I was in the middle of a conversation with an old fixture secretary from one of my own clubs recently reminiscing about how he used to notify players of selection via post card, when my phone pinged once again saying I had a totally irrelevant, not requested, in joke comment that I was never going to be part of – well it didn’t actually say all that, just that I had yet another WhatsApp notification from a group that I was expected to be a member of, but only needed to know no more than 10% of the actual content posted.
Following my resultant rant that not all the changes in cricket I had observed since my return in 2020 following my 33 year break were necessarily improvements, and an even bigger lecture on the perils of technology for technology’s sake, I calmed down, took a sip of my Dandelion and Burdock and removed myself from half a dozen groups on the basis that ‘they’ had my details and would let me know what I actually needed to know.
I kid you not, life has been so much better since!
My WhatsApp use is still very much a fine snapshot of the way cricket has been (an no doubt always will be) run: I belong to a Leadership Group which only admins can post in, but others can confirm with a thumbs up – I like this as one of the ones that I left was totally one way, admins posted stuff, but nobody could even interact in any way. I have a number of Groups that have been set up for specific games that I am playing in and I struggle to recall one that has been ‘abused’ with anything other than details and logistics for the game – and by far my favourites are those that list the team in the Group Info section so you get an indication of the players and their roles as well as a helpful guide as to who may be who as far as numbers you don’t know may be. On the other side of the fence I have one group that I am in for a new club I am involved with purely to get a feel for the spirit of the club. I have learnt pretty much all I need to now though so will soon be leaving it.
I do have a few groups that I have set up: the coaching unit at the Birmingham Unicorns a players group for those that want to share thoughts on the games (pre and post), but this is an opt in group, and we only discuss one subject, no general banter, no forwarded videos etc.
I still have around 200 notifications when I turn my phone on after a game, but that is an improvement on 700!!! I have yet, as far as I know, missed anything important since the cull, unlike before when several times I missed the fact I had been selected because I didn’t scroll back far enough through all the chaff to find the team news post!
WhatsApp is great between friends but for club matters I much prefer the applications that you can use, and find both Spond and Teamer far better for letting me know what I need to know and replying accordingly.
On the field the news continues to be positive!
T20 8 A Side LGBTQ+ Tournament
Four games in a row with about a 10 minute break between was always going to be a tough ask and a good test of the old body, especially when you factor in how hot it was!
I was asked to captain the Gloucester Side which made little sense until I realised we actually had nobody from Gloucester playing for us but the lovely Jess did provide us with Gloucestershire T20 Shirts which was a good move considering we were the team to feature on BBC Midlands Today!
We won 2 and lost 2, had a great time and I bowled in each game and was really pleased with 7 Overs 38 Runs and 5 Wickets at 5.42 (highest wicket taker on the day and bowed 8th and 10th over in each game). Batted once getting 21 off 16 as we fell just short in our last game, but a strike rate of 131 was pretty good.
Staffordshire v Lancashire
By far my best game for Staffs as we pulled off a last over win against the table toppers, and I was really pleased to contribute in all 3 areas. Although I took no wickets 7 overs for 40 at 5.71 was a solid performance as bowled my first 5 against two well established batters, and then bowled the final two ‘death’ overs for very few, which gave us some momentum as we left the field a good 30 runs better off than we had expected to be chasing. We had a slow start to our innings and by the time I went in at number 5 we were well behind the run rate and heads had started to drop …. 14 balls I lasted, but with 5 fours, a total of 24 and a strike rate of 171 it gave the team the momentum and self belief which saw everyone contribute and secure the win. Through in my first catch of the season and the congratulations from team mates and it is true to say that I finally feel like I belong and can contribute as a no 5 batter and 1st or 2nd change bowler who can be relied on at the death as well.
No coaching/nets on Monday this week for the club but I did have a good session on Thursday with my mate, and I have started to increase the amount of running I am doing.
My body is holding up really well. Is still sore during a game, but I can run through that and it isn’t really impacting my performance and I am so much better in the field and between the wickets. For the first time since I started playing again I have confidence in my body.
The physio remains very pleased and the summary is that I have three structural issues that will need more rehab and strengthening over the winter, but the majority of my soreness is body reacting to being used which is good and not a problem.
I am doing a little more strength work, but I can’t do much as I also need to rest the body more between games, and what I really need now is more game time, which brings me to …..
Nothing has been agreed but I am talking again to a local club where I have played a few times and where I know a few players from various games and courses about playing for them on Saturdays from July. They are a small club with just two Saturday Teams so any games I play will be at ‘proper’ grounds which appeals a lot. They are also starting to set up some more development teams so I may be able to help, but if I do join it will be to bat and field as that is what I need to do more of to develop my fitness, I am bowling more than enough given this is my first season bowling and my shoulder is one of the structural issues that I have to sort out still.