Lymington's overseas player Karl Whatham had to wait three weeks to make his Southern Premier League debut, but once he stepped on to the field of play at Ventnor it didn't take the 22 year old Aussie long to demonstrate his First Grade pedigree.
The 6ft 2 all-rounder from Sydney was Lymington's man of the match, scoring 80 runs and bagging 5 wickets as Lymo beat their old Island rivals by 17 runs. Karl batted for the majority of Lymington's 50 overs, weathering a tricky patch early on and adding quick runs later in his innings to take the score well past the 200 mark. Karl was equally effective with the ball, dismissing both Ventnor openers and eventually taking 5 for 41.
It's been quite a culture shock for Karl as he learns about the differences between English and Australian cricket. For instance, he'd never played an 18 over slog before arriving in England, and a Sunday friendly match in Australia is about as likely as Meg Gannaway ordering a pint of lager! The early-season pudding wickets have been a bit of an eye-opener too, and we doubt if Karl has batted on many wickets as soggy as the one at Langley Manor where he could quite possibly have had a cup of tea and read a newspaper before the ball reached him!
Karl has already taken over the nickname of 'Golden Arm' from the departed Wayne Smith after grabbing 13 wickets in just 4 matches. His prodigious outswing has already bamboozled a few batsmen, although it was Karl's cunning leg-spin that accounted for his last two victims in the Sunday friendly with Fawley.
It hasn't been easy for Karl to adapt to life in Lymington. A bout of chronic homesickness wasn't helped by the awful English weather, and at one stage Karl must have wondered if it was ever going to stop raining. Even at Ventnor, while everyone else was basking in the glorious Island sunshine, Karl could be seen shivering in his long sleeved sweater!
Fellow club members, Adie Hunt in particular, have been helping to keep the quiet Aussie occupied. A trip to St Marys to watch Southampton play Newcastle has (hopefully) converted Karl into a Saints fan, while clay pidgeon shooting and numerous visits to the Thomas Tripp have also been on the agenda. This Sunday he has been invited to play at the beautiful Arundel ground for the Duchess of Ringwood's XI versus the Sussex Martlets. Karl hopes to get out and see plenty of the country before he returns home.
Karl's early-season form for the club may have been sensational, but it's his propensity to consume takeaways that has really caught the eye. A recent trip to the Kebab Shop saw Karl order a large kebab AND a pizza. And this only a few hours after bingeing out at KFCs! At this rate he may have to book an extra wide seat for his flight home at the end of the season!