HELLO all and welcome to the 2011 season.
It’s been a long time coming after a long old football season, but it’s here at last - and I’m feeling good (please read the Three Bridges 4th XI report).
It was a weird old first game of the season.
At the end of April you normally expect a wet, low slow wicket.
But at Maidenbower Park on Saturday we found a rock hard pitch - one akin to an August wicket.
It was quick (as was the lightning outfield) and had bounce (high and low!) and was a real test for the batsmen.
Obviously this caused a few moans about the state of the wicket etc - but to be perfectly honest, I prefer a wicket to be a bit unpredictable.
It’s much more interesting than a wicket that is as flat as a pancake and both sides score 250+ on a Saturday afternoon.
It’s much more fun watching an opposition bastman hopping about to avoid a lifter off a good length then having to dig one out that has shot along the surface.
I had not batted for a while (I think West Chiltington last August!) because, due to a bit of back pain and knee trouble, I had not been to nets.
So going out to bat, particularly on a pitch like that, was a bit nerve-wracking. And after what seemed like a dozen play-and-misses, I screwed one attempted off-drive over the slips to the third man boundary for 4.
That was the confidence booster I needed and I hit another couple of boundaries before falling to a young lad called Grant Melvin (who took 8-33!). Now I mention him because after his first two wickets he turned to me (I was umpiring at the time), and said: “I should have a fit every week before the game”. The fella had a seizure two days before and spent a night in hospital.
After taking 6-49 I had a thought too - maybe not netting is a great idea! (Obviously to all those youngsters reading this - that was a joke).