Jeremy Bray’s recent return to Irish cricket circles has been widely welcomed with the affable Aussie settling into his new role as Head Coach at The Hills.
The 48 year-old was a formidable presence at the top of the Ireland batting order as they made their way onto the world stage, famously scoring their first World Cup century in 2007.
After he called time on his playing career, Bray began his coaching career with his adopted country, securing qualification with the men's Under 19 side for the 2012 World Cup in Australia, before switching to a Head Coach role with Ireland Women.
He then enjoyed a successful spell with Denmark before moving to Vanuatu as their High Performance Manager. The Covid pandemic however saw Bray having to leave before the end of his contract.
“Vanuatu was a great experience, working with some great players and people, especially CEO Tim Cutler,” Bray told CricketEurope.
“I have been fortunate that Tim was so understanding of my circumstances, and thankful for all his support during my time there. We have put systems in place that I’m sure will benefit Vanuatu cricket in the long term.
“Tim is doing a wonderful job in a lot of restructuring of the VCA which I have no doubts, with him at the helm, will reap the benefits in the not too distant future.
“There is so much talent and passion for the game there and I’m sure there will be a lot to come from them in the coming years.”
The return to Dublin is a welcome move for him though in these troubled times, and Irish fans can expect an older and wiser coach than that of a decade earlier.
“It’s been quite a coaching odyssey over the past ten years, that’s for sure. I’ve learned so much over that time, experiencing so many different cultures and people.
“I’ve certainly upskilled in that time, and will bring a more balanced, mature perspective to the role.
“I’ve been very encouraged by the initial turn-outs in the first week and Fingal is such a hotbed of cricket. They have a great club and facility here. They never stop striving to improve on and off the field.”
Bray also revealed that he has held talks with Ireland officials about getting involved again at a higher level.
“I’ve been in touch with Ireland Performance Director Richard Holdsworth,” said Bray.
“I’ve offered my service as I’m keen to pass on my knowledge gained in my coaching career to date.
“I’m helping out with Munster Reds at the moment, whose players are primarily based in Dublin so it makes sense for them to be training here.
“I have been impressed by the quality and depth of talent on offer and it’s great to be contributing.”
It’s been a wonderful cricketing journey so far for ‘JB’ and who would bet against more success in the future.
You get the feeling that his trip still has a long way to go.