A new season is (almost) upon us and preparations are in hand for the first game of the season, which as usual will be a test against our old foe Ebernoe on Saturday 28th April. Actually, this first game could be decided on the toss of a coin for it is totally unpredictable.
Apart from a sprinkling of (younger) batsmen who have attended nets the majority haven’t had a bat in their hands for six months, likewise some bowlers will not have turned their arm over for the same period and muscles are likely to be tested by the sudden need to sprint to the boundary or between the wickets.
I speak from experience here as being the sometime wicket keeper and relatively inactive throughout the winter I have to face approximately 240 balls (40 overs x 6 balls). This requires squatting down and jumping up 240 times. For two week in early May my quadriceps scream and I am hardly able to walk!
Meanwhile the wicket is being brought to perfection by Paul Phillips – raked, aerated, mown and rolled, with weed killer applied and fertilizer spread. It is also watered if Southern Water Board restrictions permit. An awful lot of work goes into preparing the square so little wonder Paul guards it so zealously. The outfield too has to be repeatedly mown. Grass for football is too long for cricket, so gradually it must be shorn to an acceptable length once the goalposts are taken down. The sightscreens have to be maintained, repaired and painted, the kit sorted and renewed. And the implement shed has been improved by the Recreation Hall Committee with the construction of, what John King describes proudly as ‘an architect-designed extension’ (Architect Jamie Brooke-Fisher).
John King has been at work throughout the winter months, raising subscriptions from our brilliantly supportive Vice Presidents, arranging fixtures and printing fixture cards. The fixture list changes marginally from year to year. This year we dropped the fixture with Graffham and Smithbrooke (they usually cancel at a late hour), Fernhurst have dropped us after 50 years (anecdotal evidence suggests they believe we are now too serious – what us?) and the Cricket Society are not coming this year as we are unable to fit in their calendar. In their place John has arranged games against local villages Lynchmere and Elsted, and a touring team -The Ancient Mariners.
Insurance for the club has been renewed – this is mandatory for all teams who are affiliated to Sussex County Cricket Board. So if any Outlook reader is hit by a cricket ball while walking their dog they can be sure we have 3rd Party Cover!
The AGM took place on the 2ndFebruary and the usual suspects were voted into office. The captain will be last year’s successful skipper Matt Hall and Vice Captain Paul Phillips. Chairman Allan Thompson’s firm Contract Candles, agreed to sponsor our shirts. Allan also made a generous donation towards a replacement mower while Andrew Wilson-Smith agreed to sponsor 12 balls for home games.
Discussion on the renewal of the playing strength of the team took some time at the AGM. Finding new players is the key to the survival of village cricket. I suppose all readers of Outlook will be well aware of the Cricket Club so an advert is probably unnecessary but if anyone is reading this who is new to Lodsworth, River or Lickfold do consider joining us – previous experience at Test level is not required. Nets have been arranged and a practice match at the recreation ground on Sunday 22nd April.
Looking further ahead, Paul Phillips undertook to arrange nets and coaching sessions for village youngsters on Saturday mornings during the season. A notice will appear in Outlook giving details. In this way the tradition of village cricket in Lodsworth is assured.