Diary of a Vegan Cricketer (Week Ten)

Still can’t buy a run, but would be nice to have the opportunity, playing in the wet and the cold, and …… understanding inclusivity.

2024 Season Week Ten: June 3rd – June 9th

On the field I played in a very wet and cold 100 game for Church Eaton on Tuesday, and cold 35 over game for the XL Club on Thursday an even colder Church Eaton 1s League Game at Woore on Saturday, and a wet and cold T10 Tournament on Sunday.

I will come to these games later, because I want to start with some of the feedback that last weeks Vegan section generated:

Firstly, all is well! Having spoken to the club involved it transpires that nobody was kicked in the teeth, although some light bruising resulted from the lack of communication sent to the players from the visiting team, and the implied endorsement from the cross post on the No Boundaries Cricket Club site, a valid point an one we will address moving forward.

Secondly, I am not aware I have any dirty laundry, but if I have then I have no issue with it being debated in public as I have been wearing big boy pants and tying my own (rainbow) laces for the best part of 60 years, and I have blogged, written for newspapers and being interviewed on TV enough times to know that criticism comes with the territory.

I mention this second point specifically because it relates to a comment that I have heard a few times this season: “you should have said/asked”. Absolutely I ‘could’ have, but ‘should’ I? Is the onus on the individual to take the initiative, or society as a whole? I am 60+, am extremely comfortable asking and answering questions, of walking into a room full of strangers, of seeking out the person who might know, but is everyone? Remember the exercise I am going through is to observe, make a suggestion that would hopefully help others to amend/adjust before the season end, and then put a more detailed report together. The process is not about me and what I do, it is about the environment we play and watch cricket in, and ‘we’ includes everyone: the confident and the not confident, the old and the young, the included and the excluded, the old timers and the first timers.

I have suggested that labelling food as vegan, vegetarian, kosher would help, as would labelling a bap (and they are called other things) as ham, beef, cheese rather than have players open them up to see what is in them and if they want one: have you honestly thought about how many grubby, unwashed hands may have had a poke around in your bap before you consumed it?

An observation and a suggestion, nothing more!

Back to the cricket then ……

As I said I can’t buy a run at the moment! I have not made the most of the limited opportunities I have had, and decided this week to really focus on practice.

Twice a week I am practicing with my old training buddy with the ‘dog thrower’. Each set of six balls I am running two singles and a double to get the legs working and used to running, and each set of six has a different game related scenario. The frustrating thing is that in the nets I feel good, best I have been since my return. Opportunity is one contributing factor to my poor form, another is confidence in my body, hence building the running into the training sessions.

I remain convinced that my best position in general is 7 which gives me the opportunity to contribute in a number of ways whilst accepting my age and body, and if I throw in adequate fielding and good bowling I should contribute to games sufficiently to justify selection.

Tuesday: late call up to the 100 game for Church Eaton against my old friends at Wedgwood, a club I love playing against. Not sure how we got a game in given how wet and cold it was, but they did a great job, and we had a competitive and close game, with Wedgwood winning in the last over. Batted …… 7!!! Scored …… 3 off 3 balls (run out going for the obligatory 2nd off the last ball of the innings), then bowled three tidy overs with one wicket.

Thursday: played Bishop Vesey for the XL Club. Batted …… 7, managed to spend 5 or 6 overs the crease for a very scratchy dozen or so, and then bowled some pretty tight ‘death overs’ at the end to contribute to a last over victory. A tea was provided, with one tray of sandwiches labelled as vegetarian. Had taken my own food as usual – to be fair I would probably do so if knew was vegan as I like to eat the same thing every game – but this was the 3rd time I have played for the XL team this year, and having been told in the first game I ‘should have said’ I have yet to have had my dietary preferences catered for.

Saturday: played for Church Eaton 1s against Woore, who fielded a development team with three very good girls playing, one of whom had the best throw that I have seem on a youngster for a long time. We batted first and never got going. Batted 8 …. got a handful then out trying to force a pace. Bowled 4 overs with limited success before being replaced by pace to try and blast them out, after which I just watched from a very cold long off as we lost a game we were never destined to win after our first innings. Great game isn’t it when you know in advance you have a pretty pointless 40 overs ahead of you!! And yet I love it!

Sunday: well you can read about that here, but suffice to say that in 3 games I didn’t get to bat, but took 8 wickets in my 6 overs bowing at the death which was satisfying, but I did get taken to town in the last over in the final which helped Kent to set a target we couldn’t match. There was food available, it was reportedly very good, but I didn’t check it out as my ability to eat a BBQ and then play has long gone, vegan or non vegan! So I can’t report on whether their was vegan food or not, or if it (and the vegetarian which I know they said would be available) was cooked on a separate grill …. and please no ‘grill gate’, it’s a valid general observational question.

I have a quite couple of weeks coming up: next week I am due to play for Staffordshire Seniors 1s, and captain Church Eaton 2s on Saturday. I won’t be playing on Sunday as is Fathers Day which is far more important to me than playing cricket (and helps me avoid the Club v NBCC dilemma of a rearranged League game – yep on fathers day!!!! – or the Graces v Unicorns game). Following week the plan is to have a week off – maybe pop over to Spain – as the body needs a rest, I need to practice, and originally the 22nd had no game scheduled so although it has now we have a friend coming to stay so I won’t be playing and the Sunday (no game scheduled) we will make a rare trip to Edgbaston for a somewhat random County Game.

I will keep the weekly diary going as are a few observations from the season so far that I would like to share ….

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