From the Big Apple to the cricket fields of CQ
CRICKET: Not long after arriving on the sun-soaked Gold Coast from the cold climes of New York, Sally Louhibi found herself frantically shopping for cricket whites.
She had received a call from her cousin Ryan Pelling of Rockhampton, asking her to play in the Frenchville Sports Club Country Carnival.
Ryan organises Cols and Wals, the family-based team which commemorates Sally and Ryan's late grandfathers - Colin Cocks and Walter Pelling.
Sally was headed to the Beef Capital with her mum Patricia Chester to visit family and friends and she happily accepted the invitation to play on the opening day of the carnival.
On her arrival, she got word that she would play in all of the team's games - and she couldn't be happier.
Sally is the only female playing in the Country Carnival and when she strode onto the Gracemere cricket ground on Thursday, it was the first game of cricket she had played in 19 years.
"I played cricket at school. My brother Cameron and father David played it and all the family love it,” she said.
"It all came back to me... it's a bit like riding a bike really.
"It was wonderful being part of it. They welcomed me into the team and presented me with my cap before the game and the guys in the other team were great.”
Sally was positioned in the outfield when Cols and Wals were bowling and she admits her heart was pumping when the ball came near her.
Listed to bat well down the order, she was not expecting to get any time in the middle but the opportunity presented itself.
"The wickets kept falling and in I went. I was in there with Ryan and we stayed in and batted out the rest of the innings,” she said.
"I'm a fast little thing and I had him running pretty quickly between the wickets. We didn't get the win but I ended up making 11 runs.”
Sally said she had to do some acclimatising, given it was snowing when she left her home in New York several weeks ago.
Her husband Cherif had to return to America and did not get to see Sally play but he has been sent a host of video footage and photographs of her in action.
Sally is relishing her family time and says the cricket carnival has made it all the more special.
"It's been a few years since I've managed to make it up here and it's been great making some more family memories.
"Ryan's done a nice job getting this team together and it's been fun.
"New York's a crazy, vibrant city and I'm loving it. We've made some good friends and there's a good Aussie community there.
"But it's just beautiful up here, I love getting back to Rocky.
"And you never know, I might get a catch today,” she said as she got set for her second game today.