Cricket Diary: Primary Club

Yes, no, maybe, sorry …… has been yet another up and down, in and out, on and off week both in terms of not playing and not watching cricket!

Last week I mentioned the WhatsApp from my father regarding the Primary Club so as it was the Lords Test I dug out my old tie and fully intended to wear it and see if anybody commented on it.

Primary Club Tie: I joined in the mid 70s having heard Boycott talk about his tie. Back then the convention was to wear it on the Saturday of the Lords Test.

The Week That Was

Monday: a cricket free day! No nets as planned and the rain removed any temptation I may have had. Did my exercises as per plan, and watched The Hundred on TV – as I said a cricket free day!!!

Tuesday: a more normal Tuesday than in recent weeks as father opted to wait a while for his re re re organised procedure. Said something about ‘taking stock’ but suspect it was more the fact that this was their usual Barlaston Teachers Group Lunch! Can’t blame him as procedure not particularly pleasant and he told not at all urgent so at 86 lunch with old friends and colleagues a far better option. Meant I called in as usual for a catch up, then netted at Barlaston. Batted pretty well and with no pain in my finger for the first time in a LONG time. Bowled pretty well also, and for over an hour which was good test on certain parts of my body, but not so good is the fact that my little finger hurts with pretty much any contact when fielding. I am OK catching as that gives me an opportunity to avoid my finger (if I do it right) but stopping a ball is no fun at all. Was good to hear that the club is pleased with the way the first season has gone for the Development Team, that it will carry on, and that the current skipper has no plans of stepping down.

Wednesday: having seen that the Spond deadline at Penkridge had been extended to Tuesday evening to accommodate a later than usual selection meeting, and following a ‘reminder’ on Monday from the Club Captain that people weren’t responding on time I was interested to see what the numbers were looking like for the weekend …… 27 attending, 4 unanswered and 32 declined soon made me wish I hadn’t and did not bode well for getting 4 teams out on Saturday. Seems it’s ‘that time of year’ as Barlaston said they were struggling to put out two teams on Saturday as well, and were thankful that the 4s opposition on Sunday had asked for the fixture to be arranged as they would have struggled to get two teams out.

I also weighed myself for the first time in a long time, on scales which calculated % body fat – so much for the theory that muscle weighs more than fat!!!

No surprise to hear mid afternoon that the Penkridge 4s wouldn’t be playing on Saturday, again having to concede as unable to field a team. Genuinely disappointed and frustrated and yes it is no bad thing for my body that I am not playing much, and there is the test and the option on tickets, but I would much rather be playing – should have spent more time on my bowling given England’s woes! Anyway having had it confirmed was no game I said I would take up the option on tickets.

Thursday: the planned trip to Edgbaston with parents was aborted before we got to the M6 as it was estimating a 3 hour delay, so we went for Lunch at Weston Park. All very enjoyable but shame we couldn’t have gone to what turned out to be a good win for Warwickshire. I have really.enjoyed watching the cricket this year from the perspective of a ‘player’ as it has highlighted a lot of things for me, not all of them things I can’t do!

Frustrated (again) Thursday evening to get a Spond from Penkridge 3s captain saying had been selected for Saturday, but had to decline as had already taken up the option on tickets on Wednesday after confirming 4s had no game.

Friday: Sands went to Formby, a rescheduled trip because of the planned trip to Edgbaston on Thursday, so I sat on the sofa and watched the Test Match in preparation for Saturday. I also spent some time tidying up an old bat that I had picked up as somewhere in the deep recesses I am thinking of doing bat repairs and refurbishments.

Before: damaged toe, tears in the wood where scuff sheet had been removed, old sticker markings.
After: sanded the blade to repair the tear marks and clean up the sticker marks. After sanding it had a clean with white spirit, then another sanding, more white spirit and two coats of oil (after this picture taken). Will knock it on next week, add a grip and then who knows, may sell it as it’s a lovely 11 grain stick!

Saturday: personal circumstances meant had to opt out of the trip to watch the cricket which pretty much summed up the week really ….. alcohol.

Sunday: alternated my time between the Test Match and building Lego (bit of a fan and have got my parents into it as has been great for Mother).

