ADAM Ranson had been planning to jump on a plane and head back to England later this month after a long summer playing cricket in Australia.
And then the Ballarat Red Devils came knocking.
Ranson’s talents with the soccer ball weren’t missed by Reds manager James Robinson, who has helped lure the 19-year-old to the club for the National Premier Leagues Victoria 2 season.
A former junior with English Premier League club West Ham United, Ranson made his debut for the Reds as a second-half substitute in the 3-2 win over Moreland City last Sunday.
His appearance came a day after featuring in the final-round clash with local cricket side East Ballarat, which he played for throughout its 2015-16 campaign.
“It has always been an ambition to come out here and play cricket,” Ranson, from Kent, said.
“I did not expect to be playing football out here at all. I didn’t bring any football gear with me.”
Ranson said his path to the Reds began when he was approached by Robinson following the manager’s re-signing to the helm in late January.
“It all went on from there,” Ranson, who plays predominantly as a centre back, said.
“And I decided, why not pursue it again?.”
Ranson said he will remain in Australia until at least September, but hadn’t yet decided if he would stay for another season in the Ballarat Cricket Association.
The all-rounder rated his campaign with East Ballarat “under par” after making just 78 runs and taking 14 wickets in the first grade competition.
As well as West Ham United, Ranson has also spent time with Tonbridge Angels, Dagenham and Redbridge and Maidstone United soccer clubs in England.
He will form part of a Ballarat line-up that is looking to build on its stoppage time success when it travels to take on St Albans Saints on Sunday.
Robinson said he would have the same availability within the senior squad as he did last weekend when a host of experienced players returned to help the team to its first win of the season.
The Reds jumped to sixth on the table following the result at Morshead Park and now sit just one point behind leaders Sunshine George Cross.
“Basically we know it’s going to be a tough game, but we’re out to build upon last week’s first half,” Robinson said.
Ballarat scored twice and created a number of good chances in the first 45 minutes last Sunday.
After this weekend’s match, the Reds are back home against Werribee City.
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