There is the saying that you won’t necessarily remember what they said or what they did, but you will remember how they made you feel.

As an aspiring junior cricketer or even mature age weekend warrior, it can be hard to pinpoint the moment you knew the game was for you, but you can more than likely recall the people who helped create a positive first experience for you.

The people you meet in cricket along the way help shape your life. You can win premierships or have significant individual success on the field but there is nothing more rewarding than positively influencing someone’s life through cricket.

Twenty years ago, I was a couple of good straight drives away from my nearest cricket club. A good firm handshake, a welcoming smile and a resulting sense of belonging, I was hooked.

I am one of the lucky ones, but I never thought I would have what it takes to coach. I used to think a coach had to play at a significantly high standard to be able to impart knowledge on the next generation.

Where I am from in Albany, on the south coast of Western Australia, cricket has and always will be a massive part of my life. I am only 34 years old, there is plenty of time left in my life.

What started as the passion to give back to my club as a junior coach in under 17s cricket has led to some memorable experiences on and off the cricket field including travelling across the country doing what I love.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have received and the experiences I have been a part of.

For the past two seasons I have coached the State country team, the WA Country XI, which competes annually at the Australian Country Cricket Championships in January which pits the best players across the country against each other.

For those who don’t know it is the pinnacle for any country cricketer to represent your State and the standard is close to Premier Cricket 1st grade.

I used to think cricket was all about talent and winning which got the results everyone wants at the end of the day, a premiership, title or championship.

But it took a line in the sand moment for me to realise its more about fun, enjoyment and experience.

Don’t get me wrong you need talent to win but “what does success look like?”

As a coach you have to help shape this environment that people want to be a part of; it sounds simple enough.

This was evident when the WA Country XI claimed the Australian Country Cricket Championships in 2019 in Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley of country Victoria.

Tim Edmunds (bottom left) with fellow Albany cricketers Zane Marwick, Jeremy Wood, Patrick Butler, Nathan Crosby, and Nathan Crudeli.

Never has playing cricket in an average of 43 degrees every day been more enjoyable for those 14 men.

Painting the picture, the WA Country XI had only won five of their previous 20 matches at the previous two championships. After two losses to start the 2019 champs, the doubt had crept in again.

What transpired from there was simply remarkable as we won our next seven games to win the overall title and the one-day title.

The two losses had led to a unique player-driven trademark which underpinned their performances for the next seven days.

No WA team had gone back-to-back which was our goal earlier this year in Toowoomba, Queensland.

After denying Victoria on their home soil a year earlier, it was our turn to taste the cruelty of cricket as we went down in dramatic Duckworth Lewis fashion as the heavens opened up at the worst possible time at the back end of our run-chase.

Looking back briefly, the other day I realised I had racked up close to 50,000km in the past five years. Late night driving 5 hours each way from Albany to Perth for a game of cricket sounds absurd, but myself and other country cricketers in WA know no other way.

While my coaching highlight was no doubt winning the championships, the true highlight for any coach was having players tell you it was their cricketing highlight.

Cricket is all about the memories you make and who you share them with.

Tim Edmunds is the Cricket Manager for the Great Southern region of Western Australia