Body Count

Woke up Tuesday morning with the usual wince, a rather louder than usual ‘ouch’ and a Eureka moment all about my lower back! Not unusual for my lower back to hurt, has done one and off for 35 years, but of late I have got the structural issue under the control and the problem is more muscular. Very weird as there is little pattern behind the good and bad days: yes if I stand around for a long time it stiffens up, but my ‘moment’ was that I think it may be reacting to the way I lay at an angle on the sofa when I watch TV. Having spent a lot of Monday on the sofa it was bad Tuesday morning. If it is this then it will be both good and frustrating – just think how long it will have taken me to work it out! I kid you not. Having hobbled round all day Tuesday I netted Tuesday night, tried a different sofa and position watching TV in the evening and woke Wednesday morning with not a twinge. Early days but a promising sign.

Finger continues to be broken! It is getting a little better in that I can bend it a little more and it hurts less if taped well when I field

Will be stuck drinking tea like posh people I think
Bends this far now, but I have realised just how much I have damaged other parts of the same hand. The joint at the bottom of the finger is bruised internally and I think the ligament stretched, then the lower section on the finger next to little pinkie, and the top section of the middle finger. I can tape it all now so it doesn’t really hurt to field and batting less painful, but I suspect it going to be a problem for some time still.

Knees and Abs have really been the main issues this season. Knees will never be 100% but I have been shocked at how bad they have been, but encouraged as to how much they have improved, both during a game and post. Abs were a real shock to be honest. Its the lower Abs, the sprinters muscle, that has been the issue but again it’s getting better. I recently fielded for Barlaston 2s on a Saturday and was going from Long Off to Mid Off in one over, then Mid On and deep Long On the next over. A lot of running. I then ended up on the boundary at Point, Cow Corner and Square Leg where I took two good catches: one high above my head on the boundary (off a no ball), then the same batter running in and to my right from Square Leg to Mid Wicket relatively low to my right. Unfortunately the batter had already reached 100 by then. Add in two misfields coating 3 runs and it was by far my best day in the field.

Biggest shock though is just how much the body loses its elasticity as you get older. I can stretch out and have good flexibility, but sit down for an hour and my body has forgotten! I am stretching daily and it is very slowly making a difference, but if you want some advice from an oldie – stay as supple as you can for as long as you can.

In Other News

Last week I also talked about perspective, something that I have revisited this week with all the disruptions and frustrations. Reality is that I am enjoying the season a LOT. It has been a rather strange year at Barlaston having originally signed up to play occasionally for their newly formed Sunday 2s Development Team I have played far more frequently than I anticipated, including a few games for the Sunday 1s. Add in the surprising opportunity to do something that I had not done for 40 years and play for the Saturday 2s and it has been a pretty amazing first year back to date and I reckon I have plenty to be satisfied with.

Penkridge has been excellent for getting me back into the game, despite the frustrations of recent weeks. In all honesty I am not hopeful of too much cricket on Saturdays this season. As I write this Spond tells me that with selection tonight 22 people have accepted, 29 are still to respond and 15 have declined. This is better than in recent months, but a number of the regular 4s are in the 15. Hopefully I am wrong as I have enjoyed the games so far, but whatever happens the plan is to be be back next year stronger.

Opinion

Am sticking on The Hundred again this week (despite the temptation to comment on the ongoing decline of Test Cricket) for reasons that will hopefully be apparent in due course.

Whoever came up with names obviously didn’t read their own ECB memo about simplifying the game for those too stupid to actually understand the game as it has been played for centuries. I mean if you going with a City Based Model then stick with City Based Names maybe – London, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Kent and sorry London, you can’t always have two so throw a dart, or even better Durham you know that other Test Venue the ECB have done their best to bankrupt and would have done more to levelling up the country than Boris and The Bandits will ever do.

The games have been OK. Take away the unnecessary hype and child like screeching from the commentators and have you have had some good games. Can’t see that any of the new rules having contributed to the quality of the games significantly.

The debate I have had mostly this week has been around the domestic T20 and in particular if it has a future. For those that think it is now redundant where do you think the 100 would get its domestic players from? The real strength of the IPL is the quality of the domestic players, and the same really can be said about the 100. The shortage of players has given the opportunity to more County players, and many have shone. If they are not playing T20 where would the 100, and indeed England get their players from?

It is encouraging to see more recognition that the current schedule is stupid and harmful, so maybe a way will be found for all the tournaments too co exist. I will share my thoughts on this another time, but for now surely there is logic in playing the shortest format game (which is least effected by weather) at the beginning of the season especially as they already use hybrid pitches so could all do that. Would be an exciting launch to the season, help counties had wintered well, less Tests etc to take away the ‘stars’.

Thank You

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

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