Mitchell Shield players pay tribute to Hughes
FIVE days after the injury to Phillip Hughes that took his life, Warwick captain Shaun O'Leary admitted he was still in shock as the Warwick and Stanthorpe Mitchell Shield players observed a minute's silence in memory of the Australian batsman at Slade Park yesterday.
O'Leary said Hughes was a fantastic cricketer.
"It would have been more understandable for an old bloke near the end of his career to be hit in a lower grade game than Phil Hughes at the age of 25," O'Leary said.
"What a shock when Phil was at the peak of his career."
Stanthorpe captain Ben Staley said the loss of Hughes was like the loss of a cousin.
"It was a bit hard to focus on club cricket on Saturday and is still hard to focus today to be honest," he said after the toss.
"I loved watching him play. He had a different type of technique.
"When you heard Phil talk, you could see he was from the country.
"I feel a bit gutted by it all."
O'Leary admitted he bought a new helmet on Saturday after being approached to captain the Mitchell Shield side for yesterday's game against Stanthorpe.
"I am a lower-order batsman and decided on Monday I needed a helmet if I was playing Mitchell Shield," he said.
Little did he know at the time that the use of helmets would tragically be in the news so much last week.
Both admitted the local derby between Warwick and Stanthorpe for the Bourke Hendry Trophy would be a tough encounter.
"Form won't matter," Staley said going into the game with Stanthorpe having a two from two winning record and Warwick none from one this season before yesterday's game.
The game at Slade Park was the first since a new pitch was laid and piping placed for ground irrigation from recycled water.
O'Leary won the toss and decided to bat on the new wicket.
"It looks pretty good, you can see where the grass has been laid," he said.