Import plays his own pace
LAIDLEY'S latest English import has big shoes to fill, but he's not worried.
Liam McKendry got off to the near perfect start in Laidley's opening game of the Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association Division One season with 99 against Swifts.
Hopes are high he can have the same sort of impact Alex Welsh did last summer.
McKendry has found work on an organic farm near Tenthill and is staying at Neville Wood's (father of Laidley club president Peter Wood) near Forest Hill.
The 20-year-old from York plays in the Yorkshire League in England, where he was teammates with Dan Wilson, brother of Laidley captain Chris, last year.
"I always wanted to come out and see what the cricket's like," he said of his decision to head down under. "Experience a different way of life, have some fun and see how it goes."
It was Dan Wilson who suggested he try Laidley.
All-rounder Welsh claimed the competition's player of the year award, but McKendry is not interested in comparisons.
"I'm not even worried about it," he said. "If I play well enough I'll go all right.
"I just want to bat as long as possible."
He hasn't had much chance with the past two weekends washed out.
"It's been disappointing so far," he said. "Hopefully we'll get on this Saturday against Centrals and Sunday for Ipswich."
He has made an impression with his limited opportunities because he has been called into the Ipswich Pioneers team to play Gold Coast at Amberley tomorrow.
McKendry had no expectations of playing representative cricket while in Australia but is happy to go along for the ride and help out if he can.
He has made a mark with his batting but his bowling is perhaps more of a curiosity.
"I don't bowl much but I opened the bowling back home," he said mysteriously.
That was because his club team lost three fast bowlers in a hurry and he was forced into the opening bowler's role.
Don't expect him to be asking for the new ball.
"I take the shine off the new ball for the spinners," he said of his role back home.
McKendry has attended agricultural college and is a qualified greens keeper, so he has looked on with great interest at how Laidley have gone about renovating their grounds following last summer's floods.
"It's been brilliant the way they've gone about things at Laidley," he said.
"It's pretty impressive."
He is still getting used to the different climatic conditions.
Despite recent rains the fields remain hard under foot, unlike back home where it is "completely different to Ipswich".
It seems unlikely to prevent him scoring runs.
'I always wanted to come out and see what the cricket's like'