Photo Credit: Cricket Ireland
Since 2015, five Irish cricketers – including four members of the recent Men’s T20 World Cup squad – have spent an Australian summer in Coogee playing with Randwick Petersham Cricket Club as part of an Overseas Scholarship Program. This year two more up-and-coming Irish cricketers are enjoying a stint playing grade cricket with the club.
It is said that there are so many Irish expats living in Coogee that the nickname for the suburb is ‘County Coogee’. In the build-up to the men’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Randwick Petersham hosted the Irish squad for a week-long preparation camp. From that time, a new partnership was formed through the ‘Overseas Scholarship Program’.
Since 2015-16, five Irish cricketers have availed of the partnership:
• 2015-16: Barry McCarthy
• 2016-17: Andrew Balbirnie
• 2017-18: Jack Tector
• 2018-19: Harry Tector
• 2019-20: Stephen Doheny
Prior to this, Irish cricketers such as Pete Johnston, Gary Kidd, Peter Chase and Graeme McCarter all spent time with the club.
This year there are two young Irish players who have travelled to Sydney on a scholarship – Tim Tector and Scott Macbeth.
Into that environment Tim Tector, 19, arrived in late September ahead of the start of the Australian cricket season. The right-handed middle-order batter has already represented Leinster Lightning in the Inter-Provincial Series, and captained the Ireland Under-19s side at the ICC Under-19s World Cup in the Caribbean in January this year.
Tim is the third Tector brother to play for Randwick Petersham, with Jack (2017-18) and Harry (2018-19) also taking up the opportunity to link up with the Sydney club.
Since the start of the season, Tector has played in Randwick Petersham’s 2nd XI. In a recent Poidevin-Gray Shield match, Tector struck 52 from 45 balls in his side’s exciting four run win.
While the high standard of cricket is what Tector is seeking, he also knows his time in Australia is more than just about the on-field action:
“I’ve been in Sydney over seven weeks now, it’s been fantastic – the guys at Randwick Petersham have been so welcoming and have got me involved in everything around the club, which is great.
“I’m scheduled to be here for five or so months, over that time I want to improve all aspects of my game really – Australian grade cricket is amongst the best standard of club cricket in the world. But a stint like this is not just about the cricket – it’s about adapting to a different life, being away from home on my own for six months – it’s just about embracing it all. I’ve spent time away on tours and at tournaments and had a four-month spell in South Africa in 2019, but these are different conditions and a different challenge, and I’m very much enjoying it to date.
“As an added bonus I got down to see a few games in the T20 World Cup, including Ireland’s win over England at the MCG. That was special – the team has been putting in some great performances these last few months, it’s been great to see it come together.”
Shortly after Tector arrived, a second young Irish cricketer landed in Sydney – Scott Macbeth arrived in early October on a six-month placement.
The 18 year-old right-handed bat and right-arm off-spinner made his List A debut earlier this year playing for the Munster Reds and a member of the Ireland Under-19s side at the ICC Under-19s World Cup in the Caribbean in January this year.
Since the start of the season, Macbeth had played in Randwick Petersham’s 4th XI, until last weekend when he made his 3rd Grade debut, scoring 61 and finishing with 1-75 from 21 overs.
Scott Macbeth said:
“It still feels early days yet, and am only now getting used to life in Coogee. City life is a big change from back home, where I live in the countryside, but all going well I’ll spend six months here, which I’m looking forward to. The opportunity to see new places has been great, and I’ve met a whole bunch of new friends.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to play with Randy Petes, and working on improving my cricket skills. I’ve been working with some of the best coaches, and hopefully it will get my game to a much higher standard – which will allow me to hit the ground running when I get back home.
“My longest trip away from home to date was the Under-19 World Cup in the Caribbean earlier this year. That was a fantastic five weeks, but was difficult at times because of the Covid restrictions. This has been a much different experience so far, and I’m looking forward to the months ahead.”
Pete Johnston, Academy and Pathway Performance Manager for Cricket Ireland, sums up the benefits of the partnership:
“The list of Irish internationals who have represented Randwick Petersham is ever-growing. Going back a few years the likes of Andrew Balbirnie, Barry McCarthy, Peter Chase, Graeme McCarter and Gary Kidd represented, and more recently Jack Tector, Harry Tector and Stephen Doheny featured. After a two-year break during Covid, Tim Tector and Scott Macbeth are the latest recipients of the Overseas Scholarship.
“We are extremely grateful to have such a strong partnership with Randwick Petersham and the opportunity has provided some of our best emerging players with the best learning environment for both cricket and life. In particular, the Club CEO John Stewart has been incredible with his drive for making things happen and his hospitality over the years. I personally have fond memories of our camp at Coogee for the 2015 World Cup and the 2022 T20 World Cup squad enjoyed their time equally back in early October.”
About Tector and Macbeth, Johnston said:
“Both Tim and Scott competed in the recent Under-19 World Cup where the team finished as plate finalists, they have both competed for the Academy this season and also did particularly well in our provincial Cricket Ireland Future Series. They both also broke into List A cricket with their provinces.
“Tim has progressed well following on from captaining our Under-19s and Scott will be the youngest player to take part in the scholarship having just turned 18 at the beginning of October. Not only do our players get to represent Randwick Petersham in Grade Cricket, but they also get to represent the club in the Under-21 Poidevin-Gray competition.”
The support structure around the placements goes beyond just Cricket Ireland and the club, and Johnston is keen to recognise this:
“Harry Tector was the first player to benefit from the added support of the International Cricket Program (ICP). The ICP supports overseas players in Sydney and is run by Howard Grice who now has a strong relationship with the Cricket Ireland Academy. Howard was also a support coach for one of the Academy multi-day fixtures in the UK last season.
“The ICP runs a comprehensive Academy program with support from specialist coaches in cricket and strength and conditioning. This gives the players the best opportunity for maximising their experience and development.”