Former Lymington player Aaron Heal has enjoyed an incredible start to the new Australian season. The slow left arm bowler from Perth was selected for Western Australia's first Pura Cup inter-state fixture of the season against Victoria and grabbed 4-48 in Victoria's first innings including the wicket of Shane Warne. However, things got even better for Aaron – who played for Lymington in the 2002 season – in WA's next match against Tasmania when he became only the third Western Australian spinner to take ten wickets in a state game at the Waca ground which is notoriously unfriendly for spin bowlers. He took 5-103 in Tasmania's first innings and then 5-57 in the second including the prize wicket of Michael Bevan. Batting at number 8 behind the likes of Justin Langer and Hampshire's Sean Ervine, Aaron then hit a swift 14 as WA fell just 6 runs short of a remarkable last day win after Taz had set them an improbable 401 victory target.
Interestingly, the Western Australia side includes several other ex-Southern League stars. Former Bournemouth batsman Adam Voges scored an unbeaten 152 in the Tasmania match and is widely tipped for national honours, while Aaron had ex-Bashley wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi to thank for assistance in 6 of the 10 wickets he took in the match. Ronchi and another former Bashley man Shawn Gillies were recently selected to represent Australia at the forthcoming international 6-a-side tournament in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, other ex-Lymington players are also doing well for their respective teams. In Perth, Matt Bowdler has been elevated to Melville's Second Grade side since returning from England and has scored 29 and 30 not out in his most recent match. Over in Sydney, Karl Whatham has returned to Balmain and been among the runs, while former Lymington favourite Tim Smith is now topping the averages for Balmain's Fourth Grade side. Allegedly, the big man is hoping to pay a visit to his old haunting ground next summer – let's hope Lymo's bar's well stocked when he arrives! Finally, we are sad to report that super-slogger Pete Smith has been forced to retire from competitive cricket due to injury. Whilst this is unquestionably bad news for the Balmain spectators, it's not such bad news for the residents of nearby properties who can once more safely venture into their gardens on a Saturday afternoon!
You can track Aaron's progress at Western Australia's official website: www.waca.com.au, while news of Karl and Tim Smith can be at found at Balmain's excellent and entertaining website: www.utsbalmaincricket.org.au