IT’S been non-stop cricket for the past 14 months for Kirkburton captain Greg Buckley.
The 23-year-old flew off at the end of last season to play in Australia for the first time – at the invitation of former Lascelles Hall star Tim Cox.
He didn’t arrive back until 48 hours before Kirkburton’s Drakes Premiership opener against Skelmanthorpe at Riley Lane and, while spearheading their challenge in both the league and Sykes Cup, he has also fitted in trials with Durham (where Honley’s Max Morley is playing second XI cricket).
“It’s been a lot of cricket but it’s been great,” said Buckley, who was on Lancashire’s books as a teenager.
“I had a really good winter down in Australia and I’m enjoying the captaincy here, although taking over from Matthew Wood means I’ve got some very big boots to fill.
“I’ve got a good relationship with all the lads at the club, though, I’ve played before with people like Craig Fletcher at county level, and the older players in the side are a big help.”
Buckley was based in Dubbo during the last Australian summer and picked up some trophies with RSL Colts.
“It was a good standard and very enjoyable,” he reported. “I got a few wickets and plenty of runs and even though Dubbo isn’t on the coast, it’s only a 40-minute flight to Sydney so you could easily be in the city.
“I found the wickets more skiddy than anything else out there. They weren’t really spinning, but you can sometimes get away with a lot more when it’s coming onto the bat nicely, and that’s what tended to happen.”
Buckley’s previous overseas experience was two seasons in South Africa.
“That was when I was with Lancashire a few years ago and that was really enjoyable and really good as well,” he said.
“I played for the same club on both occasions, Pretoria High School Old Boys, where they had six teams and I started out in the seconds but scored some runs and went up to the firsts.
“It was a top standard and I was playing alongside people like Justin Kemp and Dale Steyn, so it was atremendous experience.”