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September 2008
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The captain’s blog: Relegation

September 2nd, 2008 by Edward Craig in Club cricket and tagged ,

Relegated. That’s what’s happened. No great surprise. I’d like to say it’s been a roller-coaster ride this season – to use a proper captain’s cliché – but it’s been more roll (downwards), then a gentle coast (upwards) and now flat-lining.

Last weekend’s game did throw up that experience which other sports rarely offer. We needed a win to have a glimmer of hope but when I discovered Alan Richardson (England A, Middlesex, opening bowler) was playing for Shepherds Bush, it was game over, in truth.

How often does an amateur footballer get to play against England’s finest? When do club rugby players face internationals? Even golfers have to pay a healthy sum to play alongside the world’s best in pro-am events. In cricket, if you play in the right leagues, all you have to do is turn up.

And it’s great. Okay, it is unfair – especially if he’s a quick bowler – but it is a privilege. I faced a bloke who was properly quick, who has taken serious first-class wickets. I faced two balls – yes, two. The first was a good lbw shout. The second removed my off stump. I saw it, played it, thought I’d hit it when I heard a healthy, wooden noise …

This is a bowler described on Cricinfo as a fast-medium journeyman. The next time I sit in the office describing Collingwood as rubbish or saying that Sidebottom bowls too slow (I’ve actually faced him as well, he was too quick for me), I’ll have in the back of my mind that this is nonsense. On the grand scheme of things, they are all brilliant players.

We can have no complaints with the relegation – thumped by a better team in the crucial game even if a couple of the opposition felt a touch guilty about Richardson’s performance (4 for 18 off 10 but it ripped the heart out of our run chase).

So – division three next season. Bring it on. We’re not going to lose too many players and I can see us causing chaos.

Edward Craig is deputy editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in Club cricket | 19 Comments »

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