Brett Kohlhagen tells of his John Howard bowling fears at Government House | The Border Mail


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DON’T do a bloody John Howard. That’s all I kept telling myself after being called up to bowl at Australian Governor-General David Hurley’s national backyard cricket day in Canberra on Thursday. The television cameras were there, the Indian High Commissioner and his entourage were there and my recent form with East Albury’s C grade had been poor at best. All I could think about was the former Prime Minister’s double bouncers while visiting an earthquake ravaged Pakistan in 2005. My anxiety levels weren’t helped after watching Yerong Creek farmer James ‘Snail’ Male being dispatched for 23 in his over by former NSW wicket-keeper Ryan Carters. I planned to bowl off-spin full and wide. The first ball was wide alright. It went within millimetres of missing the cut pitch on the pristine Government House lawn. Nervously I looked around to the umpire and LBW Trust chairman David Vaux who grimaced but thankfully didn’t extend his arms. I felt like the world had been lifted from my shoulders. Things got better a couple of balls later when I took a spectacular caught and bowled (straight forward chance for most). Unfortunately, a couple of full tosses knocked my figures around and I finished with 1-15. I wasn’t despondent though as my teammates Matt Klemke and Luke Kohlhagen copped the same treatment as ‘Snail’. After Matt was dispatched to the boundary off three successive deliveries, The Governor General reportedly said: ‘That’s the good thing about backyard cricket, even the beginners can play’. We were set 93 for victory. Former Australian women’s Test player Michelle Goszko was on our side and suggested we go hard early. Unfortunately Luke took it far too literally. The Governor-General was shown respect earlier in the day when he batted and it was widely expected the same would occur when the 67-year-old bowled. Luke clearly didn’t understand the etiquette as he took the long handle to the former Chief of the Defence Force. The rose brushes were left battered as he went six, four, six and six off his first four deliveries before Carters whispered from behind the stumps: ‘Don’t do that again or they might call security’. The game finished in a tie. The National Backyard Cricket fundraiser has raised over $50,000 this year to support education in cricket playing nations, as well as libraries in Australia. Over 1000 students from countries such as India, Sri Lanka and Nepal have been assisted. Brett Kohlhagen was invited to play at Government House in Canberra by the LBW Trust.

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