Cricketers' far-flung adventure
CLUB cricket will take a back seat for two Blackwater junior cricketers this week, as they prepare to embark on their first cricket tour on foreign shores.
Julian Harris and Almeroe de Nysschen will pad up for the touring Rockhampton under-16 representative side which jets out to New Zealand today.
It will be far from Julian's first representative appearance with a Central Queensland representative side, but it will be the youngster's first trip overseas and first ever plane flight.
If Julian was feeling a little nervous he certainly wasn't showing it, preferring instead to focus on his immediate cricketing duties.
"Nah, not really (nervous)," the batting all-rounder chuffed.
"It will be a tough competition.
"I've just got to go hard I suppose."
Young Al was similarly upbeat about his first overseas cricket tour.
"I'm a bit nervous but kind of excited as well," he said.
The 12-man touring team was left with a two-player deficit last year, and Al and Julian's names were next on the list for selection.
"A couple of Rockhampton kids pulled out and they asked if Julian wanted to go," mum Lyn said.
"They have had the final training and are playing pretty much every day while they're over there."
Comfortable any time in a set of cricket whites, both youngsters might now feel equally at home with a bucket and sponge in hand.
Car washing has been a regular part of the cricket tour's annual fundraising efforts, with Julian and Al right in the thick of it.
"If we weren't driving in for cricket, it was the car wash," Lyn said.
When they're not challenging our neighbours across the Tasman, both cricketers side with Rockhampton club, Gracemere, in the under-17 competition.
Already, in just his first season, Julian has an impressive half-century under his belt for the Gracemere club.
With the occasional stint with their local Blackwater club often on the cards as well, the pair have grown accustomed to seeing their names together on the same scoresheet.
But knowing each other's playing abilities inside and out isn't always an advantage as Al explains.
"When we played in the Ian Healy invitational match, Julian played on one side and I played on the other," he said. "(And) he was giving away all my weaknesses."
The side will play four one-day matches in and around the Auckland area, and squeeze in the occasional side trip for sight seeing.