How not to use your head in cricket

February 28 2016

Cricket nets are always anticipated with great enthusiasm by players of the sport. After the dark days of winter, at last a chance to dig out the kit bag and give yourself some serious aches and pains for the rest of the week as you prepare for the season.

Richard Drew

Cricket nets are always anticipated with great enthusiasm by players of the sport.  After the dark days of winter, at last a chance to dig out the kit bag and give yourself some serious aches and pains for the rest of the week as you prepare for the season.  Unfortunately, after a few months off everyone’s a bit rusty, and if you’re getting on a bit, like Yate and Sodbury Voice editor Richard Drew, it can turn out to be a recipe for disaster (and a long wait in A&E).
It was my first net session of the season. The cricket bag had been located in the loft and hauled down and now I was creaking in my run up as I joined the Frampton bowlers at the morning nets.
It might be chilly outside, but at the WIA sports hall, talk was of the national summer game.  The first visit to the nets is supposed to be an uplifting affair; meeting old mates after a winter away from the club bar.  You can also be foolish to believe that this is going to be your season.  After all, not a ball has been bowled in anger yet.
Half way through the hour, I got my pads on and, bat in hand, strode off to see if my hand eye co-ordination was any better than last year.  My first delivery struck me right on top of my foot.  In these situations, always try to look nonchalant, even though it hurts like hell.  Not the best start, but as my session continued I managed to get bat on ball, and the odd shot even looked half decent.
Then the call, “last ball”.  My mate ‘Sleepy’, was at the other end.  I remember in a T20 match a couple of years ago I skipped down the wicket and late cut him for four.  He swears to this day that I edged it.  For the record I didn’t.
Anyway, with this memory in the front of my mind, I decided to try and repeat the dose.  Off I charged, whilst Sleepy, spotting my intent tried to adjust his delivery accordingly.  Unfortunately what came out of his had was a fairly speedy beamer.  For the uninitiated, a beamer is a ball that doesn’t bounce - in fact it was headed straight for my head.
The split second I had to register this fact wasn’t enough, and it struck me square on the side of the head.  There was horrible white noise in my ears and starbursts of light in my eyes.  In between being hit and falling to the floor face first, my still conscious self considered the fact this might be a bad thing to have happened.
After a few seconds on the floor, I thought it might be a good idea to get up.  That idea evaporated after I lifted my head only to catch sight of blood pouring to the floor.  I decided to stay put, and my teammates decided I wasn’t mucking around.
Eventually the paramedic arrived, I was moved, and the netballers, some of whom had come from Manchester, could start a very delayed game (sorry ladies).  In the end, I enjoyed 6 1/2 hours in A&E.  As my wife remarked as we waited amongst the throng in Southmead, not the most romantic way to spend Valentine’s Day.  
She must have been somewhat sympathetic to my plight, although she took a little too much delight in photographing the wound and watching me being stitched up for my liking.  She also called me an idiot and suggested I go shopping for a helmet.  After 38 years of not bothering with such encumbrances, she may have a point.