Wheatbelt cricket players hit the WACA

See more: Netball hits Beverley. 

Last Thursday and Friday (October 5 and 6) there were 30 boys from all parts of the region who made the trek down to the Western Australian Cricket Association for a day full of skills and strength components around playing cricket.

The day was organised by our regional cricket manager for the Wheatbelt, Melinda Lucas and the newly appointed country talent and coach development specialist from the WACA, Job Van Bunge.

The Thursday had the Under 11-13’s age groups, which totaled 10 boys. 

Friday had 20 boys in the U14-16’s age groups. 

Both days started with a batting skills session. 

Working in pairs to practice their pool shots, cut shots, cover drives and then sweep shots. 

While rotating through the group, being filmed as everyone individually with the bowling machine.

Following that the boys had the privilege to get a tour around the WACA grounds visiting the best parts thanks to Museum staff member Steve Hall. 

They got to visit the Willow room with all the stumps cut up with signatures on them, then over to look at the gallery of greats and the Sheffield Shield 50-year history of players. 

Walking around to the Walk of Fame on the members side of the oval, going up to level four and five, visiting the media and broadcast centers where the journalists would be on game days; and it was a terrific view I might add. 

A quick look around in the players change rooms, which the group on Friday had the honour of seeing the Warriors gear laid out for the training later that day.

They counted that Shaun Marsh has seven pairs of batting gloves. 

Last stop was up inside the WACA scoreboard, which has three levels for those who weren’t aware, seeing what makes the few remaining manual scoreboards tick. 

All the hours of preparation the workers must do to make sure everything runs smoothly on game day.

Including painting last minute team lists changes onto a new name board for the games.

A Subway lunch for all players at this point was provided, of which there wasn’t many leftovers. 

The boys grabbed their hats and water bottles before we all walked to Langley Park for the strength and conditioning session provided by Petar on Thursday and Amit on Friday. 

This started with a warm up and was then quickly followed by a one-kilometre time trial for the Thursday group and a two-kilometre time trail for the Friday group. 

All the boys completed it and never gave up. 

Very proud of their efforts as it’s not easy especially for some a first time.

Then all had to do the bridge testing for a maximum of two minutes (front, left and right), which was also new to some of the boys.

This is something to work on building up their core strength as that’s a big thing in cricket to have great strength in your core for balance.

Lastly back to the WACA indoor nets for some bat versus ball scenarios, which we filmed all the bowling for. 

The batsmen were told the imaginary field set up and had to play shots accordingly. 

Same goes for the bowlers.

They had to bowl to certain fields and targets set by the coach on each net.

To finish up I gave them a brief overview of what happens from here, in regards to their talent pathways. 

Parents where happy with the day and everyone said their thank you’s and it was home time.

I would like to thank all the WACA staff and coaches: Job Van Bunge, Andrew Hayes, Chris Brabazon and Rob Wass involved in running and helping the Wheatbelt kids over the two days; and my casual staff and coaches: Cameron Watson, Daniel and Luke Gollan for making themselves available to help-out with coaching and lunch pickups. 

Also to the players and parents who attended the days, I hope you enjoyed the program and look forward to seeing you all throughout the season ahead.