McGowan prepared to put body on the line
Mackih McGowan has quickly learnt that Cup Match loyalty runs deep ... even his mother, Beverly McGowan, has made it clear that her support of Somerset remains.
McGowan, the son of former Cleveland captain McNeil McGowan, is the only colt in a St George’s team that contains five changes from last year. He has had plenty of support and encouragement since being selected on Saturday night.
“Everybody on my daddy’s side is a St George’s fan, except for my mother, who is the only Somerset fan and gets kicked out the house every Cup Match time,” McGowan joked. “She sent me a voice message, and kept it real honest. She said ‘I’m still not supporting St George’s because you’re playing for them, but I’m supporting you’.
“She said she still hopes her team wins. I’m getting that a lot; a lot of Somerset fans have been wishing me well, and my extended uncle said ‘I hope you bowl well, but that you don’t take any wickets’.”
McGowan was on his way back to St George’s Cricket Club on Saturday night when he heard that he had been selected. “After the trial match I came home to get a shower before going back to St George’s, but ended up falling asleep and woke up about 10.30 to a call from my best friend that I had made the team,” he said.
“He got a WhatsApp message saying I had made the team, but it was a false picture going around about somebody else’s team, not the official team. I decided to go back to St George’s. We started driving and my girlfriend saw the Somerset team and a couple of minutes later, the St George’s team came up.
“I was by the airport by then and we got all excited in the car. It sunk in and then it still hasn’t.”
As someone who plays in the Eastern Counties, he is used to the big crowds, although he is starting to appreciate that Cup Match is truly something special.
“I just came from training today and looking around and seeing everything getting set up and imagining how it is going to be on the day,” he said. “I got the invitation to go try out for St George’s this year and this was my first year trying to make it.”
McGowan put himself on the St George’s radar when he took four for 32 while playing for St David’s in a Cup Match trial this month at Wellington Oval.
“This is the first year I stuck with it and as it got closer to the second trial match when I took the four wickets, they were pressuring me to come training more and more, so I kind of figured that they were looking at me,” said the lanky fast bowler, who is one of only two colts in the match, along with Somerset’s Alje Richardson.
“They had been taking notice of me for some time now. It’s just that I wasn’t really pursuing Cup Match. Growing up in Devil’s Hole, my main interest was winning Eastern Counties back. Growing up I never saw my team win until Allan Douglas Jr was captain. My father is close friends with Allan Douglas Sr.
“Once we won the cup, Cup Match was my next goal. I’m definitely ready. One thing about me, I always put my best foot forward, no matter what. If I’m playing for a team, I’ll put my body on the line for that team and my team-mates.
“I do have the experience of playing in front of a big crowd, though not to the extent of Cup Match. This is the first season I’ve been taking my cricket serious, I got called up for the national team after my performance in the second trial and played against Bahamas on the first day.
“This is the first year I’ve been consistent with my bowling and more confident with my running in. Going into Cup Match, I’m feeling good. Last year in the county game against Bailey’s Bay, I said to my cousin Kioshi Trott that I had a feeling about this year. Next thing you knew, we won that cup, so I’m sticking with my gut this year.
“I had a feeling I was going to make the team so I’m going to stick with my gut feeling on the outcome. Allan Douglas has been a big help, giving some advice about the first day when I step out in front of the crowd, the nerves are going to be there and just embrace it. Everybody has been a big help, actually.”
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