaches and being taken to and from the airport, Kathy and Jessie were always on hand to help make our experiences extraordinary.
I made great friends, visited astonishing places, and saw a brilliant city during my five weeks in Melbourne, even though I went to Melbourne to play cricket. Despite my time in Melbourne being far more than just cricket, the lessons I have learned from playing Victorian Premier cricket has given me a great deal of confidence and knowledge going into the rapidly-approaching English season. Although, I don’t think I’ll be fielding in 38 degree heat again any time soon!