I cleaned the patio on Sunday. Not the most exciting start to a diary post I agree, but a month ago I would have given you long odds on me being able to do that following a game on a Saturday!
A cricket free day on Monday. I had my second COVID-19 Vaccination scheduled in the afternoon and given that it was raining all morning I ‘went early’ on my decision that I had had more than enough of getting wet so would give Nets a miss. In the event it dried up enough in the evening for a few members to net, and I still got wet waiting in line for my vaccination. Sods law and all that but I am now double jabbed along with both my parents, Sands and her mother. No reaction of issues for any of us which was pleasing.
Tuesday I went along to Barlaston to show my face and spend some time with the development team, but ran into a fielding ‘beasting’ session due to recent poor performances so I joined in and was somewhat surprised (and pleased) with how much better I have got over the last month.
Wednesday I was fully expecting to be stiff as a board, but apart from the expected issues with knees, hamstring and neck I was remarkably mobile. Remarkable being a relative term once you reach a certain age, but the fact is that my body is handling the rigours (of a sort) or training and playing much better all ready. Good job really as I was booked into the First Aid Course at Staffordshire Cricket in the afternoon which involved a fair amount of kneeling, bending and (best not ask) thrusting. Went down for a net with Rich Birch in the evening to work on head position, stance and playing the ball later (me) and for Mr R Birch esq keeping his finger in his pocket when he is umpiring!!! The Under 12s (I think) were playing so spent some time watching them and reflecting that the ECB really do have their heads up their proverbial if they think they have a problem attracting a new generation to cricket: Dynamos, All Stars and Junior Cricket are amazing. We had nothing like that when I was a child, and if the ECB want to do anything they should throw more money at the Clubs, Counties and foundations of cricket NOT at The Hundred, although that probably depends on whether their focus is to develop more players or more spectators who will hand over stupid amounts of money on pizza, burgers, beer and snacks! Sorry, tad political but I have never heard a pro say that what introduced them to the game was watching a match whilst stuffing themselves with fast food and pop.
Thursday was another ‘Cricket Day’ with a long awaited day at Edgbaston with my parents watching Warwickshire. One reason we moved back to the UK was to spend more time with family, and we are all members at Warwickshire but this was the first time that we had all been. Lovely weather, lovely venue and exactly what we were hoping for.
Friday we went to Edgbaston again and then in the evening I called into the club to sell the Football Teams for the first Williamson Boucher provided Junior Cricket Bundle. 30 teams, £5 a team, the winner (Jon Heaton) got £120 worth of junior kit – bat, pads, gloves, arm guard, thigh guard, box, ball and bag, the club got £20 and the NHS £10. Teams sold quickly, the parents all seemed very happy to be supporting the club and the NHS and the quality of the product was commented on. We will do more bundles, maybe every 2 or 3 weeks, with some more specific kit on other weeks for the Juniors. Hopefully start this week with a Bat and Gloves …..
And so too Saturday, and the now familiar routine of chores, shower, bike and a net with Scooby and Rich, with one slight variation: no need for a base layer/skins/thermals as something round and yellow had appeared in the sky. Fair to say the 4s were a tad stretched this week, but the upside of this is the ability to give debuts to two youngsters. I just hope they got some enjoyment out of what was a pretty poor performance all round, they both did themselves proud. Personally I was extremely happy with my fielding at short cover/mid wicket which included two catches, got a wicket (and would have had another if one of several catches hadn’t been dropped), but managed only one run before being ‘done’ by a Dambuster of a ball – it pitched into the base of my off stump on the second bounce. Good fun, good spirits, a first for me with a brother and sister both getting first ballers, but I am expecting the call to say that we are going to be having fielding practise before our next nets – in fact I am going to start going up half an hour or so earlier to do some running and fielding drills if anyone is interested.
Saturday night we revealed the winner of the Williamson Boucher bat …. a picture paints a thousand words as they say.
Again huge thanks to all at the club, and to Williamson Boucher who are being unbelievably supportive. I will do another bat ‘raffle’ later in the year, but for now if anyone wants a 2lb 14oz “railway sleeper” of a bat with two grips made from Grade 1+ willow I can get you one for £230.
And so to Sunday and cleaning the patio …………
Gray-Nicolls are generously supporting this diary and my return to cricket for the 2021 Season.