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Thursday, December 8, 2005

Through the Nervous Twenties

One of the great things about the Kiama Cricket Club is the number of dynasties that are involved – the many generations from the same family that continue to be involved in Kiama Cricket.
The Wolf family are a prime example. Ross is a former premiership winning player from the lower grades, a former Junior President, and current Club President. Jill is the First Lady of Kiama Cricket. Sam opens the bowling for First Grade, and is the reigning Curator Of The Year. And last weekend, Tim Wolf may have made the breakthrough that finally has him reaching the heights that his potential has promised.

For a number of seasons, Tim has been the most consistent scorer of double figure innings in the history of cricket (...possibly. That may be a bit extreme). His problem has been that, once he has made a start, he has been unable to go on and make a big score. In five years of grade cricket, he had in fact made just two half centuries – one in 2nd Grade in 2001, and his maiden 1st Grade half century last season.

On the occasion of his 1st Grade 50, Tim then expressed to me his disappointment of something I had written in the pre-season on the Club website, where I had said that he needed to make runs in 2nd Grade before being considered for 1st Grade (Tim played the entire season in 1sts without playing 2nds at all). Following an animated discussion, we agreed to disagree over the issue, but my parting words were that now he had made his first 50, he needed to make sure he followed it up with further big scores, and not rest on his laurels.
One of the things that I admire about Tim is that he is always willing to tell you what he thinks, and doesn't hide behind his words. Though we by no means agreed on this issue, he was happy to have it out with me, and then get on with it. It is a shame we don't have more of this kind of thing in the Club.

This season, Tim has shown greater maturity in his batting. Though he still has the T-Bone Swat happening regularly, he has shown a greater aptitude for building an innings, and to apply himself in a time of need. Not only that, he has improved his play against spin bowlers dramatically – something that in my opinion has been his greatest downfall in recent times. This season, he has played those spinners that he has faced with patience and security.

I was unfortunate enough to miss his century on the weekend, which is a great regret. It is always a great thing to see a batsman score their first ton, and then wonder where it will lead them to in the future.
For me, I will be hoping he can do what I suggested to him almost 12 months ago to the day – follow it up with more of the same. He has a great opportunity now to make some big scores for the rest of the season, and perhaps even challenge for a spot in 1st Grade.

The first century is always a buzz, but if you can't follow it up, you will never become the batsman you could be. I know this from personal experience. I hope Tim never has to find that out.
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