Welcome to our first edition of Ground’s in Focus supported by Gabba Sporting Goods. We venture to the suburbs of Sydney to the White Cricket Ground where this backyard cricket gem is located and has two main men running the show. We got in touch with one of them, Brendan Scott, to have a chat about how it all came about.
TPP: So Brendan, tell us a bit about the WCG and how long has it been going and how it came about?
Brendan: This is our second year at the WCG. The truth is there are two of us behind what has become the WCG. Myself (Brendan) and my good mate Matt. It’s his house that we play at, he is responsible for all the curating and I look after the logistics such as team arrangements, itinerary, advertising etc. We both have loved cricket from a very early age, and always will. we both grew up in the Bankstown area in south western Sydney.
TPP: What is your average week like when preparing the WCG?
Brendan: Matt will cut and maintain the ground and I will be trying to work out the logistics of the day.
With their club cricket days behind them, it hasn’t stopped the backyard cricket from being just as enjoyable. Their most recent test at the WCG is one of their most memorable. Brendan’s XI were rolled for the lowest total ever recorded at the WCG in a test match 19 in the first innings to be dead in the water, only to fight back and knock over Matt’s XI for 36.
Setting the home team 91 to win, Brendan’s XI shone with the ball to win by 41 runs. They had great inaugural T20 Competition Final where the match went down to the last ball. The beauty of the commitment to their backyard setup is all these matches can be viewed on their YouTube channel, WCG Backyard Cricket.
TPP: What are the key ingredients for making a wicket for you, do you experiment with your wicket and what is your ideal backyard pitch?
Brendan: Fertilizer and water straight after a match to begin the process, then constant water to allow the grass to grow, with light rolling on match day. We take the better safe than sorry approach to wicket preparation, looking for even surface & bounce but also has its own unique characteristics.
TPP: What’s your best piece of machinery and is there apiece equipment that you’d like to get to improve the quality of your surface and preparation?
Brendan: Our little push mower, trims the pitch nicely and maintains a good level. A heavier roller would be ideal.
TPP: What are issues you face currently such equipment or resources?
Brendan: Time. Work obviously takes up most of our time and it’s hard to get motivated after a 10 hour day.
TPP: How do you see backyard cricket progressing in the future, as it has previously had quite a following in places like New Zealand with proper competitions?
Brendan: I certainly hope so. everyone has their own unique backyard with unique rules, scoring areas, dismissals etc. would be great to form some sort of competition.
TPP: What type of balls are allowed in your match, are swing balls allowed to be re-taped, any special conditions with your venue?
Brendan: We use full and half taped tennis balls. Can’t be given out LBW if playing a stroke. If you hit the ball over the fence you’re just out, not 6 and out. Apart from that it’s pretty standard cricket.
TPP: Any tips for young fella that might that is looking to get his backyard cricket game up to your level?
Brendan: Our level? Thanks. Haha. I would say to express yourself. It’s your unique set up and that’s what makes this so exciting, seeing people’s different ideas and possibly implementing them as you go along. Would also highly encourage creating a YouTube channel to showcase your venue.
TPP: What’s the banter and environment like before, during and after? Does everyone pitch in to get things done, i.e. rain interruptions and the covers out?
Brendan: Yeah, the banter gets intense in the group chat which builds it up nicely. We have quite a multicultural group of friends so we have different dishes per event (Lebanese, Greek etc.) always a BBQ of some sort. Thankfully we haven’t had to rush out with the covers yet. touch wood.
TPP: Is the sponsorship for show or are they legitimate?
Brendan: For show. The companies belong to some of the boys. More advertisement than anything else but gives the backyard that real life arena feel which is what we are going for.
TPP: Do you feel any pressure build up to the big day, expectations are high?
Brendan: Ummm, more an anxiousness to get out and beat your mate on the day, but when you’re in the middle and its game on it gets serious. Very serious. We are all super competitive but it always remains good natured. We don’t hold back with the ball either, a few blokes bowl serious heat which is great for those who used to play decent level cricket and miss the competitive side, the contest.
TPP: What’s the off season hold for you?
Brendan: Depression, haha. I coach a football (soccer) team and Matt loves his motorsport. If we’re not doing that, you’ll find us up the pub watching the Rugby league.
TPP: Anything else that you might like to add, classic stories or innings?
Brendan: I’d actually like to congratulate and thank yourself on what you are doing to promote backyard cricket and cricket as a whole. Keep up the good work. also, anyone in the Sydney area keen to give us a run, get in contact with us.
Our pleasure Brendan and Matt, thanks for sharing your brilliant backyard venue with us. If you’d like to see more of the WCG or take them up on their offer of a backyard test match, check out their social media accounts;
YouTube – The WCG Backyard Cricket
Facebook – @TheWCGBackyardCricket
Instagram – @TheWCGBackyardCricket