Prepared By:  Rich Campbell, Vice President EFJCC and Tourist

Day 1

As the boys gathered in Henry Jeffery carpark on the first Friday of school holidays, the long summer break stretched out in front of them.  Accompanying parents made the tour-bus, trailer, and convoy ready for the trip from East Fremantle to the southwest for the inaugural 4-day EFJCC cricket tour.  The long-awaited event was about to begin, and the huge efforts from our club President, Stu King in contacting and organising the tour with 3 regional cricket clubs, and the parents in fundraising was now set in motion.  We had a good 8 hours before the first game against the Margaret River Hawks Cricket Club, the staple diet of roadhouse food and coke hoping to fuel the boys for a first-class effort against our hosts.  Upon arrival (fashionably 5 minutes late after a google misdirection), we were greeted with a beautifully prepared turf wicket (a great thrill for some of the boys), fantastic outfield and accompanying marquees made ready for a late afternoon T20 fixture.  Margaret River Hawks, and cricket stalwart and coach, Shane Joyce, had put in a huge effort to welcome us and support the touring venture.  The tourists won the toss and batted first, and perhaps affected by the bus-lag, perhaps adjusting to the local turf wicket, were struggling to build partnerships and get on top of the bowling.  Some solid performances from Hugh Wilkinson and Ben Ross pushed us to a total of 4-89.  The Margaret River Hawks came out in an aggressive mood and put paid to the run chase in the 13th over.  Tom Joyce (son of Shane) starring for the Hawks with a 16 ball 38 not out to welcome us to southwest cricket.  The game was played in great spirits and the two teams then enjoyed a drink or two and bbq provided by the Hawks during which we gleaned a little intel on our two future opponents in exchange for a beer or two!

2024 South West Cricket Tour - EFJCC VS Margaret River Hawks Cricket Club Post Match Photo
2024 South West Cricket Tour – EFJCC VS Margaret River Hawks Cricket Club Post Match Photo
2024 South West Cricket Tour Some Batting Action On The Turf Wicket At The Hawks Home-Ground
2024 South West Cricket Tour Some Batting Action On The Turf Wicket At The Hawks Home-Ground

Day 2

Saturday morning saw us journey to Dunsborough for a 30 over match against a very organised and disciplined Dunsborough Cricket Club combined side, the best of their best!  Dunsborough batted first with great confidence and skill, compiling an impressive 5 for 162, James Feeney battled bravely with the ball taking 1-5 from 4 quality overs and Hugh Wilkinson snared 2 for 11 from his off-spin variations. The host’s bowling attack was as impressive as their batting and the EFJCC boys were held to 6-106 from the corresponding 30 overs.  Some great hitting from Griff Hurrell (17) at the top of the innings and Jason Peters’ effortless (15n.o.) in the middle order bookended our effort.  Another great game and once again good cricket spirit from the two teams, our southwest hosts were proving tougher opposition than we perhaps had thought.  Another generous bbq lunch from our hosts rounded out a great event, and the respective parents and coaches from both teams were very supportive of the event and expressed their keenness to repeat the effort the following year.  Following the match The East Freo team and support crew took to Yallingup Beach to enjoy the waves and afternoon sun and laze around the magnificent southwest coast.  Later that evening, back at the campground, the planning session consisted of a keenly fought table tennis competition for the boys whilst the brains trust plotted the downfall of our Cowaramup opponents the following morning.

2024 South West Cricket Tour - Dunsborough Club-House Post Match Presentations
2024 South West Cricket Tour – Dunsborough Club-House Post Match Presentations
2024 South West Cricket Tour - Margaret River Campground TT Tournament
2024 South West Cricket Tour – Margaret River Campground TT Tournament

Day 3

Another beautiful day greeted us at the Cowaramup Cricket Ground for our final game of the tour.  This would turn out to be one of the classic games of the boy’s short careers and a fitting finale.  The hosts put us in on a flat track, and with a superlative 56n.o. off just 50 balls (including 11 x 4’s!) from Tommy Randall and a quick-fire 25n.o. from Ben Timms, we put on 187 for the 35 overs.  Things initially progressed well for us in the return innings as we had the hosts 6 for 60 through the first half of the innings, some of the local intel was paying off.  The last plank of resistance for Cowaramup, the one we had been warned about, a young man by the name of Caleb, with a great eye and a bat the size of a tree-trunk arrived at the crease.  The ball started to fly and when its flying over the heads of your fielders stationed on the boundary, there is little to do but sit back and marvel.  A mature gumtree saving our tour-bus from a smashed windscreen on one occasion…….had we taken out insurance against a full-blooded straight drive or not……? As the target crept closer, the tension built in the visitors stand! It all came down to the guile of our budding off spinner, Hugh Wilkinson, who slid a faster one past the unsuspecting batsman finally dismissing Caleb for an incredible 67 of 46 balls (including 5 x 6’s!).  EFJCC had triumphed by 23 runs in a nail biter!  A thoroughly entertaining match and again played in great spirits.  The team and entourage celebrated with a song or two at the local brewery, and even a little further into the night, providing a soothing lullaby for the other campground visitors.  A great finish to the first of many EFJCC tours we hope.

2024 South West Cricket Tour - Post Match Gift Exchange Between The Captains
2024 South West Cricket Tour – Post Match Gift Exchange Between The Captains
2024 South West Cricket Tour - Big Tommy Randall The ‘Bull’ Of Cow-Town!
2024 South West Cricket Tour – Big Tommy Randall The ‘Bull’ Of Cow-Town!

Huge thanks to all involved, particularly our sonorous Prez, Stu King, full of good ideas, melody and a good deal of hard work in getting the inaugural tour from pub idea to fruition.  Of course, this kind of thing can’t happen without the tireless support of the parent group in fundraising, organising, driving and all logistics, as well as ensuring we all had a great time.  Skilful fiscal management from Scott Feeney ensured all members of the squad had an equal opportunity to tour, and that maximum value was derived from hard-earned fund raising, thanks Scott. Of course, this couldn’t have happened without the support from the local clubs (MRHCC, DJCC & CJC), the South West Metropolitan Junior Cricket Council, WA Cricket and the EFJCC Committee we again thank them for their full hearted support and welcome.