CQ Centurions and Emerald Brothers trio Cameron Keene, Craig Cullen and Joey Pratt celebrate the winning the NQ Championships.
CQ Centurions and Emerald Brothers trio Cameron Keene, Craig Cullen and Joey Pratt celebrate the winning the NQ Championships. Contributed

'She is the only reason I still play'

CRICKET: One look down at the words carved into his willow and Cameron Keene begins his slow walk to the crease.

He takes mark, checks the field and looks at his bat a second time.

'Abigail Rose Zonca'.

A sudden death in a small town hits harder than the smoky city skies.

You would be forgiven for walking away in self-pity and letting the overwhelming grief take control.

It has been a torrid month for the Emerald Brothers cricketer and the mining town itself after the shock passing of 20-year-old Abigail.

Boyfriend Cameron wore the brunt of the tragedy.

Not that you'd know it given his on-field form.

"She is a continuing source of inspiration for me and the only reason I still play cricket," Cameron said.

"I just play a few songs that remind me of her, have a quick look at the bat and go about my business.

"She always forced me to be the best person I can be and she thought it was through cricket.

"From day one she was my biggest supporter. Every time I go out to bat I realise why I still play the game."

 

Cameron Keene smashes one to the boundary for Brothers.
Cameron Keene smashes one to the boundary for Brothers. Matty Holdsworth

Cameron's last three innings for Brothers have been superb, 64, 48 and 79*, littered in between, solid scores in representative cricket.

For a girl who knew nothing about cricket, Abigail became a lover and student of the game.

"She didn't really have a choice," he smiled.

"I pretty much forced it upon her. She didn't know much about cricket, she loved her sport but not cricket so much.

"Funnily, the first game she watched was the Bulls Masters and I got a golden duck. She fed it to me for that, but kept coming back.

"When I scored my first 100 she was there. I remember looking over and she was the only one I could hear from the stands. It was inspiring."

Abigail's name carved into his bat is more than that, a reminder, a muse and a guide.

"That was highly important to me. Pretty much my way of remembering and honouring her.

"The Brothers family are always there. They have helped me out a lot. I know they are there for me.

"I just want to achieve the highest possible level I can attain. That and another premiership with Brothers."

While she won't be taking her place in the stands, she will be there for every run, wicket and catch through Cameron. Rest in Peace, Abigail.


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