Thursday, 10 May 2012

Flying visit to the netball

"I'm flying to Sydney to watch the netball this weekend."

In all honesty, this was a statement I probably never expected to hear - but they were Rachel's words to me during the middle of another busy week at work. A chance to meet up with other netball co-ordinators from across New South Wales and watch the state's premier ladies team in action arose and Mrs T, ever the opportunist, grabbed it with both hands. Flight booked, I served as taxi driver to Albury Airport and we said our goodbyes on Saturday afternoon. At first I imagined a poignant scene from the movies, where husband and wife bid emotional farwells, but there was no emotional music and with AFL on the TV back at home, I made a quick getaway. Come on, it was only a 24-hour stop-over...

 The weekend away was also a chance for Rachel to meet up with Michelle Wright and her daughter Sierra (pictured), staying at the home of Michelle's parents, south-west of the city itself. Avid blog readers (if such people exist) may remember this was our base during our first visit to Sydney back in February. That weekend remains a definite highlight of our Australian adventure so far.

To the main event, then, NSW Swifts hosting New Zealand's Central Pulse within the confines of Sydney's Olympic Park. The sport gets far greater exposure than in England, a point underlined by the fact I was able to watch the game live on terrestrial TV. Despite Channel Ten's shocking coverage, I stayed tuned.

The partisan home fans worked themselves into a fervour.

As in football, handshakes preceded the start of play. Interestingly, the players didn't move down the line, instead just shaking hands with their opposite number and then retreating into the huddle. There appeared to be no Evra/Suarez snubs.

Swifts (in red) led for most of the game and could have been out of sight before Pulse produced a late fightback. The NSW girls held on to win 39-36 and Rachel was able to see the game out before dashing to Sydney Airport in her hire car.

We came across the photo diary of another guy on exchange to Australia (his mum is on the teaching programme). It's worth a look and I've attached the full link below, but this snippet resonated with me.

I fully understand how lucky I am to have been given this opportunity to travel... But there’s never anything like home. There’s nothing like landing on English soil, the plane door opens, it’s grey, it’s freezing and it’s damp. Back home I’ll constantly hear people complain about England and yet they’ve never seen the world.  Sure, Australia seems appealing to us Brits – the golden beaches, the blue waters, the gorgeous wildlife, it’s something we don’t have. But are you really basing your want to move to another country on a Google Image search? I know it sounds painfully obvious but living in a country is extremely different to taking a holiday in one. During the four months in Australia I’ve come to realize what a great island we have. It’s most definitely grey but damn it’s Great.

Read more and check out the pics at

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