Wednesday, 8 June 2011

My best moment.

I take my sport seriously. Most people who play do. But me, I am the sentimental type when it comes to my performances. I still have all my goalie gloves from previous seasons, I have loads of newspaper cut outs, I keep my old bats, trophies, you name it. I guess it is a bit sad really, but I love them and I wouldn't be able to get rid of them. They are all links to some of my best memories, the kind of memories I am really proud of because it was something that was all me and something that I was doing to the best of my ability.

What I love is that everyone who is really keen, and plays every weekend, perhaps the sentimental type like myself , will always look back and remember one performance when they think 'that was me at my best'. The day when it was just just their day, their time to stand out and they felt invinsible. There may be a few, but I think there is always one that stands out.

I remember mine and I could talk about it forever, so I thought why not take a trip down memory lane and talk about it for the millionth time.

It was during the yearly cricket festival, I think I was about 15 at the time. It was our last game of the festival and we were already not going through to the next stage. This was strange to us as we had a very strong team. We had previously won the trophy before and it was still the same team, player for player this time round too but we just never really got going. Normally, it would be a bit of a nothing game, but the team we were playing that day, both sides never really got along.

Both of us were amongst the best in the county, top 5 I would say and we all knew the oppos players from various county matches, trials for county but mainly heated games between us before. There was a slight history between us and after playing each other a lot, we just both really wanted to beat each other !

Skip the first half, we bowled them out for 131. With their batting line up at the time that was a really good effort and we pretty much thought we would win very comfortably. 132 in about 50 overs ? Easy !

So Easy infact we thought 'it's the last game, lets reverse the batting order !' Slightly arrogant perhaps, and yes we wanted to win desperately, but the bowlers who had barely batted all week fancied it so we thought no harm done, if they mess it up the stronger guys will take it home anyway.

So there I was, the number 3 going in at number 9, my brother, normally in at 5, was in at 8, our opener in at 7 etc etc. The only person who didn't move was our number 11, simply because even in a batting order that was comical, he was still just that bad to not deserve a promotion !

It was a collapse. It went from bad to worse very very fast. It was the natural order of things. Our new found high order batsmen were out in no time and by the time our actual batsmen were due to come in, everyone was panicking a bit even though it was as expected. Our batsmen were coming in and still only had about 90 to get, but it just seemed to be one of those days. Our normal 2 openers both got ducks, and it was only when our best batsmen was run out when he was looking comfortable did everyone think we'd blown in. So I stumbled in at number 9 wondering what had actually happened and how I was in so quickly. I wasn't even expecting to have to pad up !

I was in with my brother, he soon went and so did the number 10. So there it was. Me and the guy in our team who just flat out did not want to bat. It was basically all over there and then. It was 58-9, and we needed to get to 132. There was no chance of it happening.

At these times, you just have to go with it. I mean, if we did happen to do it, I was going to have to do everything to not let this guy face. So I had to face every ball if possible. I was already through the stage of horrible nerves and was actually feeling fairly comfortable, I was more uncomfortable watching our number 11 cower away from the ball. It was agonising watching these as good as county bowlers miss the stumps by an inch 5 balls out of 6, and the one that was on the stumps would get edged through the slips for 4 !

It was miraculous that we had put on about 20 odd and were still going, and I could sense the worry in the opposition with every run scored. I was 'in the zone', thinking about nothing else in the world but how to win. I was in my element, playing the innings of my life and loving every minute of the pressure. By the time we had got to the 100 mark, I actually felt for the first time we could win, and so did everyone. The fielders were getting so restless and agitated, and the spectators were watching more intently than I had ever seen. The whole team, who normally after they have been out will do their own thing, maybe watch a little here and there, were all sitting by the ropes, hands on the pitch and cheering every run. It was an intensity I don't think any of us had really experienced before.

