Cricket Diary: Muscle Memory

In an early diary entry I ruminated on the fist pump over the handshake. This weekend I was delighted to shake the hand of WIlliam James (maiden century), Olly Mills (first competitive 50) – both achieved representing Staffordshire County – and towards the other end of the age and experience scale Scooby for his 11th career century playing for Penkridge 2s on Sunday.

You always remember your first as they say, but from someone even further along the age scale than Scooby maybe not with quite so much clarity!

A slightly rejigged week for me regards my own cricket: Bank Holiday Monday means no 3s and 4s training, and the Half Term Holidays meant a very small turn out at Barlaston of the Development Team, but Wednesday saw me back in the nets with Scooby, Rich and a guest appearance from Luis.

I have been trying to work on my stance in recent weeks following an observation from Lord Shevy of Pillaton Hall, who on a recent late Wednesday afternoon paused on his perambulation past the nets to comment that my head was not straight. A fair observation, although the real issue was that I was not holding my back straight enough, which in turn was tilting my head. At 6ft 4ins and with a chronic issue with two neck vertebrae this is not the easiest thing to rectify but I have been working on opening my stance even more, holding my back straighter and bending at the knees more. Think Rory Burns with a tad more elegance and you wont be far off the mark. It does make a difference in picking up the length, but said neck is more than a tad sore because of the adjustment!

No net on Friday as I was at the County Game at Headingley, but Saturday morning saw me back in the nets with Rich and Scooby so normal order was resumed, and continued with yet another LBW dismissal thanks to my own personal umpire …… go on, have a guess!!! Batting second I had at least had a good first innings in the field with two more catches and 5 overs, 1 maiden, 1 for 12, but my batting is frustrating to say the least.

At one stage we had the opposition 67 for 7, but they once again showed us the benefit of having experienced batters in the mid order as they rallied to 169 all out, which really gave us very little chance. It has become more and more apparent in a development team that you need to build it around 5 experienced players: ideally batting at 1, 3 and 5, with a couple of experienced bowlers who know which end of a bat to hold.

No surprise that yet another LBW was met with much mirth back at the club, and there is little arguing with the fact that you have a bat for a reason, but it took the Two Gods of Heaton to state the obvious: stop batting on middle stump and planting your leg across the line!

Sunday morning I was back in the nets with Scooby, Rich and James working on the above. Sunday afternoon I batted 15 overs with Scooby, making 45 runs in a partnership of 90, and in my mind running better, hitting the ball better and most importantly making better shot selections.

Monday and I can hardly move, but I have said I would meet James at the club at 5pm to work on the above, so I will hobble down there. Hopefully my memory can remind my muscles to keep moving!

Hope you all have a good week

Thank You

Gray-Nicolls are generously supporting this diary and my return to cricket for the 2021 Season.

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