A cricket day for me today, broken foot or no. Normally I'm a third team player, and in these days where we have unearthed some youngsters of great talent, if not height, the thirds are above my level these days. I was certainly looking forward to playing at our main ground, with its sweet little pavilion
So how I found myself playing for the second eleven today against Thurgarton is anybody's guess. As events went on to prove, it certainly isn't for batting or bowling...and it meant getting changed in a shipping container so dark and dingy it was probably once used for people trafficking.
But first, as I'm making vague attempts to be a renaissance man and Joe Root never mentions the butterflies he sees at Lords, I shall describe the natural aspects of the setting of the ground, which is surrounded by the old RHP bearing factory sports facilities - bowling greens, tennis courts and the like - which have been allowed to grow wild as those various clubs met their demise.
Consequently, starlings flocked in the long grass, and above, a kestrel hovered virtually throughout the whole match, looking for prey on the boundary edge. We fielded first, and as I prowled at mid wicket, a pair of house martins twittered about, low down, even setting down in the grass cuttings for a second or two before flying off; I noticed them doing the same in Coddington yesterday.
In truth I don't field so badly, and luckily the others field even better, so we kept the opposition under great pressure until I came on to bowl at the death, and was hit onto the aforementioned bowling green by the Thurgarton version of Viv Richards. I don't know what happens; I bowl with pace (walking) and swing in the nets and then as soon as I get into the middle in a live game, my shoulders tense up like ratchets and adrenaline just sends my muscle memory all over the place. I bowled three overs, and after every ball I cursed my mother for giving birth to such an uncoordinated sack.
Alas, our batting didn't exactly go to plan, unless that plan was involved getting skittled out without scoring any runs. I'd barely finished explaining to a team-mate that the passing butterfly out to enjoy the evening sun was an orange tip before the scoreboard told us we were 4 for 6, and it was time to pad up to bat under the kestrel's critical gaze...
I was the only player batting in toe capped work boots. I needed them too, as I got thwacked on that same foot again, until I was given out lbw AGAIN for two and the kestrel laughed.
My dream of getting a double figure score this year, or indeed a wicket, seem a long way off being realised.
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 04.06.16