Jimmy's Hampshire Blog: Surrey Day 1

on June 2, 2008 by Administrator

Woke up this morning feeling pretty good, head screwed on and feeling good for a bat but get to the ground and no-one’s got any batting vibes at all… With Creepy (John Crawley) out injured, Chris Benham is welcomed back to the side – it means I now have less space to change (he’s next door in the changing-room) but this is more than made up for by his monopolising of the music-box. Benny has a pretty decent taste in music and without him, we have to put up with Gooba’s (Chris Tremlett) R&B…

Tomo (James Tomlinson) is drawn out of the hat again to do the warm-ups over the four days and, just for a change, plays football. Two touch, one touch goal and the standard is generally woeful – today the ‘no-bibs’ win easily as Tomo picks vastly unfair teams. Some good slip-catching practice is followed by a quick hit and a little trundle to loosen up – everything is running to plan until we find out that we’re in the field.

Things start well, I take a decent slip catch in the 1st over and the dismissal of Mark Ramprakash is a welcome relief but things go pear-shaped on a personal front as I give Butcher a life at 2nd slip – not too much of a headache as it was a tough chance but you expect to take them. The inner demons really kick in though as I spill a straightforward catch off Twiggy – not long into the new rock and the big man is working up a good head of steam, quick enough that the ball goes through by fingers and hits me in the chest…

There are not many worse feelings on a cricket pitch than dropping a catch and it’s always worse when you see the next ball dispatched to the boundary. You get back on the metaphorical horse and pray that the next catch sticks so you can exorcise the doubts – fortunately Saqlain pushes at one a few overs later and the ball comes to me at near-perfect height, nice pace and I see it all the way. It goes in pretty well then pops out. Kneeling on the ground, I’ve no idea how to react – scream, throw a tantrum, thump the floor a few times, in the past they were all a viable option but the only thing I manage is a muttered ‘I don’t ****ing believe it’.

The worst feeling I’ve ever experienced on the field, a feeling that I’ve really let the lads down. My fellow slippers try their best to make light of my catching debacle and a few wry smiles and some light banter helps to ease the situation a little. However my hands are now complete jelly – I dry them with some dirt before every ball but by the time the ball’s halfway down the nervous sweats have taken hold and I’m secretly praying that the ball comes nowhere near me. Fortunately it doesn’t.

To complete a horror 24 hours Ii return the next day and register an 11-ball duck. I’m not so worried by the zero or the fact I’m on a pair – it’s the complete lack of rhythm at the crease, the horrible feeling of being all at sea. For me that’s what feels like a loss of form, the lack of runs so far this year hasn’t helped but I can deal with a run shortage if I’m confident with my game; unfortunately that’s flown out of the window, hastened by the ‘Scissorhands’ issues (a term used by the lads if you’re struggling on the catching front).

The ball avoids me in the 2nd dig as slip catches home in on Chris Benham’s safe hands at 3rd – I can regroup, get some decent practice in and get a clean slate next game. Phew.

Cricket is a funny game – one of the strangest team sports in that it is probably the most individual team sport going. It’s great when things are going well but on the flipside it becomes a pretty lonely place when the chips are down. Players work hard on their games and there is often barely the time do the things you’d like to, let alone help with someone struggling with theirs. There are guys who are great at this though but it is often the case that their services are in very high demand!

Fortunately my old opening partner and away-trip room-mate, Michael Brown is in good knick at present and I’m able to get a few things off my chest by chatting to him. A good mate to chat too can work wonders and with my 2nd innings looming I’m feeling much better about things.
31 runs. It might not seem much but a huge weight I’d lifted, I feel like I can play cricket again – I’m never the world’s most fluent and this wasn’t pretty but given my state of mind 48 hours ago, I’ll take it.

We draw the game – a little disappointing as we were well placed to register a much-needed win. We’re on the bus to Cardiff, no doubt I’ll be rooming with Browny – our room should be a happy place, he’s in good knick and playing a rare game of one-day cricket tomorrow and I’m not feeling sorry for myself anymore!

No doubt Browny’s body will be in bits by this time tomorrow (in the past he’s admitted to having the body of someone twice his age) especially as he’s keeping wicket!

On the bus things are very much as normal – cricketer’s are creatures of habit.

If I do well wearing a particular shirt, I’ll be making sure it’s clean for the next day as I’ll need to wear it again and will do so until things go wrong. So far this year there has been a fair amount of chopping and changing! So on the bus, I’m in the same seat as I’ve sat all year with Lumby in the seat behind and Dimi in the one in front playing poker with the usual poker crew.

Carb’s is further back with Lamby and Browny while Tony Weld (our scorer and the world’s nicest man) sits quietly at the back. If we stop at a services, you can be sure PT (our coach Paul Terry) will stock up on pic’n’mix, the Zimbabweans will get their nicotine hit and Griff will buy them out of chocolate and Starburst.

At the hotel, we’ll check in and most will order their morning paper. Anything with a good sports section or, as it’s a Sunday tomorrow, with decent supplements will suffice most. I should add to that the need for some flesh on Page 3 for a good number of the lads – Lumby is one of the red top devotees; a cup of coffee and the latest drunken antic’s of the celebrity world and he’s a happy man! Browny is the exception as he sits in bed mulling over the FT checking on his shares.

Anyhow, I’m running out of juice, my bum is numb and I’ve crapped on enough – got to make a few calls, find out how my club did today and remind the other half to water the plants. Exciting stuff.

Written by James Adams – LHB for Hampshire CCC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Name and email are required.