Time for Tea

One of the best things about playing for Staffordshire Seniors are the regular teas. One of the worst things about playing for Staffordshire Seniors are the regular teas.

My days of doing a traditional (well to an extent as I don’t recall Pizza, Quiche or Flap Jack back in the late 70s) and then moving never mind running around are long gone, which is a shame …. mainly for the team as I do need to eat!!!

My theory (yes another one) is that teas should be moved to post game when both teams can sit down and enjoy them (we rarely seem to interact with the opposition these days whereas my recollection is usually of one long table with both sides sat side by side). Some food post game would be much appreciated, and I suspect would mean more players stopped for longer to re fuel, have a drink and a chat and recap the game. Discussing this with others throughout the season it seems to an idea most think would be good, and some have suggested maybe just a bowl of chilli, pasta but I favour the tea.

Test Cricket: The End of an Era?

Rather strange I know to be saying this after such a great Test at Edgbaston, which amongst other things will hopefully give BazBall a nudge to accommodate 10% game awareness rather that 100% foot on throttle.

I only managed Day Two this year. I would normally have done Day One (was at Springsteen Concert which was brilliant) and Day Three (Fathers Day) but the one day that I did was probably my least enjoyable day ever at a Test Match!

In saying that I have to factor in the £125 for a ticket, £20 train ticket, £6.50 a pint, £12 for anything resembling food I wanted to eat, and vomit- lots and lots of vomit behind the Hollies Stand. And the aggression both wandering around when drunk people carrying 6 pints bump into you and it your fault that they spill £10 of luke warm lager! Not just wandering round though, in the Members Lounge a particularly unpleasant exchange witnessed between two 6ft blokes and a lady in a wheelchair! I intervened, got a mouth full but should at least be thankful I wasn’t glassed. I say that because in the gents in the members lounge I reported a broken glass that was being kicked around by everyone walking in and out which begs the questions a) who takes a glass into the gents, b) why are Edgbaston letting people use glasses, and c) why did nobody else report it?

Sad to say but I think this will be my last day at Test Cricket as it just isn’t worth the money, hassle and increasing level of thuggish behaviour. I have friends that are involved in the Barmy Army. They are great people with a huge passion and knowledge of the game and they do a huge amount for god causes BUT they increasingly attract a yobbish following of haneger oners (if that is a word) with a drinking culture that is making it more and more uncomfortable for me and I know many others.

Unicorns v Walsall Health

Weather forecast meant we were never going to get a full game in so sinning the toss and batting was by far the most preferable option, although going in at 24 for 5 showed that we had quite a development side out. 45 off 31 with 8 4s at SR of 170 was a good outing until I fell over a slower ball that kept low and was LBW. Was a good outing, but I need to start converting starts into bigger scores. Best part though was talking the other batter through their best innings to date, showing more patience and better shot selection than ever before.

Staffordshire v Shropshire

Rained off. Not hugely disappointed as resting the knees no bad thing. They are doing well, but telling me they haven’t done anything as strenuous for some time so a little sore. Would have been better for me if this was next week though as with Sands away in Spain it would be easier if we had no game so the cats and doge weren’t left for so long.

Coaching and Training

Really enjoying my coaching role with the Birmingham Unicorns. Putting more structure and variety into the sessions and working with some individuals. Feedback so far has been great.

Woman’s Ashes

Original plan was to go on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday but then realised the Friday clashed with the Warwickshire v Worcester T20 Blast game, and Sands booked to go to Spain on the Saturday so airport run for me.

First time for me at a Woman’s International and given my observations above I had become increasingly keen to experience the crowd that I have regularly been told is a lot different to the men’s game. As it was my first I had also got hold of a number of tickets for No Boundaries to give away to enable people to experience live cricket for the first time.

I was also keen to see if I could make a train journey without delay! I am far from being a regular train user but the last 7 I have taken (2022 – Oval, Lords, Edgbaston Finals Day, 2023 – Edgbaston Opening Day, Gatwick (2), Edgbaston Test) have all been delayed/disrupted/cancelled. Since we moved back to the UK I have yet to complete a train journey to schedule!

Anyway, train was delayed!

Had thoroughly enjoyable day, and without wanting to offend it felt very much how I would like a County Championship game to feel: decent crowd but by no way huge and very well behaved. Majority of people seemed to have taken their own food and drink as the food and drink outlets were pretty much empty most of the day. I was surprised how few people were there, and a member told me that had been giving away tickets to members, schools and clubs like mad.

There were a lot of young children there which is an ECB objective but I do wonder how many will even remember being there. They had a great day out with their mates, waved like mad at the TV but soon got bored and were ushered home. No sure any actually watched the cricket.

The cricket was a high standard and very very enjoyable but I dared to express the opinion to a few female spectators that I knew that several of the England team looked far from ‘ripped’ and at peak fitness. I was well prepared to be lambasted for this but they all agreed, and went further than I would in their descriptions and observations.

The people we gave tickets to had a great time, as did I and I will certainly look to go to future Women’s Tests, IF I go to live cricket at all next year as I am far from sure that I will.

Club Cricket

I have agreed a ‘deal’ with Church Eaton to play for their Saturday 2nd team during July, August and September. They are a club I have some knowledge of having played there and knowing a couple of the players, and they are very local. They only put out two Saturday Teams so my home games will be at their ground which was a big criteria for me.

They are in Division 8 (the lowest) in North Staffordshire League, and bottom, so refer to themselves as the worst team in North Staffordshire. They play a number of juniors each game so wanted an older head in the middle order! I have the required older head, and hopefully can continue the development work I have been doing through No Boundaries.

At the time if writing Barlaston have released my registration but the league have blocked my transfer as it falls outside the transfer window! Only way I can play is for Barlaston to loan me to Church Eaton for two weeks and then repeat every two weeks, which you can do for teams that play in League 6 or below. I was hoping to make debut 8th July so is plenty of time (hopefully).

My body now needs more match time but my shoulder doesn’t need more bowling so I think I will play as a batter primarily.

The Body

I am learning to walk again after reading this brilliant article which could have been written with my body in mind. Only a couple of days in and it feels very strange, but I can already tell that my body is adjusting and on my left side in particular I can feel this in the three problem areas I am trying to repair which is encouraging. As I walk the dogs typically four times a week if walking a better way helps me this will be really good news!

In general I am doing OK. Post games and exercising I am stiff and sore for a few days, but nowhere near as bad as previous years, it does get better quite quickly and if necessary I can still play OK so I can’t complain.

Ice and resting between games and practice is key and works quite well, but it does reinforce that I will have to keep going with what I have got this season as I only have two days a week when I think I can work on body, and that will reduce to one if I play Saturday and Sunday!

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