While local youngsters Lachie Monks and Landon Blisset head off to the Old Dart this week on a huge cricketing adventure, one of their older Great Lakes Cricket Club counterparts has already landed.
Dolphins' B Grade opening bowler Damien Bestwick flew out on the weekend with another tour group specialising in sporting tours.
The Wanderers Australia is a self-funded group which arranges trips for many age groups to various world locations in a number of sports.
The popular and hardworking Bestwick, who along with his family and their Bestwick Earthmoving business, is a major sponsor of the local seniors, found out about the opportunity and jumped on board.
After doing well in the first part of last season in the Manning District Cricket Competition and being a long-term player with the club, Bestwick suffered a season-ending shoulder injury which saw him miss the second half of the Dolphins' march to the local grand final.
As a player who has always worked hard at his game, it was a major disappointment but he continued his rehabilitation and managed to get some games in via the new indoor comp at Stingers Sports in Tuncurry.
Being a bowler who likes to rip and bowl as fast as he can, Damien will find the English wickets a bit different to here and knows he'll have to recapture his early season form, when he was becoming more consistent with getting the ball up and at the sticks.
And his team mates will no doubt be interested to hear how he progresses with his swinging of the willow, something he always loves to do with vigour.
As a recent member of the Mid North Coast Mavericks indoor squad and the Taree Wild Aces in the last man standing roving full-time squad, Damien has played a range of cricket styles and standards, but was hugely excited about this trip.
"I can't wait and just know it will be a beaut opportunity to learn more about the game," he commented before departure.
"I'm excited to see the local scene and play in different conditions to here, but also to just experience the culture of cricket over there where it is such a full on setup."
The tour will be led by experienced coaches and managers who are leading cricket figures in their region. Past coaches include former test players and State coaches.
The team will tour Lords and possibly have a net session there, see all the sights in London, play against local clubs and representative teams and finish with some time in Paris at the end of the tour, including a visit to the WW1 battlefields of the Somme.
Subject to fixtures and ticket availability, they will also be looking to attend a world cup game or two in England.
Having secured tickets to the Aussies' next game against South Africa, Damien may even run into his younger club mates as they are scheduled to be in Manchester for the same game.
It's quite unique to have club members of different ages end up touring at the same time and comes just after well-known local rep player Tom Burley completed a tour of Scotland with The Emu Club.
He and others from around NSW and QLD who toured, like the Great Lakes lads, will no doubt be thankful for all the support they've received from various team mates, coaches and parents.
As for all sporting clubs and communities, it's wonderful that young people work hard and enjoy the privileges they are presented by being a member of teams.
No doubt Damien will return with his younger Great Lakes Cricket Club players inspired and ready to rip in for another season of our great Aussie game.
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