Dan Mousley admits he's having the time of his life as his winter excursion to Adelaide is bearing fruit.
The all-rounder opted for South Australia, having endured another frustrating campaign, which saw a finger injury disrupt his promising progress.
Looking for an opportunity over the winter, Mousley chose West Torrens Cricket Club, a Premier Grade Cricket Club in beautiful Henley Beach.
Unsurprisingly, the Academy product, who is still just 21, isn’t shy about talking through his first few months down under. There’s been T20 World Cup trips, lunch with Chris Woakes (everyone’s dream), runs for his club, attempts at cooking and early mornings to watch the football World Cup. Even the bad weather, which isn’t the norm at this time of year, couldn’t dampen his experience.
“They’re elite, unbelievable,” said Mousley when asked what his host family are like. “There’s Andrew who is an AFL journalist so he’s pretty well known around here. Then there’s Michelle, Andrew’s wife, and she’s lovely. The oldest son is Jordan who is the operations manager at SACA (South Australian Cricket Association) and does a similar job to Keith Cook and finally there’s Bailey who plays for Redbacks and South Australia and Brittney who’s moved out.
“It’s a real sporting family, which is nice. We watch football, cricket, AFL, everything. I’m so lucky, I really am. Henley Beach is a really nice part of town and the ground is a ten-minute walk to the beach, but the weather was bad at the beginning.
“The family I’m living with said it was unheard of because it’s been genuinely cold and very similar to our April, except it’ll hit 30 out of nowhere. We had a massive storm and people were out of power for a week, so it was next-level stuff. The ground and nets were all flooded, so it was pretty bad. We’re coming through that now and it’s starting to heat up.”
The weather isn’t the only thing on the rise in Adelaide. West Torrens, nicknamed the Eagles, are currently second, with three wins and two draws in five games, heading into the Christmas break. The Club, which has a rich history of trophies and players – including Bears own Gladstone Small, Liam Norwell and Ian Chappell, has won 15 1st grade men’s premierships with the last being in 2021/22, breaking a 5-year premiership drought.
“I got 90-odd in the first game, which was a few days after I landed,” Mousley added. “We’re doing well and the facilities are fantastic. The ground has grass nets and we’ve probably got the strongest batting line-up in the competition, as six out of the top seven have all played first-class cricket. I’m really lucky to be playing with such high-quality players.
“We play Saturday and Sunday and train Tuesday and Thursday, which isn’t the norm in English club cricket and it’s intense. I’ve struggled with the gap between games because at home we train and play so much cricket, whereas over here I can go three weeks without a hit.
“I’ll chat to Westy and Frosty and do some drills on my own and, as I’ve mentioned, the guy I live with plays for the Redbacks so we’ll train together. When the state bowlers come back, I try and work with them too, so that’s helping me as I’m really driven to be prepared for when the season comes. Ben Charlesworth and Tom Lace (both Gloucestershire) are also over here so I’ve been doing a little bit of work with them.”
Away from the middle, Mousley is enjoying his time. With a T20 World Cup played in the city, the Nether Whitacre product has been able to get out and about to learn, watch and see some familiar faces.
“Me, Tharindu (former Academy coach) and Woakesy (Chris Woakes) met up before the semi-final and I also saw Stoney (Olly Stone) who was with the ODI squad. We went out for breakfast with Nathan McAndrew and I watched a Sheffield Shield game he was in as two of the lads at my club were playing.
“I went to a couple of World Cup games and saw Zimbabwe against Holland and India against Bangladesh, which was special.
“I’m not going back for Christmas as the flights are so expensive, so I’ve got three weeks off playing. I’ll keep training, but I aim is to see a couple of the boys and I spoke to George Garrett this morning. We’ll probably go and watch Sam Hain in the Big Bash and Nathan McAndrew in Brisbane and in the New Year I’d like to head over to Sydney to see Jacob Bethell, Ethan Brookes and Ryan Sidebottom.”
So whilst the Members endure a wet Christmas, Dan is having a ball in the sun. Speaking to him via Zoom, it’s clear that he’s not only loving the opportunity to play, but the opportunity to enjoy a different lifestyle.
Dan is still getting caught out by the weather and not wearing enough sun cream, but he’s all smiles. He even miserably failed at cooking.
“The furthest I’ve gone is fried eggs and bacon and it was as black as it could possibly be,” Mousley concluded. “The yolk, I thought, would be runny, but it was just hard. It was disgusting, but I got it down.
“I had a message from OHD and he said ‘he didn’t realise they had factor 1000 in Australia'”! I tried to be clever and get a tan but I looked like a lobster. I won’t make that mistake again.”
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