Cricket Diary: On Golden Spond

Batting For Caverswall Cricket Club 1980

Starting at the end. A great win for the Penkridge 4s, which for some of a certain age may sound a little like the Guildford 6, for which I apologise. Bouncing back from a disappointing loss in the first week the team undoubtably benefitted from the inclusion of Alfie “done the crime, now do the time” Morris, and Matthew “that’s my boy” Jones, both of whom performed very well, whilst encouraging and supporting the rest of us.

Sorry Alfie, but we had chat and will be lobbying for your sentence to be extended …… seriously though, thanks for “being in my ear” during an innings of 45 which was not without some luck, although I think I offset that somewhat with a rather bizarre dismissal, somehow managing to double chop the ball onto my stumps. Don’t ask!

Matthew, I will hopefully stand next to you at slip again: partly because it is by far the best position for me to field but mainly because your non stop chuntering about leg side wides been given as byes was funny.

Back to the beginning of the week, life is starting to take on a familiar pattern.

Monday: the now ritual counting bruises, aches and pains, followed by a check on the current stock levels of Radox and whiskey, followed by writing this diary, checking Play Cricket, and updating availability on Spond. Yet more examples of how much cricket has changed since ‘my day’ when captains phoned round and received a phone allowance from the club, to now where we have websites, mobile phone applications and WhatsApps groups pinging away pretty much non stop. Walk the dogs to get the legs moving, do my old man’s exercises and then off to nets where to be honest 10 minutes batting is ample, but I do need to spend more time practising slip catching. I am far more comfortable either in the slips or at short mid wicket/cover where I have to rely on my reactions and catching ability more than my running and throwing.

Tuesday: a rest day would make sense, but currently if I don’t move every couple of hours I seize up so I do a bit on the bike followed by my (daily) old man’s exercises, then go and visit my parents which is convenient as Tuesday evening I call into Barlaston Cricket Club to spend some time helping their Development Team. I can’t really do much until I have completed my ECB Level One Coaching Course but once I have I will hopefully be able to get involved with some coaching at both Barlaston and Penkridge Cricket Club.

Wednesday: definitely a non cricket day, and all things being equal the body is recovered enough for a long walk with the dogs, a session on the indoor bike and an even longer session on the sofa catching up on all the TV I used to watch at weekends!!

Thursday: is the new Sunday, a day off from anything that involves wearing sportswear.

Friday: a long walk with the dogs and an hours nets in the evening before the Junior Coaching starts, followed by a few drinks and an early night. I should be honest here and own up to the fact that the early night is factor of age and having a lot of animals that like to wake up early rather than ensuring I get enough sleep pre match.

Saturday: a now habitual net for an hour before heading off to the match. I have mentioned habit several times so far this week and to be serious for a few lines habit is such a huge part of sport: the winning habit, how you prepare, how you practise, where you bat, where you field and this week the habits felt like they were falling into place. Saturday we felt and looked like a team, lots of smiles, lots of encouragement, superb performances from the youngsters. Our batting and bowling was like chalk and cheese compared to last week. I think it is fair to say that although we were good in the field we can all work on our catching, throwing, backing up and some better habits – no hands in pockets, throwing the ball into the keeper everytime etc, and this is something I will be doing more of on a Monday night – well as soon as my new shoes arrive!! Size 10 in everything else it appears that Size 10 in cricket shoes is too small. It is the running that is the problem as it is forcing my pinkies up against the end of my shoes, hence the bruised toes – well that and the fact I have now managed to hit the same toe twice keeping out a yorker. I will happily pass on my hardly used 2020 Kokaburra KC 3.0 Spikes and Rubber Sole shoes for £15 per pair once my new ones arrive, with the money being donated to the NHS Project.

Sunday: mothers birthday and as one of the reasons we moved back from Spain was to spend more time as a family (one way or another we have not lived in the same country as my parents for the best part of 25 years) spending the day with her was the priority. As a surprise, and with a huge thank you to Barlaston, I arranged a ‘throw back’ appearance with the newly formed Development Team, and for my parents to come along and watch. To be fair I didn’t do much more than watch: three overs of batting (my bizarre weekend of dismissals continued with an absolute screamer of a diving catch that was already past him from a 56 year old bowler) meant that I sent 37 overs watching a very impressive batting performance from old and young alike, followed by an uneventful 40 overs at slip and short mid wicket/cover watching an even more impressive bowling and fielding performance. Two wins in the weekend left me very content, a tad stiff and very much ready for a meal at home with Sands and another session with the Radox.

And finally – a rather belated but heart felt thanks for the ongoing indulgence and tolerance from Sands. She certainly didn’t marry a (wannabe) cricketer and it’s fair to say I sort of dumped all of this on her! Not having children ourselves I don’t think she ever expected to be getting grass stains out of “whites”, or to schedule in practice nights and match days, but she has adapted as she has throughout our entire marriage: by ignoring me!!!

Thank You

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

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