Nicky's blog from Down Under - 1
Thursday 25th November 2010

Ormskirk Cricket Club pace bowler Nicky Caunce has escaped the cold English winter to play cricket in sunny Australia but it has hardly stopped raining since he arrived in Melbourne to join South Caulfield CC. In the first of a regular series of articles from Down Under, Nicky talks about the weather, the lifestyle and the strange mood of pessimism amongst Aussies over the 2010-11 Ashes Series which started in Brisbane early this morning...

"Aussies are normally a confident lot when it comes to sport. So it is a pretty strange feeling right now to be Down Under at the start of an Ashes Series and experience a mood of pessimism. The Australian fans just aren't sure what they are going to get this time around against the old enemy England. Their team hasn't been playing well, no one has been scoring many runs in State cricket, and with England looking good and hitting the ground running when they arrived here at the start of the month, the mood is not what it has been for past series on home soil. England are favourites, which isn't something we are used to for a series in Australia.

"As we all know you can never write the Aussies off because they have a habit of pulling things out of the bag when the chips are down, but I'm going to back England for a 2-1 win and I hope I'm right. It's good fun right now playing with Aussies in club cricket. The banter is great and, being a Pom, I'm lapping up that feeling of apprehension amongst the locals. Now the series is up and running I'm looking forward to winding them up even more. So all we need now is for England to produce the goods.

"This is my second winter with South Caulfield and I am here until late January. I'm hoping to get some sun on my back and play some good standard cricket to prepare myself for next summer back home with Ormskirk and Lancashire.

"The only problem since I got here has been the weather. In Melbourne, where I'm based, most of the games so far have been rained off. It's just like being in Manchester! The rain seems to come almost every Saturday, so it has been pretty frustrating for both myself and my Ormskirk team mate Simon Kerrigan who is also here at South Caulfield, but we have managed to play a couple of matches and it's good to be playing outdoors rather than just netting indoors. The reason I came over is it's good experience and a good challenge to play on the wickets over here.

"The first four weekends were all washed out, so it took almost a month before South Caulfield actually got some game time. We play in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association and we managed to win the first innings of our game against Yarraville, with both Simon and me making contributions. We totalled 162-8 and I managed to score an unbeaten 34. Yarraville were all out for 152, Simon bowling really well to finish with 5-45. I took 1-30.

"In the next round of matches against McKinnon both Simon and I took wickets to help bowl the opposition out for 135. He had 4-39 and I got 3-23. Our reply was 140-6 with Simon scoring 20 not out and me managing a superb one!

"Hopefully, by the time I'm finished out here, I will have got a lot more cricket under my belt and I will be able to return to England in the peak of condition ready to start preparing for our summer.

"I'm looking forward to what will be my fifth season in the Ormskirk first team and we are all full of confidence it can be a good one. We had a great season this year, winning the Echo Knockout and finishing second in the league.

"It was Ian Robinson's first season as captain and he skippered the side very well, both on and off the field. I'm sure that next year, with the experience he gained from last season, he will take us further. He brought a few young lads through who were all a success. Gavin Griffith bowled very well at 16 years old and I'm sure he will go on and have a very successful career. Also Jonny Glayzer and Chris Smith played key roles in their first full seasons.

"From a personal view I thought I had a good season. I took 55 wickets in the league at an average of 12. Hopefully I can do a bit better with the bat next summer. I scored a few fifties in the cups, but I didn't convert that form to the league.

"At Lancashire I had a good summer. It was my first full season at Old Trafford. I feel I learned a lot. I have just signed a one year scholarship extension so hopefully I can learn a few more things and improve enough to compete for a spot in the first team at Old Trafford."

(first appeared in the Ormskirk Advertiser)