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Reflection, Rest and Renewal: Paul Wilson on the Redback's Christmas break and hopes for the new year

Ah the Christmas and New Year period, such a wonderful time of year for personal and team reflection and also for a bonus rest period during an otherwise hectic summer.

At the turning point of the season, the Reds are sitting fifth on the Pura Cup table and second on the Mercantile Mutual Cup ladder.

Our Pura Cup form has been excellent for eleven sessions out of twelve in each game. However, just one bad two hour session in each of three separate games has hindered our progress somewhat. Individually, players such as Greg Blewett, Shane Deitz, Jeff Vaughan, Peter McIntyre and Darren Lehmann have contributed significantly at times. But, as a team, a very even effort has been achieved.

On the one-day front, our success so far has been tremendous and surprising to many keen judges who didn't give us much of a chance. The commitment to team plans backed by solid performances in all areas (especially fielding) has seen consistent results to this point. Darren Lehmann has been our standout performer averaging over one hundred and striking them at better than a run a ball. But, for me, the success of the year so far has been the performances of our rookies, Ryan Harris and Paul Rofe and the brilliant glovework of Graham Manou. Ryan and Paul has each been given an important role to play for us and they have responded beautifully, Graham's performances behind the stumps have had many people predicting a big future for the former state under-19 captain and his game against the Bushrangers at Punt Road was a highlight.

The holiday period enabled many of our players to get away from cricket for a week or so, whether it be in Adelaide or elsewhere. Considering our playing list contains guys from the country or from interstate, it was an ideal time to catch up with family and friends for some. For yours truly, my work at the South Australian Cricket Association kept me well within the Adelaide city limits but being such a quiet time of year it enabled me to catch up on work missed while running into bowl for the Reds.

Unfortunately, fun and frivolity had to come to an end at some stage and that stage was a fitness test on 29 December - the dreaded BEEP test! With all players expected to keep up their fitness levels during the holidays, good results were recorded by all. The best results went to Jeff Vaughan, Greg Blewett and the Assistant Coach, Tim Nielsen. By the way, all three of these gentlemen look and run like Steve Moneghetti, hence their success. Funnily enough, I didn't achieve their results, maybe due to the Al Bundy resemblance!

New Year's Eve saw another training session for the boys before the festivities hit full swing and, with 2000 drawing to a close, many of the boys reflected in their own way what sort of year they had endured and what they hoped to expect from 2001. For me, it was another year of consolidation in the Redback side and a gradual movement to senior player among our young pace bowling stocks. To think that, only two years ago, I couldn't string three games together due to injury. Now, with the help of my trainer and friend Robert Crouch, I have missed only one game in the past eighteen months - quite unbelievable for someone my size! This confidence in my body has enabled me to bowl long but effective spells at times and given my captain the confidence to call on me at crucial times during games. This following year, I hope to continue my climb to fifty matches in both forms of the game which, with all things being equal, will see me pass 150 Pura Cup wickets and hopefully reach the most career wickets of all time in Mercantile Mutual Cup - who knows!

With the Reds currently preparing to take on the NSW Blues on 4 January, we hope to start 2001 with a bang - one which could catapult us towards Pura Cup contention along with our one-day success so far.

To all readers, a Happy New Year and a successful 2001.


  More Postcards
23 December 2000
Paul Wilson on that innings by Greg Blewett

22 November 2000
Heartbreak and excitement: Paul Wilson on the Redbacks' rarely dull start to the season