Cricket is back!
Well, it's been back for a couple of weeks actually, but the games I was due to play got rained off, although I did end up umpring a second team game for several hours, but that victory had rather felt like reflected glory in the bar afterwards.
I couldn't wait to get back to the real thing.
So, on Sunday, a day of unexpected warmth and sunshine, I threw my now not very whites in my kitbag, and headed for Kelham Road to vice captain or Sunday side against the nice gentelemen from Cheers Cricket Nottingham, one of whom was having a crafty pre-game nap on a bench when I arrived.
Being rather hungover, I envied him.
Despite the terrible weather our ground staff had done an amazing job on the ground and wicket, and our new club president had very kindly come down to umpire. The skipper lost the toss as usual, and so Cheers decided to bat.
Now, our team was very strong, with several first team players, and Cheers had said they were very week and were worried about the game, and after ten overs, this certainly seemed to be the case. They were four for two after brilliant spells from our opening bowlers, and a hasty tactical meeting between myself and the skipper was convened in order to stop the game only lasting an hour.
"Let's get the donkey bowlers on" was the new strategic plan, and it worked brilliantly as our leg spinner was hammered into the adjoining field second ball.
Now it was time to really go for it. I was brought on.
Now, over the winter problems with my shoulder and ankle have meant I have given up my left arm swing bowling, which has been rubbish for three years anyway, and have switched to bowling right arm off spin. Nets had led me to be quite optimistic it would go ok.
Reality, however, has a way of pissing on you and claiming it is rain.
My first ball was short, turned a little, and was hammered over the boundary for six. As was the third, and the fourth. Two others only went for four, and long grass kept one to two.
The over went for 28 in all, much to the delight of my team-mates who laughed mightily with every hit.
I did get better after that, although I did throw in a couple of wides, but my three overs went for 33, which was a bit much even for our new tactical plan, so decent bowlers were brought back on.
"You were lucky he didn't take you apart" said one of the Cheers lads afterwards of the batter. What, and going for 28 isn't being taken apart?
The game continued in this pattern...good bowlers for a bit, and then further attempts to give Cheers a few runs in the aim to try and get them up to a reasonable score. However, unlike what happened to me, the Cheers lads weren't able to take advantage and were bowled out for 132 after what seemed a very long 35 overs.
Am I upset about what happened to my bowling? Naaah, life's too short. I was rather enjoying myself out there!
So, after a tupperware tea break in the sunshine - cherry jellies for energy in my case - it was time for us to bat in what seemed like would be a straight forward chase. Indeed our young opening bats made a bright start and took us to nearly fifty before a wicket fell.
After that though, we really began to make heavy weather of our task. The Cheers bowlers were clearly rather better than their batting, and we struggled to get a partnership going for a while. Wickets were falling, and the first team captain had to be rescued from watching Arsenal in the pavilion in order to steady the ship.
The first team captain is very good at steadying the ship, everyone says it, and indeed he and the other senior first teamer in the side did just that to take us close to our target, until one got a good ball, and the first team skipper played just a few minutes too early at a slower delivery. We had 14 left to get, and wickets were tumbling again, forcing me as the regular and no-longer reluctant number 11 to put my pads on.
Enter our first team opening bowler, who on request we shall name. His name is Craig, AKA "Bimmo" and like me he usually bats at eleven, and was not batting at eleven today because I was in the team. It was he who steered us home with some elegant late cuts and dabs, although he nearly forgot to actually, you know, run, when he hit the winning single down to third man.
So, a successful if slightly wobbly start to our Sunday game, and no I'm not going to stop bowling spin.
I'll get the batters worked out, then bowled out, so there!
Nature photographs included to annoy the chairman.
All text and images copyright CreamCRackeredNature