By RICHARD WALSH
EXETER'S Ben Green has returned from the sweltering heat of Western Australia to a freezing Cooper Associates County Ground to get cracking on pre-season training for the summer ahead.
Green, 20, spent five months in Australia playing for Gosnells in the WACA first grade competition.
Green, whose career path started with Devon in age-group then Minor County cricket, went through Somerset’s Academy before joining the staff in 2016.
Back problems slowed Green’s progress last season and a winter in Australia was part of his cricket rehabilitation.
Having swapped the 35-degree heat of Perth for the Beast from the East and Storm Emma in recent days, Green has had time to reflect on his season Down Under.
“It seems like I have been away a long time, but it has gone pretty quickly for me and really enjoyed my time in Australia,” said Green.
Green played just as a batsman to allow his back to make a full recovery, which thankfully it now has.
“I wasn’t able to bowl out in Australia but followed my rehab schedule with a view to being able to bowl back here,” said Green.
“The scan says my back is now fully healed and I am currently off half of my run up when I bowl, which I will be increasing in the hope that I can then bowl well all year.
“I think that the warm-up game we play against Exeter University will be the first bowling that I do in a game.”
Green had a largely productive time with Gosnells, striking 682 runs in all competitions, which included a century, three 50s and three scores of 40 or more. Click here for his full record
Green’s 142 in week eight against Midland-Guildford was the best score in the competition by any batsman during the regular season, which ends this weekend.
Said Green: “I had a really good start to my time out there and, leading up to Christmas, I scored about 400 runs.
“Things dropped away a little bit afterwards. We didn’t manage to win as many games as we should have but I really enjoyed it.”
Making a century took some of the pressure off Green, who was used as an opening batsman from the word go in Grade Cricket.
“It was a real sense of relief more than anything else,” said Green.
“I was just happy that I scored a century because there is pressure on you as an overseas player. Everyone expects you to do well so I was happy that I was able to.”
So how had Green found the standard of playing Grade Cricket?
“I would say that it is definitely better than the Devon Premier League but not as good as Somerset 2nd XI cricket,” he said.
Most sides have good opening bowlers and a couple of good batters and occasionally you get a superstar playing/ I played against Mitch Marsh, Ashton Turner and Joel Harris.
“I spent a lot of time working on my gym and fitness programme as well as coaching five hours a week in the afternoons with the juniors at Gosnells, as well as going to the beach.”
How had he found it spending so much time away from home?
“My time away was made very easy for me because the family I was living with were just so welcoming and generous towards me and it almost felt like I was at home. They looked after me really well,” he said.
“Now I am looking forward to getting back to training with the rest of the squad in the marquee, which I have heard a few good things about. Its also not too cold in there either!”
What does Green think that 2018 will hold for him?
“I have got to get my body right first then I can bowl well and hopefully have a good season,” said Green.
“I want to play some more first team cricket in 2018, but before then I need to produce some performances in the 2nd XI and work my may up from there through the season.”