Nelson Park, Napier
IF PEOPLE were to live their lives according to how their stars and the moon are aligned then it's fair to say Andrew Mathieson's monthly horoscope would have made fairly interesting reading recently.
In horoscope speak, with a leaning to street patois, it would have probably read something like this: "Dude, follow your instincts to Hawke's Bay to play cricket because the cosmic forces that synchronise the moon with Jupiter will go the full circle by the time summer is over."
The 23-year-old from Hamilton followed his instincts, cutting a track from a scattered Northern Districts catchment area to an equally dispersed Central Districts one in a bid to find some continuity in his first-class cricket career.
"It's not that ND treated me badly, or anything, but but they [ND Knights] have a couple of old guys in there who are still going well," he says of the 2011-12 Plunket Shield champions who defended their title last summer.
While the former two-match Knight anticipated some teething problems on arriving here, he's found it somewhat of a breeze assimilating with the Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags squad.
"Alan, Lance and the coaching staff have been great with Barney as the captain, too," Mathieson reveals of the Alan Hunt and Lance Hamilton-coached Stags with rookie skipper Kieran Noema-Barnett at the helm before they play their second four-day match against the Auckland Aces at Nelson Park, Napier, from tomorrow.
CD lost their opening match here on Wednesday in a clash that centred around the return of former Black Caps batsman Jesse Ryder who effectively turned the result in favour of the Wellington Firebirds for a five-wicket win.
Mathieson says it's not easy to pull one's tent and relocate to another province.
"You sort of have to start all over again because no one knows you.
"I just moved here because I thought I have more opportunities," says the right-arm medium pacer who comes in at first change.
It helps that the Stags have several youngsters in the mix so trying to make a name for oneself becomes a leveller.
"It's a different culture in CD and it's more enjoyable with everyone getting on well with each other.
"People at ND got on well too but there were some off-field disruptions with the coach and some players so you don't have that here."
What makes Mathieson's stars align with the moon even more, as it were, was the news that Craig Ross, of Hamilton, is the newly appointed CD director of cricket who starts in Napier on November 13. "He taught me everything from nutrition to biomechanics and mapping out a year plan," says Mathieson, who played cricket in Darwin over winter and worked in the retail industry.
Admittedly a man whose life was in a state of confusion coming out of the teenage years, Mathieson found traction with Ross off the field, too.
"He's very organised so I learned a lot of life skills as well as technical stuff from Craig," he says, adding Ross taught him some bowling tricks, too.
His parents, Carol and Dave Mathieson, always supported him although his father had a disposition towards hockey.
Mathieson, who took some stick against Ryder, knows little about the Aces except they are bringing two bowlers.
"We dropped too many catches against Wellington. There were a lot of ifs, buts and coulds but we can't take anything away from Wellington's execution and will to win."
The Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags team to play the Auckland Aces in a four-day Plunket Shield match at Nelson Park, Napier, from tomorrow (from): Kieran Noema-Barnett (captain), Doug Bracewell, Carl Cachopa, Jamie How, Andrew Lamb, Andrew Mathieson, Tarun Nethula, Jeet Raval, Mathew Sinclair, Kruger van Wyk(wicketkeeper), Ben Wheeler, William Young.