Sunday, 19 April 2009

and so it begins.....

The first text came through at five to nine on Wednesday: “Game on Sunday at hightown 4 Hazo”. In the next hour I received 8 more asking me to play on both Saturday and Sunday. I should be flattered – I was barely playing two years ago.

This is it – what we’ve been looking forward to for the last six months and I can’t wait. The last text I received from the 4th team captain probably best summed up best what it’s all about – “Do you have Adam’s number? The one who doesn't like ham?” Let battle commence.

Notes from Winter

The onset of the season brings to an end the endless phoney war of winter nets. So what did you learn?

1) That you are really unfit

This might suprise you but none of us are getting any younger or fitter. Yes, many of us have played darts all winter but how many have us have gone running? How many have joined a gym? How many of us gave up smoking properly?

Needless to say the answer’s not many. I’m 31 and these days getting fit means waiting for injuries to heal and drinking lager instead of bitter. Remember the quicker you move the quicker you’ll hurt yourself.

2) That you are still making the same mistakes

How many times did you get out last season playng the same awful shot? The across the line pull? The wafting cut? The ridiculous reverse sweep?

These shots are part of our make up and we need to all accept them as part of us. We wouldn’t be the same without them. No matter how many times you’ve resisted playing these shots in the nets you know that given the earliest opportunity that’s how you’re going to get out this weekend. Accept it and let’s move on.

3) Nets are useless and lie to you

What a joy it is playing on these fast, true indoor wickets. How many times did that nice half volley get cracked through the covers? How many times did those attempted bouncers sit up nicely waiting to be pulled to that imaginary boundary? How many times did you complete your marathon 8 minute innings with a feeling of smug satisfaction and a thought of “yes I really can bat”?

Fast forward to a freezing cold April afternoon at Caldy and you’re playing on pitch that is a cross between runny poo and Formby Beach. The 50 year old slow lobber runs in, the ball pitches on a length, you play your extravagant off drive approximately 8 years too early and you turn around to see the ball roll against your middle stump. Nets lie – don’t ever forget.

I’ll leave you with a quote from recently retired former England batsman Ed Smith. Like me he’s an English graduate. Unlike me he went to Cambridge and once scored three hundreds in a week.

“Don’t think it will be easy tomorrow, imagine it will be difficult; then at least you will practise getting into the right mental state.”

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