With the final slab of stilton consumed from the xmas
cheeseboard, it was time for the start of the run in to the joy of the 2012
cricket season. Yes it was time for Winter nets. Players converged like hedgehogs waking from
hibernation some with a more comfortable layer hiding behind their prickly
exterior. Handshakes and general back patting as it had been September since
some of us had seen each other and the emotions were clear to see. Craves was a
notable absentee, enjoying the delights of New York with his young lady. Craves
would feel totally at home in the land where everything is supersized. (feel free to enter your own jokes….)
The youths were matched almost evenly by the numbers of
senior pro’s and biff was keen to ensure that the opening rounds of warm up
dodge ball would see the youngsters pit their wits against the wily oldies.
Un-surprisingly the exuberance of youth didn’t last long and as the rounds
continued, the wise heads of the seniors saw a convincing victory for brains
over youth. It has to be noted that when Biff announced it was old vs young and
despite the seniors line up consisting of FK, pedro, ledge, Wilko and Bleebs,
that burty still joined the wrong side. 18 is the new 40!
If anyone thought that biff would ease us into the new year
with tenderness and sympathy, they were mistaken. And after dodgeball, it was
back to bootcamp. Or circuits as biff called them. These would all be fitness
related circuits, devised to push the lads to their limits in 1 minute max
sessions. Doing the plank for a minute,
after an exercise free period from September and a 2 week period of living on
xmas fare and chocolate advent calendars was a particularly nasty challenge.
Press ups and star jumps, skipping, fast feet exercises and shuttle sprints and
there were as many red faces as a family reunion with the Giggs family.
As the final exercise had been completed and heart rates had
just started to recover, the lads clearly though it was time to pull out the
nets and start the cricket action. Biff had other ideas and it was to be
cricket related exercises and fielding drills. It could prove carnage with more
balls in action than a tigers lock in at the coach.
Teams of 3 and 4 tried their hands at slip catching, diving catches
on the crash mat, hitting the stumps with direct hits and amazingly nobody was
injured. Some even remarked that they felt ok and not too bad. (to be fair
nobody has been quite so brave in their boasting since the session!)
With all 5 nets in play for the evening, it was time to do
what we all think we do best and bat and bowl. With Hanger still injured, there
was a chance for somebody else to get their pads on first and so Aadil who hasn’t
missed a day since september without a bat in his hand, went to get a bat in
his hand. When I say bat, he strolled down to the nets twirling something that
looked like one of Voldermorts discarded wands and what I thought were maybe a
pair of Surrey brown one day batting pads. Not the case according to the
batting maestro, but they were so dirty, he must have been playing in some
winter league somewhere outdoors.
Having wintered and trained in india, he was in great form as was Burty.
Ledge bowled the first ball of the winter in the same place he bowls everything
all year and the chuckles from the nets all round suggested there was a mix of
pies and filth being sprayed around from all of us and Fido was the first
victim of the year being bowled trying to play one off his legs. (from off
Broughts couldn’t get used to not bowling without a hill or
a 20mph wind to run up and into and FK declined Biffs offer to do some keeping
in one of the nets, while wilko had clearly been doctoring his net ball with
Pedro had a less torrid time without Elvis trying to leave a
seam mark on his neck and daz was back bowling his leggies and generally
looking quality. 2 of the leagues finest umpires would not let the session be
passed by and keep their hands in as Bleebs and Pedley reminded us why they took
up umpiring. (just kidding boys!)
I most enjoyable couple of hours, followed by a week of
avoiding stairs, bending or making any fast movements. Don’t forget your £6
lads and if you can bring it in ready change to make it easy for collection.