1. It’s been a number of years since you last donned the whites at Acre Bottom.
What have you been up to during this time?
As some people may know, my two children had rather special circumstances thrown upon them when born and it was right that cricket took a back seat until myself and Sarah got to grips with firstly being parents and then their illnesses. This we have done over the last 10 to 15 years, where now we have Grace at 17 at Agricultural College and Harry doing well at Lowercroft Primary School, so therefore a little more of our time has come back to us and it seemed right that I then came back in to the RCC fold. Oh and of course playing some GOLF !!
2. What have you made of the last decade at RCC?
Not sure on this question, as I have really taken a step back from all cricket including RCC, so my last 10 years knowledge isn’t great, but what I have seen over the last two years is a real push to make sure that RCC is moving with the times and encouraging more families to join the club at a time when more and more of the younger generation have so many more options to choose from, this has shown itself over the last 6 months with the huge increase in female participation in the sport and a lot of the younger age groups having multiple teams.
3. Having been named as the Senior Coach for 2020; why, this year?
It just seems to have reached the natural progression moment. Having played at RCC since I was 11 years old and hitting the 1st team at 15, I played a lot of cricket and maybe just lost a bit of love for the game after the 20 + years, however now with my son being part of the junior set up and my family saying ‘Just Do It’ then it felt right that I give something back – ‘sounds corny’ I know, but that is how I feel. I loved the training on a Tuesday and Thursday and really wanted to instil to those playing now and those coming through how important the training is and listening and learning from those that have done a bit, in a bid to inspire and help the club, through all age groups.
4. What do you want to achieve/focus on in 2020?
A group of players that all have the same ethos for hard work, so playing and training just as hard, getting the younger players aware of what is required to reach the 1st XI team, and to those that are in the 1st XI what it takes to stay there and what they do, on and off the field is so important. To have the whole of the RCC Playing Group all playing in the same manner, so what the 1st and 2nd Teams do, then we can try and replicate with the U9’s right the way through the age groups.
5. You were regarded as a competitive cricketer when you played; what are your thoughts on the modern day cricketer?
Because of the spotlight now on all sportsmen and women the professionalism is continually growing and the fitness and the wanting to improve is growing as well, so they are quicker and stronger, but one of the big points of a more modern era is that of the question, of WHY ? HOW ? real questions that we as amateurs could learn from, ” WHY do I keep getting caught !!” HOW do I get Better ” Didn’t Train for two weeks ” small thought processes that could just help.
6. What’s your thoughts on the new Lancashire League structure?
Really good, I think that divisions and the idea of relegation / promotion are really powerful tools in getting some competitive cricket played right the way through the year.
7. Not only will you be coaching the lads, you will also sit on the selection committee. What are you wanting to see from the lads during both training and matches?
The lads and girls will need to be focused on what the training brings and why we are doing it, we are only trying to help if we can, but the idea of just standing in a net for 3 hours never really appealed. It needs to have a structure and importantly it needs to supply an end product. Also we are all in this together, so training has to be for everyone, we are all team mates and we require that we all have the same goals.
8. The most competitive player you played against?
Wow there were few. It was really the whole team that you were against, the Haslingdens (The Knowles Group) Bacups (The Thompson Clan) East Lancs, which were all filled with really good amateur cricketers backed up with World Leading Professionals. However one who did stand out and did for most was Roger Harper, I know I have picked a professional, but you just knew that you would be getting 20 + overs of economical bowling, with spears thrown at your leg stump, a fielder who would cover almost all of the field, catch everything that went to him and then would happily get an 80, but always did a good deal on gold after the match..
9. Standout Pros at Acre Bottom?
So many, not really any that have not been stand out. Murray Bennett, my first true pro, who was so great with the kids and a real great first introduction to cricket. Then you had Brian McMillan, Chris Harris, Ian Harvey, Brad Hodge, Michael Clarke, Kartik Murali – all high class players. But the stand out for me personally was Keith Arthurton, a model pro, great fielder, batter, bowler, plus the fact that we won the league with Keith back in 1992 even though with the amateur team we had, we should have won more.
10. Best Pro you either played with or against?
As said above Roger Harper.
11. Fastest bowler faced?
There were a few quick ones, but none quick enough that a helmet was needed !! But as a name to give it might have been Sam Skeete for Burnley. Although at 15 facing Geoff Lawson did seem a little scary at the time. I think the ones for an amateur to struggle with is that moving ball, and the likes of Damian Fleming, Joe Scuderi were masters at this art, along with the giant Jo Angel, who although I scored a few runs against, it was never easy.
12. Best game you ever played in?
Lots of games, but one that maybe more than others is a game versus Todmorden, where Todmorden posted 301/3 and we chased it down at 303/7 in a season that did have its ups and downs.
Tough one as I do not know the teams that have really excelled or have improved for this year, all I can say is that RCC have a great group of players and if they put in the effort and commitment we know they can, then they can achieve some really great results this year.