WINTER: Callum Jackson's Blog from Down Under04-Nov-2013
So I have been in Australia for two weeks now and I have very much enjoyed it so far. The first night I arrived my hosts put on a BBQ cooking lots of meat and I knew I was going to be right at home!
The journey over to Australia was not a bad one; however my baggage was several kilos overweight. As you can imagine trying to pack for 5 months with cricket kit is not easy! But with the help of the guys at Emirates Airline at Gatwick I did not have to leave anything behind!
The weather has been extremely volatile since I have arrived. Within the first few days of my arrival temperatures reached of over 30 degrees, very hot for spring time even in Australia. This heat in turn sparked some intense bush fires. The closest of these bush fires was only a few kilometres away in the next suburb of Redhead. The smoke covered the sky and meant that in my first training session with my club, Charlestown, I was having a net in near darkness with smoke drifting across the ground at 6:00pm! This was an interesting start to my cricket down under. Then just as the UK was hit by the big storm we also had a huge thunder storm as a result of all the hot weather which washed out our training for a couple of days.
The pitches in Newcastle are not as the typical hard, fast and bouncy Australian cliché that I was expecting; rather they are very dry, low and flat. The new ball offers a bit of swing and seam movement but once you get through that the ball gets soft and the pitches don’t generally take much spin. It will be a challenge to adapt to these conditions in particular with my wicket keeping, with dealing with the low carry and the heat, but I am looking forward to challenging myself further.
I had my first match for the club last weekend and I managed to contribute with the bat which was nice. They are batting me at 3 and I am keeping. The Club train twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday I have been invited to train with the Newcastle District side every Wednesday afternoon. I have been doing keeping sessions with the other keepers at the club and should start having sessions with a NSW coach, Kerrie Thompson, next week. I’ve joined a really good local gym and have started the program I have been set by the Sussex Strength and Conditioning staff. I am also playing touch rugby for a club each week which is really hard work but fun, great for maintaining my fitness! One of the players at the club is a painter and decorator and I am working part time a couple of days a week for him, which is a new experience for me!
I am really enjoying the challenges that being away in Australia is setting me and looking forward to the season ahead down under.