WOODFORD batsman Jamie Harry is back.
Eight years after his first knee reconstruction and 13 months after his third, Harry has returned to the top grade of Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA).
The 36-year-old made 28 in his first division one match since March 2011 last weekend, as the Eels started the season with a win against Allansford.
It’s been a long road back to the top for the veteran stroke maker, one which has required persistence and dedication.
Harry first tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee playing football for Allansford in 2004.
He tore it again bowling at training in 2008 and for a third time bowling in a match in 2010.
Remarkably, Harry played out the 2010-11 season managing the injury, before finally going under the knife in September last year.
Rehab started soon after and he returned to cricket in the Eels’ division three side last season.
“Playing a couple of division three games towards the end of last year, I realised that wasn’t what I wanted to be doing if I was going to continue playing cricket,” he said.
“I wanted to play as high a standard as I could. For me to be able to do that, I had to get fit and get my body right.”
Five months of strengthening exercises in the gym followed.
Harry said his knee was now as good as it had ever been.
He said making another comeback was “a big decision” which needed the support of his family.
“When I was younger it was all about individual achievements. As I’ve got older it’s about team success,” he said.
“The Thursday before round one I was thinking how glad I was to be back playing cricket.
“It was as if I was young again and excited about the first round. Having that year off, the enthusiasm was there.”
Woodford takes on traditional powerhouse Nestles at Bushfield in round two of the WDCA season fully aware of the importance of early wins.
The signs are positive at Woodford ahead of today’s match against Nestles at Bushfield and Harry said the club was an exciting place to be.
“I don’t think I’ve seen as much talent, as far as young kids go, at the club,” he said. “I’ve been at the club 22 years and I haven’t seen as much talent.
“It’s not just one or two kids, there are five or six that at different times will play their role in division one games and dictate the outcome. They’re not just there to get experience.”
In other matches, Allansford hosts West Warrnambool, Wesley CBC takes on Brierly-Christ Church, Russells Creek hosts Dennington, East Warrnambool YCW will chase its first win against Port Fairy and Nirranda and Merrivale will battle to preserve their unbeaten records.