It was late 2014, and there I was at Manuka Oval to see the ACT do battle with Ireland ahead of a bumper summer of international cricket in Australia.
With not much more than a hundred people in the crowd, you could hear just about every single word said – both on and off the field.
One of these conversations was two people in front of me talking about a social Twenty20 cricket competition. Naturally, I was curious. In the ensuing minutes Google got a workout, and I discovered ‘Last Man Stands’.
With a host of school mates waiting in the wings for a chance to play cricket together again, the Emus were born.
In the spring of 2014, the Emus were the competition’s battlers. With players pulling out minutes before play with a hangover becoming the norm, competition organisers Pete Bowman and Dave Fuller worked tirelessly to help us field a team.
A couple of victories saw us narrowly avoid the dreaded wooden spoon, but it was some of the most enjoyable cricket we’ve played. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the outburst of emotion from Michael Savino when he took the catch for our first ever wicket.
And so with a new year comes a new season for cricket’s fastest growing tournament. The 8-a-side phenomenon will once again play host to a revitalised Emus outfit.
Ditching the green and gold in favour of blue and more blue, a few of the originals will be joined by a wave of new recruits.
Opening the innings is Savino. Constantly dreaming of record-breaking hundreds and five-wicket hauls, ‘The Chief’ will no doubt be called upon to roll his arm over with his… spin?
Joining the number 14 under the Emus banner will be Ayden “Dossy” O’Neill and big Gussy Nolan. Dossy once went within a whisker of carrying his bat, and Gus has the potential to tear through any opposition batting line-up.
These two will be complemented by the energetic Ante Zilic. If you see him in the field, just call him “Plugger”.
Weather permitting, Wednesday night will see the debuts of all-rounder Danyon O’Rourke, and unknown quantities in Luke Vecchi and Harry Palmer.
Yours truly will don the gloves as the Emus go in search of glory – or at least a solitary victory – every Wednesday night.