Playing cricket in the Philippines a great experience for Hill

Hill selected for Philippines national team:

JONATHAN Hill managed to fit a lot in to a week during his recent trip to the Philippines.

The Bay and Basin first grade skipper made the trip to play in their inaugural 50-over domestic tournament and managed to look into his mother’s ancestry while he was there.

Hill qualifies to represent the Philippines National Cricket Team through his mother, who was born there.

After being named in their national squad, he had to play a minimum of three games to be eligible to represent them in a Twenty 20 qualifying tournament later this year.

He managed to do that and catch up with his family in the space of a week, and while it was a bit of a rushed trip, he said it was definitely worth it.

“I love going over there to play cricket, but being able to connect with my family is probably even more important,” he said.

“My mum is from the southern part of the country, so it was great to be able to go down there and learn about my ancestry and indigenous heritage,” he added.

All of the cricket is played in the capital Manila, where Hill was a member of the Nomads Cricket Club, as an opening batsman and first-change bowler.

INTERNATIONAL HONOURS: Jonathan Hill is looking forward to the prospect of representing the Philippines at a world Twenty20 qualifying tournament in Lismore in November. Photo: PATRICK FAHY

INTERNATIONAL HONOURS: Jonathan Hill is looking forward to the prospect of representing the Philippines at a world Twenty20 qualifying tournament in Lismore in November. Photo: PATRICK FAHY

As a cricketing nation, the Philippines is still very much in the development stage, so there are no turf wickets in the country.

All games are played at the same ground, with a matted wicket and Hill said playing on it is a very challenging experience.

“There is the overbearing humidity as well, but adjusting to the matted wicket is probably the biggest challenge,” he said.

“There is very unpredictable bounce and as a batsman, I was actually a bit nervous.

“Then when I was bowling, there would be some balls I thought were on a good length that would end up rolling and others that would bounce over their heads.”

After being dismissed for eight in his first game, after a questionable LBW decision, Hill made 49 in his second game, before being run out after a mix up with his partner.

He played second fiddle in the third game, making 21 not out, while his batting partner went berserk and scored a century in little more than 40 balls.

With the ball, he took six wickets in three games, all of which his side won, but they were eventually defeated in the final, after Hill had returned home.

Having fulfilled his requirements in their local competition, Hill can now play for the Philippines at the Twenty20 ICC East Asia-Pacific Men's Trophy tournament, which is being held in Lismore in November.

The tournament will feature other developing nations, including Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Samoa and is part of the early stages of qualifying for the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup in India.

Hill, who has just resumed training with Bay and Basin, will have plenty of cricket under his belt by then and is bursting at the chance to play for his country again.

“Some of the guys have never played on turf before, but I think the wickets in Lismore should be pretty good, so it will be interesting to see how we go,” he said.

“Strange things can happen and if the stars align and things go our way, anything is possible.”

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