Great Bedwyn Cricket Club welcomes its first overseas player - and he's quite keen on a little rain
James Hart is taking a gap year from his mechanical engineering degree at Adelaide University - to play for Great Bedwyn Cricket Club as their overseas player.
The nineteen-year-old from South Australia is Great Bedwyn's first overseas player. The Club has wanted to put their young local players first. Now John Palmer, in his second season as skipper, wants the club to progress: "We want to bring the club forward for the long term."
One of John Palmer's aims is to improve the coaching at the club. And James Hart, who has a Cricket Australia Level One coaching qualification, will be doing a lot of coaching - as well as scoring runs for the club.
For four years he played first eleven cricket for his school - Scotch College - scoring 300-400 runs a season and captaining the team in his final year. Since leaving school in 2013, James has been playing for Sturt District Cricket Club - known as The Blues.
He started in their 'C' grade and moving up to their 'B' grade team. Next season, he hopes to move up to the more semi-professional 'A' grade team which includes some professional players, some playing with part time jobs and some weekend players.
Each of Australia's seven states has district or 'grade' leagues. There are thirteen clubs in South Australia's league - and each of field teams of three or more levels as well as youth teams.
Marlborough News Online asked James if he wanted to play professionally: "I'm not looking past getting my degree. My degree seems like the right thing for me to do."
James got the overseas player spot through CricX - the cricket exchange agency that is registered with the English Cricket Board and supplies overseas players to many English clubs. The Bedwyn club paid most of his airfare and his lodgings in the village.
James is on Youth Mobility Visa and is is allowed to take paid work. He is working waiting and bar shifts at Bedwyn's Three Tuns pub - lunch-time and evening shifts as the fixtures and coaching allow.
He has been made welcome in Bedwyn - "I really enjoy being with all the blokes I play with." He is certainly pleased to be playing for John Palmer: "I reckon he would probably play 'A' grade back home." He likes playing in a team with 'the whole span' of abilities in one team.
He says he got off to 'a bit of a rocky start' - when we spoke to James Bedwyn had played five games, won three and lost two. He had a bit of nerves and in his first two games scored six and four - and ran himself out.
One novelty he has found at Great Bedwyn is the rain. South Australia has just come out of a disastrous three year drought: "The only way you were allowed to water your garden was to stand in a bowl under your shower - and use the shower water."
He has already had some games rained off. But says: "I quite like the rain - when it hasn't rained for a bit, there's a lovely smell in the air here."
John Palmer is very pleased with James' coaching and is very optimistic about the season ahead: "He's doing well - not as well as I know he will do. I know there's a big score just around the corner."