In his third year playing in Sydney, Mudgee native, Guy Hammond is smashing it playing for the Western Suburb Magpies despite two major injuries.
It all started when Hammond made first grade in the local comp at 15-years-old, and was scouted by former Australian fast bowler Len Pascoe at a coaching clinic when he was 16.
Two years later, Guy was asked to move to the bright lights as Sydney West could not look past the potential they saw in him.
Hammond played the first three games in third grade in his first season living in Sydney, taking seven wickets, and it was only when he was heading into the fourth game that he felt something not right with his back.
Visiting the physiotherapist revealed that he had a lower back stress fracture in his L4 - one of the lowest vertebrae in the lumbar spine, removing Hammond from the season, taking six months off.
“Six months without bowling is pretty hard, I just had to sit and watch the season,” Hammond said.
At that stage, the 18-year-old was bowling at 130kms, fast for his age, which meant putting 12 times his body weight through his back.
Guy didn’t bowl until July after he applied himself to corrections and work with physiotherapists, leaving him with better form.
“They changed his action and straightened him up a bit so he’s bowling beautifully now,” Guy’s father, Steve Hammond said.
Making it through the pre-season fine, Guy played the first round in second grade taking three wickets for 25 runs of 10 overs, only to have the lower back pain return.
He went and got another scan, and this time he had two stress fractures, his L4 and L5.
“Basically my L4 vertebrae was completely fracturing and splitting in half,” Hammond revealed.
A devastating turn for Hammo meant he had to take another two six months off to repair, missing two seasons in a row.
At this point Guy felt he wasn’t giving anything to his club and considered returning to Mudgee.
I didn’t know if I was going to get past the back injury, I didn’t know if my body was going to hold up.Guy Hammond
He had a meeting with the club to see how they sat with the situation only to come out with their full support.
“I felt good knowing the club was supporting me but I still felt in a way I was letting them down,” Guy said.
“For them to give me that support when I need it really meant a lot.
“I guess it’s just my nature and personality to try and do the best I can.”
The 19-year-old took it steady in the pre-season only to come back in full force bowling at 80 per cent intensity in the first two rounds of third grade, and fired bowls at 90 to 100 per cent intensity down the pitch to take five for 18 of 11 overs.
“Hammond bowled with great control and wasn’t afraid to give the batsmen a sniff as he took his second 5fa for the club. Congrats Hammer!” Western Suburbs DCC put in an Instagram post.
The plan for the aspiring cricketer is to work on a two year plan with little goals along the way.
“The first thing is to get to Christmas injury free,” he said.
“If I get there injury free, it’s the first milestone, it means I go through with no injury.”
Hammo will also work on bowling at second grade standard, with the ultimate goal to bowl at 140km by 23 to have a bigger chance at playing for state.
With hard work he hopes to break into the first grade injury free in the next few couple of seasons. He’s on the right track to achieving that.Steve Hammond