Cricket. Returning from a season playing in the West of England Premier League, local cricketer Bhodi Johnston has experienced the game on the other side of the world.
Successfully applying for an import position with Calne Cricket Club, the local all-rounder finished the 2015/16 Circular Head Cricket Association season where he coached Marrawah’s A Grade side, before moving to the United Kingdom in April this year.
“Every cricketer says England is the hardest place to play,” Johnston says, now understanding this statement.
“It was just the little things that made a big difference, like Duke, the brand of ball they use is a lot harder to control and heavier than a Kookaburra.”
Johnston also says the grass surface, which they called turf, made it difficult to predict play.
Following more than 24 hours of travel, Johnston arrived at his destination plagued with jet lag.
Expected to play the following day, he said he was quietly relieved when the game was washed out.
It was a “nerve-wracking” experience meeting his new teammates for this first time, but the Aussie needn’t worry as he was welcomed as one of their own.
Despite a rough start to his season overseas, the all-rounder soon got into the swing of things.
“I got a few ducks early on,” Johnston admitted.
“It took me a while to get into that standard of cricket. The competition was tough, equivalent to, if not better than say the Burnie Hurricanes.
“Not knowing the cricketer and their strengths was difficult. There are some really good quality bowlers over there.”
Amongst these challenges, Johnston was out of action for some time due to a medical procedure.
“I actually had to get my appendix out, so missing out on one month of cricket was hard. I was pretty well monitored but couldn’t bowl much afterwards.”
Of his most memorable moments, Johnston said batting his first century was certainly a standout as well as captaining Calne in the Wednesday night Twenty20 games.
“It was a really good experience and a nice way to get to know everyone,” he said.
However he was slightly disappointed by the structure of the game.
“Here, it’s all about finals and wanting to win that premiership but in England, that’s not how they roll.”
Rather than playing for a finals berth, teams either progress or be demoted to lower or higher grades depending on their ladder position at the conclusion of the season.
Johnston is now looking forward to the 2016/17 season in Tasmania having returned home earlier this month, but still toys with the idea of returning to England in the new year following an offer from Calne Cricket Club for a second import contract.
“Hopefully it’s matured me as a cricketer.”