Scott Hawkins is the latest representative from Essex County Cricket Club to make his mark in Australia although the assistant groundsman won’t be as high profile as opening batsman Alastair Cook who made such a stunning impression during last winter’s Ashes series.
The 21-year-old Hawkins is currently working Down Under helping to improve the pitches at one of Australia’s best known cricket clubs. “I’ve got a school teacher friend in Melbourne and the principal of his school is president of Foots Cray Edgewater Cricket Club in Melbourne,” he said.
“They’ve apparently had a few problems with their pitches and they were looking for someone to go out there and give their groundsman a bit of guidance and help.
“They asked me if I was interested and Essex agreed to suspend my contract for five months so that I could go. It’s a good opportunity for me to spend the winter out there and will obviously help with my career development. I’m back at Chelmsford on March 1, though, to help prepare everything for our season.”
For one so young, Hawkins has already acquired a wealth of experience. “Although I’ve only been working full-time for Essex for three years, I’ve been involved with them since I was 14 working during the summer months of the school holidays,” he explained. “Last season was my seventh season of being associated with the county.”
Moreover, he already has experience of working in Australia. “I went out there when I was 16 and got the chance to work at the Gabba but this latest opportunity is a big challenge and one I’m really looking forward to.”
Hawkins admits that most of his knowledge has been gained working at Essex under the county’s much-respected head groundsman Stuart Kerrison.
“I went to college for a year and started a foundation degree but then a permanent job came up at Essex and most of my knowledge has been watching, learning and working with Stuart and also reading books,” he said. “I’ve been doing the groundsman cricket courses and I’m up to level 3 on those.
On a few rare spare weekends, Hawkins turns out for Essex side Hockley but he doesn’t envisage donning whites to play for Footscray, despite the advantage of preparing his own pitch.
“They play a really good standard of grade cricket and that’s above my level,” he added, with a laugh. “I’ll just prepare the ground then sit back and let them get on with it.”