Second XI saviour returns home - exclusive interview!

MattSo Matt, have you enjoyed your time in England?
MB: It's been great. Everyone's been great. The people I've been staying with have been really great.

Great! So what's the best thing you've done since you've been here?
MB: Meeting everyone at Lymo was great. I've met so many great people at the club. I've enjoyed my nights out with the lads at the club and also my nights out with the boys in Bournemouth. I really can't think of any negatives about my time here.

Hang on - what about the visa fiasco? Surely that's a 50 storey high negative with the word 'NEGATIVE' written on the top in huge neon flashing letters?
MB: Thanks for reminding me about that! I just want to forget all about it. All I wanted to do was play cricket for Lymington.

What was your first impression of Lymington CC?
MB: Coming from quite a big club in Australia, I guess I was expecting Lymington to be a bit bigger. But to be honest the spirit within the club is probably better because it's much smaller.

Did you do better or worse on the field than you expected?
MB: I thought that Second XI cricket over here would be maybe like Third Grade back home, but in fact it was nowhere near as good, so I actually did a lot better than I was expecting to do. I was hoping to average 40, but I actually ended up with an average of 60 which I was pleased with.

What was your best performance?
MB: The 114 against Petersfield and the 130 at Canford stand out. I also hit my first ever six while I was here which seemed like quite a big thing at the time, but I've hit loads since.

MattAnd what was your worst performance?
MB: The week before my century against Petersfield I was batting and I thought the bowler was a lot quicker than he actually was and I lobbed one straight back to him. It was the softest dismissal ever!

What about the 'incident' in the Canford game?
MB: Um, I'd just got to my ton and I absolutely middled one straight to the keeper. As I'm a non-walker I waited for the umpire to give me out but he'd obviously not heard the loud thwack of the ball on the bat or spotted the huge deviation, so I stayed where I was. The wicketkeeper went berserk, calling me every name under the sun. He even tried to rugby tackle me a bit later when I was taking a single!

What's the best ground you played on?
MB: Canford or Calmore - cos I did well at both! Canford is just awesome. I couldn't believe it was just a school - I thought it was a big university or something. There's like a massive castle right behind the sightscreen! I liked Calmore cos it has huge trees all the way round. US Portsmouth was pretty good too.

And the worst?
MB: It has to be Rockbourne. We played there against South Wilts and the pitch was so soft. I swear to God that if I'd punched the wicket my fist would've disappeared into the turf! Mind you, I was part of a hat-trick that night, so that probably predujudices my choice!

100+ at Canford
Matt and the Canford 'castle'

Do you think you'll be a better player when you arrive home?
MB: I hope so cos my clubmates Adam Voges and Shawn Gillies came over and did well on returning to Perth. Unfortunately any fitness I built up has been blown away by the last fortnight's travelling.

What was the best thing you did in England?
MB: I enjoyed showing the English girls the Aussie way! The travelling to Ireland and Europe was good too, and I liked visiting your English pubs. It's strange but back home we don't have what you'd call a 'local pub'. Over here, if you're bored you can just walk to the pub!

We gather you had a few problems getting into nightclubs. Did you get upset that people kept saying how young you looked?
MB: I get it all the time so it doesn't bother me much anymore. When I was in Dublin recently me and my mate (who's younger than me) tied to get into a club and they let him in but wouldn't believe that I was 18. I had all my ID but they still wouldn't believe me, not even when I showed them my passport!

Who are your favourite people you've met in England?
MB: The whole Hunt family have been incredibly great to me. Dan Wiggins is the biggest character I've ever met - he makes me laugh every time I meet him! I loved Guy Hayward too. He had such a lot of experience, and I wish I'd spent more time in his company cos he was hilarious.

A few of Matt's favourites: Guy Hayward, Dan Wiggins and the Hunts

What's your fondest abiding memory?
MB: Definitely on the last night at the clubhouse when me, Marty, Adie, Ed and Tom Thorp attempted the beer century (that's one shot of beer every minute for 100 minutes). I don't remember too much after that, except that Ed Molloy nicked the sofa so I had to sleep on the floor and I threw up all over the carpet!

Describe Peter Tapper in three words:
MB: Selfish, tight, but a good egg!

You went to St Mary's for a Saints game - did you enjoy it?
MB: It was great; a completely different experience to watching Aussie Rules back home. It was great to be in the Northam End singing and shouting abuse at the away fans. You don't get that at an Aussie Rules game.

You've spent all summer sleeping on a camp bed in Adie Hunt's lounge - will you be taking it with you when you leave?
MB: I should do really. My first impressions were: “How the hell am I gonna sleep on that for 4 months?”. But I grew to love that camp bed. Mind you, I wasn't too happy about being woken up at 6 o'clock every morning by Marty Hunt making his bloody fruit drinks in the blender!

Did you spot any potential young stars at Lymington?
MB: It's important to keep the youths playing when they're 16 to 20. If the current crop, such as Scott Tapper, Tom Thorp and Tom Hayward, can keep playing then there's a good future for the club.

Will you keep in touch with everyone?
MB: I'll try to keep in touch with as many as possible. I'm hoping to come back over next year, but it'll only be for a week or two due to university obligations.

Have you got a message for the members of Lymington CC?
MB: Yeah, I'd like to thank everyone who's helped me during my time here, and I'd like to thank everyone for the memories.

Finally, have you got a message for the poor sod who drove up to Heathrow three times to pick you up?
MB: How about: "Oi Adie! Put your shirt on, you nuffy! Yeah, you heard!"

Thanks Matt, I think we can safely say that you did 'GREAT'!

Matt and a few of his Lymo and Rockbourne teammates


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