Newcastle District Cricket Association: Rhys Hanlon commutes back from Goulburn police academy each weekend to play with Hamilton-Wickham

BACK AND FORTH: Rhys Hanlon in action for reigning premiers Hamilton-Wickham earlier this season despite now living in Goulburn to attend the NSW Police Academy. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
BACK AND FORTH: Rhys Hanlon in action for reigning premiers Hamilton-Wickham earlier this season despite now living in Goulburn to attend the NSW Police Academy. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Rhys Hanlon knows the Hume Highway better than most.

The Lambton 22-year-old has travelled it almost every weekend this season, making the 690-kilometre round trip back from Goulburn to play with his beloved club Hamilton-Wickham.  

He’s a few months into training at the NSW Police Academy, but has continued lining up for the defending premiers in the Newcastle District Cricket Association first grade competition. 

“Massive effort,” Pumas captain Josh Trappel said.

“It just goes to show the passion he has to play for Hamwicks.”

And so far his game hasn’t seem to suffer despite the lack of regular training, managing to make 238 runs at an average of 47.60 from his six innings.

The right-handed batsman has strung together double-figure scores of 30, 78, 42, 68, 12 and 20 in the opening part of the campaign.   

“I’ve been hitting them alright but I haven’t been training much,” Hanlon said.

“I haven’t put that much pressure on myself and that seems to be working.”

Hanlon has been one of a few regular players in and out of the Hamwicks’ XI this summer, including Trappel, all-rounder Sam Webber and paceman Andrew Maher.

However, the title holders remain in the mix once again sitting sixth on the ladder and just one win outside the top four. 

“We haven’t really put a full side together yet this year, but we’re still going okay,” Hanlon said.

“One game we’ll bat well and the next game we’ll bowl well, but we haven’t really put them together.”

As for the two-day match currently Hanlon finds himself in the midst of, Hamwicks ended up 256 at home against Charlestown thanks to a cameo from stop-gap No.11 Matt Webber.

The experienced campaigner was further down the order than usual at Passmore Oval on Saturday because he wasn’t at the ground, firstly attending a ballet concert.  

“It was a bit tense, because they only needed one wicket and we were waiting for him [Webber] to get back,” Hanlon said.

“Tommy [Dwyer] was in, and he’s a pretty aggressive player usually, but we were saying keep your head down until tea and give Matty a chance after that.”

It worked a treat with Webber notching up a handy unbeaten 30 from 36 balls, advancing the total from 9-207 after the hosts were at one stage 8-189. 

A first-innings win this weekend would see them level with the fourth-placed Magpies on the overall standings.

Hanlon still savours his maiden two-day premiership from March.

“The two-day comp is always the goal. I’d rather win that than one-day or T20 comps,” he said.