The Club Cricketer:
A Final Tune-Up

Comment and Analysis | 27th April 2010

Pre-season training and I have never really been good friends – thankfully it is all over and we are ready to kick start the league season.

This winter’s nets have been the first I’ve been able to attend during the off season for about 8 years.  I definitely enjoyed meeting up with the lads for a trundle, a quick knock and a beer at the Larwood and Voce every Wednesday but they may have given me a false dawn ahead of the new season.

"The nets at Trent Bridge are excellent, pretty quick and true – about as far away from club cricket wickets in April as you can imagine."

The nets at Trent Bridge are excellent, pretty quick and true – about as far away from club cricket wickets in April as you can imagine.

Indoors, steaming in off the long run, I feel like Darren Gough as the ball flies through about chest height from just short of a length and thuds into the back curtain.  Even the most military medium of bowlers revel in handing out the chin music!

A huge confidence boost for the bowlers you might think? 

Well the batsmen don’t miss out either.  With the pads strapped on and the helmets firmly in place they play free flowing strokes and are capable of driving everything on the up.

It takes just one delivery outside to bring me back down to earth but then I suppose cricket tends to have a habit of that!

Marking out the run for the first time - 12 normal walking strides – and I am stood at the end of my run up with all the hope of a new season in front of me.

I have visualised the perfect delivery - just short of a length, pitched on off stump and drifting away late from a nibbling right hander, hitting the keeper’s gloves hard before walking smugly back to my mark – here we go!

I survey the field. The wicketkeeper seems to be standing a bit close?  Has he not seen the new Goughy in the nets?

Setting off, it suddenly all seems a bit alien and I am at the crease before I am ready to send my arm over – I run through the crease, abort and reload!  

Back to the mark and here we go again, the hill at Papplewick feels a bit steep, it wasn’t like this indoors.  I let go and hit a decent net length, the ball fails to get above stump height and the keeper takes it on the half volley – how depressing!

Trudging back to my mark after one ball and I have already resigned myself to another season of trundling, plenty of effort but very little pace and bounce - the confidence of winter nets drains away and reality kicks in.

What is it about bowling that you just can’t recreate with any other exercise?

No matter how many miles you run or balls you bowl indoors, nothing can prepare you for bowling a few overs unchanged out in the middle.  There is truly nothing to prepare you for bowling other than bowling itself.

Anyone who has bowled a few overs will have experienced that first morning after the game before. Bowling eight overs, uphill and unchanged from the thatched house end I might add, seems to have ripped apart all the fibres of muscles I had forgotten existed and I peel myself from the bed as if I am made of cardboard.  It takes at least 48 hours before I can lift my arms above my head and my body feels like I own it again – just in time for Wednesday practice.

With two games down and a few cobwebs brushed away my body starts to feel a little more normal again and we will head off to Gedling Colliery for the first game of the league season on Saturday.

No shouting mine on Saturday if a catch goes in the air – we wouldn’t want any confusion!

Ben Thompson plays for Plumtree CC in the South Notts Cricket League.

Plumtree CC Fixtures 2010

Saturday 01 May 2010
 Gedling Colliery
 Away
 
Saturday 08 May 2010
 Notts Unity Casuals
 Home
 
Saturday 15 May 2010
 Rolls Royce Leisure
 Home
 
Saturday 22 May 2010
 Belvoir
 Away
 
Saturday 29 May 2010
 HG Carrington Caribs
 Home
 
Saturday 05 June 2010
 Long Eaton
 Away
 
Saturday 12 June 2010
 Southwell
 Away
 
Saturday 19 June 2010
 Balderton
 Home
 
Saturday 26 June 2010
 Gedling & Sherwood
 Away
 
Saturday 03 July 2010
 Gedling & Sherwood
 Home
 
Saturday 10 July 2010
 Gedling Colliery
 Home
 
Saturday 17 July 2010
 Notts Unity Casuals
 Away
 
Saturday 24 July 2010
 Rolls Royce Leisure
 Away
 
Saturday 31 July 2010
 Belvoir
 Home
 
Saturday 07 August 2010
 HG Carrington Caribs
 Away
 
Saturday 14 August 2010
 Long Eaton
 Home
 
Saturday 21 August 2010
 Southwell
 Home
 
Saturday 28 August 2010
 Balderton
 Away

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