Quite a lot has changed since ‘my day’ (and a lot hasn’t) but probably the one thing that has changed the most is the Winter Net, primarily and simply because we never had them! We put our bags into storage (aka the shed usually) after the last game and took them out a couple of weeks before the season started for a few club net nights.
As I write this I have already got fourteen (14) nets at Edgbaston under my belt (I missed one when I was in Spain), five (5) nets with Milford Hall (partly to observe their approach to team and individual development as part of a project I am involved in), and two (2) nets with the Birmingham Unicorns where I am doing some coaching.
21 times I have strapped the pads on and turned my arm over – more than a seasons worth!
As I head into March (the start of Club Nets for many) I have the following indoor nets in the diary:
- four (4) Edgbaston
- two (2) Birmingham Unicorns
- six (6) Staffordshire Seniors
- six (6) Staffordshire Seniors Outdoor Nets
The eagle eyed amongst you will note that I have no Club Nets scheduled. I am avoiding the elephant in the room, and have my head firmly stuck in the sand at the moment!
I jest (sort of) because the truth is that I am in no position at all to decide what I will be doing club cricket wise this season. My rehab and fitness continues to go really well, but every time I have turned a corner I have unearthed another issue so it is taking a lot longer than I had thought or hoped (boo!) but at the same time the results have been far better than I thought or hoped (yeah!). The fact remains that having nursed my through the last two seasons against the advice of Doctors and Specialists I can not afford another injury affected season as I need to get a ‘full’ season into the old body so that next winter I can concentrate totally on skills and fitness.
Staffordshire Seniors remains my priority although nothing is certain yet. I hope to play for the Over 60s Second Team on Tuesday’s as their one allowed 59 year old, but that is subject to fitness, form and no other 59 year cropping up – there is another but he is an ex England Over 50’s players so he will be in the First Team.
At the moment I am very doubtful that this old body could cope with a game on a Sunday and then a Tuesday. To play on a Saturday I have to try and get into a second team or accept playing at rented grounds, and having done that for half of my first season back I have no interest in doing that again as it is not exactly enjoyable, acks facilities and officials (often) and doesn’t aid integration into a club at all.
I certainly won’t know until I get a few games under my belt: I have a pre season game on 16th April with No Boundaries Cricket Club, a squad game on the 18th April with Staffordshire Seniors, and then the first Staffordshire Seniors game on 25th April (if selected) so my plan is to get those three games under my belt and then make a decision.
The last thing I want to do is mess a club around or not be able to participate fully and I accept that my delaying may well upset a few people but I really do need to put my body and family first (I need and want to be around for my parents more this summer – hence not going to as many Test Match Days), so if I just end up playing Staffordshire Seniors, No Boundaries, XL Club and a few charity games I have accepted invitations to that will keep me busy enough and content.
For a number of reasons I will never really be an active ‘club man’: I never have had any affinity for clubs of any form. My personality is ill suited to them, my life choices with pets and desire to be close to my parents limits my time, the fact that these days I virtually don’t drink (and live a fair distance for the club(s) that I could play for) means I have very little time (or inclination) to go to a club other than match days.
Time will tell. What will be will be. In the meantime I am off to the nets!