Club Cricket

One of my better decisions this year was to wait and see how my fitness was and how my cricket with Staffordshire Cricket was going before I got involved with Club Cricket.

Church Eaton ticked all my boxes in terms of identifying possible clubs:

  • local (I do more than enough miles playing and coaching)
  • only two Saturday teams so my home games would be at the club

Fortunately they ticked most of the boxes on the wish list as well:

  • friendly and relaxed with no pressure to get heavily involved with the club
  • open to working with NBCC in 2024
  • accommodating of my other commitments.

It was a shame that the rather strict League Rules meant that I could only play on loan from Barlaston (who responded as I would have expected and moved promptly to accommodate this) and as such was only eligible for the 2s, which was absolutely fine but I would have liked to try the 1s as I think I could contribute – on a good day, if they are short!!!

Anyway my short season has gone well: bowled more than I batted through design proving to be good at bowling economically but not getting many wickets (but as I tend to rely on stumpings, LBW’s and caught in the deep I didn’t have the best of luck or indeed support) and bayyed in a variety of positions averaging over 20.

I will transfer to them next season and my objective over the winter is to work on my fitness and game so that I am a realistic 1s option, I suspect primarily as a bowler who can bat 8 or 9, and as this season has proved can stand at slip and catch! I am also hopeful that I can get involved with their coaching over the winter.

Church Eaton v Hem Heath

Another stuffing on another hot day, but as they say we played in a good spirit (well one side did) and gave priority to our juniors – was not a pleasant site seeing one of the opposition juniors so upset at the end having not batted or bowled and when you consider they bowled their opening bowler straight through so that he got 6 of our 8 wickets (we had two players who were injured and couldn’t bat) and we were bowled out for 40+ chasing 200+ you do wonder when they ever would have had a better opportunity to give players an opportunity. As I was not out at the end I offered to let him bowl at me for a while but they didn’t have any interest in that.

On the plus side, two dogs wandered onto the ground without owner but with collars and obviously in good condition and it was really good to see our youngsters get involved in ensuring they were safe and eventually reunited with their owner. They has escaped from a garden about 5 miles away!

Unicorns Coaching

I have mentioned before how much I have enjoyed the coaching with the Unicorns this year and was more than happy with the reference letter they provided to support my (failed) Level 3 Application:

Chris joined Birmingham Unicorns, only the second LGBTQ+ inclusive cricket club in the world, during our winter
training in 2023 to provide ad hoc coaching and support to the club. Unicorns members had identified coaching as an
area that would enhance the club, especially given that we are still in our infancy and are looking to build our club
culture. Following the completion of winter nets and positive feedback from members regarding Chris’ coaching
style, approach and knowledge, we engaged Chris as our coach and development consultant for the 2023 season.

Chris has provided invaluable support in a range of ways, including:

?* Our Monday evening training sessions now have a more explicit structure which ensures that each
participant can improve their skills and knowledge of the game in a way that complements their level.
Instead of standard net sessions with batting and bowling, the sessions are structured to improve everyone’s
game and increase knowledge. Chris always explains the approach to each session and reflects on it at the
end, giving a chance for questions, clarifications, and further insights.

?* On match days, Chris will work with players prior to matches as part of individual and team warm-ups. This
has been particularly important for more inexperienced players still finding their way in the game. It gives
people a chance to reflect on their game and finalise their match strategy with the support of an
experienced coach.

?* One-to-one coaching is provided both face-to-face and via WhatsApp. This tailored support has helped both
new and experienced players improve their game. The coaching provided has been critical in supporting the
growth and improvement of members.

?* Match strategy, individual game knowledge and support to the leadership group have been provided in
training, selection discussions and match days. This support has helped the leadership team, and by
extension, the members, better understand what areas of improvement and skills development they should
focus on and how this fits into the wider team and club structure.

Club members and leadership have welcomed Chris’ approach. He explains techniques, game management
approaches, and the training drills clearly, enabling people to implement the skills quickly, leading to rapid
improvements in individual and team performance. Due to the success achieved so far, the club is exploring with
Chris how we can work together further in 2024.

Lachlan Smith
Birmingham Unicorns CC

This was my last Monday night with them so we just had a bit of fun and talked about the off season, when hopefully I will be involved with their winter nets.

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