WHEN most local sportsmen were dusting off the studs and pulling on the footy jersey for last year’s winter season, there were two exceptions.
Mitch Roberts and Calvin Murray packed away the whites and cricket bat for a season of cricket played on the other side of the world.
The two Central Highlands cricketers jumped at the chance to throw the willow around in England earlier this year after discovering offers from English clubs on the internet.
“They were advertising for players, so I sent them a few bits and pieces and got it,” Roberts said.
“They paid for my flights, accommodation and got me a job labouring as a roof tiler.”
Roberts’ first introduction to English cricket was short and sharp - he was bowled for a duck in his opening innings.
The former Clermont batsman recovered well by his third match, posting the season’s highest individual total for the Kings Langley club of 134 not out, and a season average of 64.6 runs.
Arriving from the warmth of Tieri, the 22-year-old said the English weather took a bit of adjustment.
“It was different – the first month was pretty cold but once I got settled in it was pretty good,” he said.
With his visa valid for two years and offers from the Kings club to return for the next English summer, Roberts hopes to be saving the pennies ready for another season.
While Roberts was slogging it all around the park for Kings Langley, Emerald all-rounder Calvin Murray was padding up for Birmingham League side, Penn Cricket Club.
Murray, better known in English circles as Shaggy from Scooby Doo, said one of the biggest differences playing in England and one of the more difficult aspects was the damp field conditions.
“It’s a bit different playing on wet pitches – they just lay a bit of saw-dust down,” he said.
When not in his whites, Calvin assisted the groundsmen at the cricket field and worked briefly behind an English bar to cover costs.
A chance meeting with fellow Australian player Roberts, not in England but in Germany, brought home the local spirit.
“I pretty much just ran into him while I was in Munich for Octoberfest in Munich.”
It’s no rest for Murray who was straight back into the Central Highlands season with Emerald Brothers.
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