What club are you playing for and where is that club in the UK/England?
Henry Shipley - The club I'm at is Sudbury Cricket Club, they are in Suffolk and play in the East Anglian Premier League. Its about an hour on the train from London so a handy location.
Blake Coburn - I play for a club called Knowle & Dorridge CC which is based in a place called Solihull which is 20mins outside Birmingham.
Cole McConchie - I’m playing for Wimbledon in the Surrey Premier league.
What was your main focus/objective as you went to England?
Henry Shipley - I guess coming over to the UK was about two things. One being finding a way to develop my game in our off-season where it can be hard at times back in NZ with access to facilities not always available. And secondly just for a bit of life experience, its a great opportunity to meet people and see places so i thought it was as good a time as any to give it a go.
Blake Coburn - My main focus was just to play some good quality cricket and have fun. I don't necessarily have any specific goals I want to achieve while over here but its always good entering a new team/environment and challenging yourself in different conditions.
Cole McConchie - The main objective was to come over here and enjoy a new scenery and challenge myself with a new environment, plus enjoying life away from cricket.
What has been the most challenging aspect of playing over there and what have you learned from those challenges?
Henry Shipley - I suppose it doesn't really matter who you are it takes a few weeks to settle in and get to know the club and the conditions so for a start that was somewhat of a challenge. The physical conditions of generally slow low pitches haven't made batting particularly pretty at times but learning to play in these conditions is something that no doubt will be a benefit at some point.
I think the biggest challenge has been batting once a week in a game though as it only takes a good ball or poor shot two weeks in a row to put you under a bit of pressure, and its the same with the ball; a few quiet weeks can seem a long time without wickets.
Blake Coburn - For me it has been bowling on green wickets that aren't offering to much turn! Finding ways to take wickets when the ball isn't turning much has been an exciting challenge. As a wrist spinner, spin is my biggest weapon but when that isn't on offer due to the conditions it gives me a chance to work on other variations like use of the crease, changes of pace and drift/drop. So continued development of those other variations has been awesome and adding more strings to my bow.
Cole McConchie - Most challenging part of my trip has been the the wickets and adjusting to succeed here. It hasn’t been the best summer weather wise and finding a way on slow seamers to get your team in a position to win with bat and ball.
How do you go about juggling the preparations for the kiwi season and performing in England - does Canterbury cricket give you things to work on and stay in contact with your progress?
Henry Shipley - Yeah throughout my season over here I've been in contact with Brendon (Brendon Donkers - Canterbury coach) and our support staff back home. The biggest thing for me this season was to be mindful of staying fit, having had a few injuries in the past its important to stay on top of them by putting in work off the field as much as on it. In terms of my actual cricket skills its mostly self driven each game or net I go into has a purpose so its not to difficult to keep them ticking over, although it is important to try build the bowling load up in preparation for the home summer so most of the discussion back home is around that.
Blake Coburn - For me continuously playing cricket is the best form of practice for me. Things I have struggled with in the past is not being match ready when the season comes around so by playing all year round it allows me to be prepared for the upcoming season back home. Yeah, they keep in contact with all of us while we are over here. Making sure we are progressing in the gym and keeping fit.
Cole McConchie - Yes Canterbury are very watchful on our progress over here and before departure we sat down and talked around some aspects of my game to improve. It’s always nice having that direction when away from the coaches to drive your own training and own game.
What has been your best non cricket experience so far in England?
Henry Shipley - That’s a tough one, I'd have say the club in general. Sudbury have a really good social atmosphere and throughout the season run loads of fundraising events and they have been a lot of fun. Although I'm off to watch an Everton vs Wolves football game at the end of the summer so no doubt watching them give Wolves a hiding will be a highlight.
Blake Coburn - Best experience by far was being at the Cricket World Cup final at Lords! I know its cricket related but how can that be topped?! The waves of emotions from the last 2 overs to the last ball of the super over is unexplainable!
What would you be doing if you weren't playing cricket during the kiwi winter?
Henry Shipley - There’s a good chance I'd be spending a lot more time in the indoor nets back home haha. But probably just keep chipping away at my studies at Lincoln Uni and do a bit of work back home on the farm.
Blake Coburn - If I wasn't playing cricket, I would have been a police officer and it is still something I want to do in the future. So if I was home over the winter I would have started the process of that.
Is there one thing you do consistently at training to best prepare yourself for games?
Henry Shipley - I've still got a lot to learn about my game so most training sessions I'm just working on skills with more of a purpose. Batting - it might be just doing some drill work on a shot or bowling it is generally bowling my stock ball, trying to get that as accurate as possible.
Blake Coburn - I always bowl a big spell in the nets before game time, always bowled loads so knowing I've done that definitely helps come match day.
Cole McConchie - One thing I’ve been doing over here is not having any throw downs before training starts and making sure when I face bowlers in the nets I practice starting my innings. Without playing heaps of cricket as back home practicing the start of my innings is important so doing my skill work at the end of training.
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