Once we had edged closer and closer and got more nervous, we were about 10-15 runs away and I hit my favourite shot ever, even now, this crunching coverdrive into the sunset. A shot I struggle with normally. From that moment I just knew we'd do it, it was absoloutely amazing hearing the cheers of my team thinking 'oh my god we can actually do this'.

When it came to the point of 1 run to win, there was no suspence. It was a simple flick off my hip and a dash over to the other end. Everyone ran onto the pitch and celebrated like mad. I was the star of the show and was overjoyed.

I only finished with 37 not out that day, the number 11 finished with 17 not out. I have got much higher scores than that before, 50's and 100's included, but that will never be beaten in my eyes. The best bit was a few months afterwards when the club created a new trophy based on that performance called the 'saving the day award' which will remain one of my most prized posessions.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Transfer Window

As the end of the football season has ended and Saturdays feel a bit strange, I do take some solace in the fact that the end of the playing season brings the start of the transfer window. And I love the transfer window.

Yes, the movements of players from clubs to clubs (in real life and in FIFA11 - yes, it important to update).is exciting, and yes seeing the ridiculous amounts of money being thrown around these days is mind-boggling (Jordan Henderson for £15 million, you sure?), but for me the transfer window is all about one thing. Rumours.

Don’t get me wrong, I have every now and then had a quick flick through the odd copy of Closer and Cosmo, so a cheeky celeb rumour I do find interesting, but the footy rumours are the ones that really grab me. The amount of people who come out with the most ridiculous links of players to clubs and claim to be ‘In The Know’ is fantastic. If you scour the football forums like I do, you will soon hear the words “from a very reliable source” in your sleep. Where do these sources come from? I have no sources at all. The only sources I have are in fact these rumour mills and I find myself alarmed to sometimes get carried away with them as it is all I have.

I guess that is the wonder of the transfer window. The faint hope that some top quality player will join your lowly club, for example, just a few weeks ago Michael Owen was odds on to join Brighton and also linked heavily to Southampton, from what I heard throughout the story it seemed odds on, it was so much a deal that only the paper had to be signed. He had also ’been spotted in the Southampton area’ and ’had had a meeting with Gus Poyet’ as well as being ’seen leaving St.Marys’ but alas, the man who was surely going to be a Saints player, even though he had featured in a Champions league final just days before then signed a new contract with Man United. Michael, what are you doing matey? Do you not ‘KNOW you had just bought a house down here?!’

Anyway, I look forward to more..

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Welcome to my blog. I don’t really know how to start these things or make a grand introduction so that will have to do I am afraid for the thousands of readers out there.
The large majority of my content on here will be sport related as that is my major passion in life. I guess I have always felt slightly concerned that I really have one major interest in life and that it is something that most consider more of a hobby, something to do for fun, and more of an interest, rather than something academic and that will benefit me in the real world.
It is also slightly concerning that at the age of 22, it might even be possible that I might not make it to the top level as a professional footballer/cricketer. I mean, it is possible the dream might just over bearing in mind Messi is technically the year above me at school and he seems to be cutting it, likewise with Fabregas. Steven Finn played a major part in an Ashes series last summer and he’s younger than me. All the more concerning.
I say I’m starting to consider I might not make it, but that certainly doesn’t stop me from having the odd dream of me scoring a last minute winner in the Champions league for Southampton, or having a great innings in bat against a poor, old bowling attack on a bat friendly wicket and thinking ‘if I just play like that a few more hundred times in a row…’
And that’s just garden cricket.
None the less, I still can’t get away from the fact that at this point in my life, sport as a while really is the main aspect of my life that when I talk, I realise I am genuinely passionate about. Some of my best memories have come from some of my own personal performances in either cricket or football, or the jubilation of watching my teams live or on the TV. I could talk all day about some of these memories and I am sure anyone reading this will hear some of these stories (you lucky things) as well as also hearing about the recent on goings in the sporting world just in case you may not have heard enough about them.
Hope you enjoy them.