The debt Adam McGuirk owes his father, Eddie, runs deeper than good cricketing genes and instilling in him a love for the sport.
When Adam, 16, takes the field for Central North in their Country Colts Championships opener against Western at Collins Park, Narrabri, on Monday, he will do so fortified by countless hours spent facing balls from his father in the net at their Gunnedah home.
He will also do so imbued with his father's desire for him to enjoy his cricket.
There is another participant of those net sessions: Adam’s younger sister, Claire, who will play for ACT/NSW Country at the under-15 women’s nationals in Canberra in January.
Eddie, a teacher a Gunnedah South Public School, said he put in the net “a couple of years” ago to “have fun” with his kids. He regards fun as the key element of cricket, and kept coming back to it during this interview, as if using it as a kind of reflector to keep the spotlight off his talented batsman son.
At age 48, and with decades of cricket as both a player and a coach etched in his psyche, Eddie rightly regards himself as proof of the philosophy underpinning his approach to the game. Eddie plays third grade at South Tamworth with Claire.
He said the home net was utilised only as much as his children wanted to use it. “I just enjoy going down there and having fun with the kids, just have fun after school,” he said.
Adam had a final hitout before the Country Colts Championships when he made 13 not out in Old Boys’ rain-shorted Twenty20 defeat of West Tamworth at Chauvel Park on Saturday. The match was moved to the synthetic wicket after a downpour made play at Riverside 2 impossible.
Adam said Central North “should go all right”. “Everyone’s played a carnival like that before, so we’ve all got experience,” he said, adding that the side will also benefit from the players’ exposure to senior cricket.
“[I] think every person that are going to Country [are] playing for Tamworth and playing for Narrabri or whoever else,” he said.
Adam signed with Old Boys this season after he, Eddie and Claire played for Wests last season. He moved to Old Boys to “enhance his cricket” by being surrounded by players who have tasted much success. “Wests was good to me – [there is] just a different culture at Old Boys, I reckon,” he said.
With Saturday’s clash reduced to 10 overs, Wests made 7-84. Shawn Mepham (35) top-scored, while Chris Coulton and Simon Norvill both snared three wickets each for Old Boys.
Old Boys passed the total in the ninth over, having lost three wickets. Norvill (40) and Mitchell Swain (28) had a 40-run opening stand.