THE pressure of being an overseas player could sometimes be tough on 19-year-old United all-rounder Tom Burley during his six month stint playing with the St Gluvius club in Cornwall, England.
“Don’t get me wrong – playing over there was awesome,’’ the 19-year-old said soon after his return to Taree.
“There was pressure to perform, but that’s what I was there for.’’
Burley did his bit with the bat and ball, scoring 450 runs and taking 30 wickets. He left here as a batsman who usually came in at four or five. He returned an opener when he was thrust into the role with his team after he notched a handful of 30s and a 50 in his opening six games. Burley played in the Country Champions one grade.
Burley admits he had trouble controlling the Duke ball used in English cricket when he bowled.
“It was crazy, the ball just swung so much. In one game – it was the first time my parents were watching and my first five balls went two metres down the legside. When I finally got one on the spot I got a wicket,’’ he said.
The standard was strong, he said.
“Because Cornwall is such a nice place there are billionaires moving out of London to live there,’’ he explained.
The money men in turn, become involved with county clubs and the cash filters down through the grades, attracting quality cricketers. Burley played against cricketers who had first class experience from around England and the world.
He has no doubt the stint will improve him as a cricketer – especially a batsman.
“I had to learn to be patient and learn to adapt,’’ he said.
“I had to learn to bat on a variety of wickets – some sides we’d play would have four spinners.’’
In all Burley played 21 league games and three cup fixtures. As well as playing he’d also have training twice a week.
He had a job labouring, while he also did bar work a couple of nights a week.
“There was plenty to keep me busy,’’ he said.
But it wasn’t all cricket. He toured around England, Scotland and Wales and saw a one day international between England and Pakistan. When his cricket commitments were finished he went on a tour around Europe and that included sky diving in Switzerland. And he was a young Australian in Europe so naturally he called into Oktoberfest in Munich.
“I’m going back there,’’ he said with a grin.
“You could spend a week there.’’
He returned to United’s first grade last Sunday and was also involved in the T20 representative games on Sunday. He has made the provisional 18 strong Macquarie Stringers squad for the Country T20 championship starting in a fortnight. Burley will play out the season with United where he hopes to win a fourth consecutive premiership. He also wants to have a game in the Newcastle under 21 competition with former team-mate Zac Sheather, where games are played on Sundays.
Next year he’s off to university so that will determine where he plays in 2017/18.
“I’m looking forward to having a game here with my mates and having a bit of fun for the rest of the season,’’ he said.
“That’s why you play cricket.’’
There possibly won’t be as much pressure, either.