If you're 16 and looking forward to end of school or at least a big break, I hope you can pause for a moment and think of 16-year-old Mittagong boy Matthew Jones.
You are counting the days to Christmas, a time when families come together and be merry. This is not going to be a Merry Christmas for Matthew. Three months ago Matthews's mother Sharon passed away from motor neurone disease. Last week Matthews's dad, Paul, passed away suffering a heart attack while playing first grade cricket for Mittagong. Angus Humphreys and I were the two umpires at Bradman Oval last Saturday where Mittagong and their opponents Robertson held a minute's silence in respect prior to the start of play. Since then I have not stopped thinking of young Matthew. I sincerely hope he is well-supported in all aspects. Matthew, if you ever want to talk footy or cricket, give me a call on 0412 596 777. I would be only too happy to meet you.
Gracia Marco: Big Mittagong fast medium bowler Marco Basaglia dedicated his performance against Robertson on Saturday to the memory of Paul Jones. Marco bagged five wickets in Mittagong's upset four-wicket victory. Struck down last season with a knee injury, Marco bounced back claiming three lbw's in his five, on a wicket that gave batsmen token opportunity to "play their shots." I was surprised at the deadpan strip. It would have been a spinner's delight. "Come in spinner," should be the captain's call when drawn to play at Bradman. Mittagong deputy skipper Reece Woods played a 'captain's knock" to help overhaul the 117 target.
Ho Hum-More on Mitchell: You can be forgiven if you feel the only player in the NRL is Mitchell Pearce.
Last week the Daily Telegraph headline screamed-"The Great Halfback Debate."
The Daily Telegraph, a paper where I served my cadetship, has a reputation for boring its readers with repeated headline "sensations." Once again, for the umpteenth time, the "debate" was whether rookie NSW Origin Rugby League coach Brad Fittler would stick with tried and tested Mitchell Pearce or "go for broke" and swing Nathan Cleary into action sporting the No.7. Because you are bored to tears with this “great debate," let's put it to bed.
Cleary by a country mile!
The halfback position in the NSW Origin team needs the spark that only Cleary can provide. He has the creative genius that can lay on tries from all over the field. Fittler loves to attack and Cleary has the skills to satisfy his lust for four pointers. Thanks for the memories, Mitchell, but your time has come. Enjoy running the ball with the Newcastle Knights. Run the ball Mitch.