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At Middle Stump - with Holly Ferling: THE COMEBACK!

12 Nov 2014

Last blog I wrote about the frustrations of injury, and now I’m finally getting to write the blog I’ve been looking forward to ever since the diagnosis of my stress fractures… THE COMEBACK!

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(pic credit www.southburnett.com.au)

I can’t even begin to describe the feeling when they finally lift the label of ‘injured’ from your profile! A lot of things are starting to change with my program – rather than being told to be very cautious with the number of balls I bowl, I am now told to make sure I bowl a certain number in a week. Last week I bowled 28 overs and this week I’m looking at bowling around 30 overs. The theory is to try and progress my load so I’m conditioned to bowl plenty, and not have my workloads varying from minimal one week to maximal the next. There’s no perfect number as we’ve discovered, but consistency seems to be the key.

My first test was to play club cricket and make sure I didn’t pull up too sore. I was told I was only allowed to bowl 6 overs that day and my captain, and Southern Star teammate, Jess Jonassen told me to bowl them out straight up. I was completely fine with that, taking the new ball once again, however she then informed me that she too would open up from the other end. Bowling in tandem with a spin bowler is never fun from a fast bowlers perspective. We run in hard and put in all our effort to each delivery, therefore we value our rest time when someone else is bowling at the other end. The issues with spinners is that they love to try and get through their over in 60 seconds, leaving us poor fast bowlers still puffing from our last over. While I would say I’m moderately fit (still a little off my best fitness results), and can bowl 6 overs in the nets, game fitness is something you cannot simulate in training. Apart from being a little tired, I pulled up 100% fine!

This gave the QLD selectors the ‘ok’ to consider me in their team to play against NSW. My restrictions were however, that I was to only play the two Twenty/20 games, missing the one-dayer. After receiving the message that I was selected to play the games that had been nominated, I was super excited to pull on the maroon and do what I do best – bowl fast. I think my first over says exactly that… In the first over of the game I bowled an 11 ball over, getting a little too keen to bowl fast, pulling the ball for a few wides! However when I got it on the pitch, I ended up taking 2 wickets! My first over back in competitive cricket, I was 2-6 against arguably the best team in Australia. What topped off my comeback game was QLD winning; the first time in 7 years in all formats, and the first Twenty/20 win against NSW EVER! We sang the team song loud and proud – and I couldn’t have imagined a better comeback game.

The following weekend I pulled on the maroon once more… not for the QLD Fire but for the Bulls Masters. A charity match was held in my hometown of Kingaroy for a family who’s been battling Crohn’s Disease for a number of years. I was so glad I got to go home for this event – my primary PE teacher and also my A grade captain’s wife is a true battler and selflessly she donated all the proceeds from the day towards research into the disease. They are such a special family to me, and to see the community get behind them was fantastic. It was great to play alongside some of Queensland’s great players, but also to go home and play against some of the boys that I used to play cricket with.

Back in Brisbane, I’ve been told by strength coaches to get ready for a tough month physically. Due to Queensland Fire playing commitments stopping throughout November for the Aussie girls tour against the West Indies, and me missing selection for that tour, the coaches are sending through tough running and strength sessions where I can try and smash out the next 3 weeks and become far more fitter and stronger once again. While my sore muscles are protesting, I know this is a really good thing and I’m looking forward to looking back on the month and seeing how much I’ve improved.

I’ve had the opportunity to do a couple of school and club visits as part of the MILO T20 Blast and In2Cricket programs. I love doing these visits as I think I’m a massive kid at heart. Running around and playing games with kids brings me so much joy. I love watching them all progress with their skills, get very competitive against each other and, more importantly, love the game of cricket.

It is so refreshing to visit the grass roots level where the main emphasis is fun… Something that is sometimes lacking at the elite level. I often get asked what is the greatest piece of advice I have for people whether they be MILO cricket kids, school children, or regional/state/national representatives in whatever their chosen sport may be. As simple as it sounds, my advice is to love what you do and to have fun. Why did we play sport in the first place? Why do we keep coming back week after week? Why do we do the gruelling fitness sessions? Because training with team mates and running out onto the field surrounded by your team is FUN. In my 7 months off, I have rediscovered this love and this fun. I think we really take for granted what we do and what we have, so much so that you don’t realise how big of a part it is in your life until it’s not there anymore. I’m having more fun than ever at my training sessions, I love getting the ball in my hand and I continue to get that thrill every time I step out onto the field, whether that be for my club, my state, and hopefully for Australia once again.