19th June, England v South Africa, 09:30 GMT
November 2009 - Hello web watchers!!
Right here goes blog number 1. Well I’ll introduce myself then shall I?
My name is Guy Darwin or as I’m better known Gooey. I’ve been involved in with NUSC for the past five years and within the time of playing with this club I have reaped many rewards. Rewards that without the clubs support could not have been possible. Highlights include my new club Welbeck Colliery who play in the Nottinghamshire Premier League and also having the honour of representing Nottinghamshire CCC.
The club have asked me to give a players perspective on how the Winter Training Programme (WTP) is shaping up and to comment on the experience.
5 weeks into the WTP it has become pretty clear what is required from us.
Week 1: Well this was the getting to know each other week, or so we thought… Our very own Ronny Boyd (batting, fielding and fitness coach) decided to up the ante and put us through our paces and I mean paces literally. So even before we got into the nets we all felt like we had just run a marathon. After Ronny had his fun with us we settled into the nets and the usual observations were made, from us as players and by the coaching staff to see who looked good, who had potential and who could play a role in our team.
New faces were a big part of the first week as we had many new additions to the squad. It was brilliant to see and a great testament to how the club is developing and a very positive sign for the clubs future. The new faces didn’t just stop with the players it also included the coaching staff!!! A very exciting signing was the one of Phil ‘Colonel’ Mustard who is with us to work with the batsmen, keepers and to improve on our fielding. Our thanks must go to our other ‘Guy’, Guy Hilton for giving us the opportunity to work with Phil. Even though after today’s catching practice I was quickly on eBay looking for a fresh pair of hands (I think he needs to hit it harder!!!).
Weeks 2-4 allowed the players to work with the coaches to develop and build on any weaknesses we have observed be it with our techniques, or game plans. For this the coaches must have a pat on the back for taking in our (player) feedback and developing and evolving our methods of training. The relationship the coaching staff and players have is a special one as we all understand each other and have a great deal of respect for one another. As already a vast improvement has been made on how we approach each session and how we approach our own individual games. As an all-rounder I have maybe seen the transformation more graphically than others as I can take part in all aspects. Trust me, when batting and you have the bowlers all talking amongst themselves working out plans between them on how to get you out its quite a daunting task. Although add to the mix two coaches who I think could and still can bowl a bit in Melvyn Betts (over 500 first class wickets) being the seam bowling coach and Ash Patel (Durham CCC when Durham was a Minor County) spin bowling coach it just focuses the mind that little more. But then I suppose the bowlers can say the batters do have Colonel to pass on his advice and techniques.
The fielding has been exceptionally well focused and exceptionally well coached also. The levels of fielding have been improved greatly already. With even Colonel showing us how it was done on more than one occasion, although Bettsy did say he would demonstrate but his sore knee would not allow him too. He’s a good fielder though, well so he tells me. Only joking. One aspect I have really enjoyed with the fielding is the variation of drills with the pace and game like conditions we are put into. This can only lead to good things for us in the fielding department.
Week 5 just demonstrated what kind of club we are becoming and how the clubs reputation is growing. Liam ‘Pudsey’ Plunkett the Durham and England all-rounder joined us before his flight to South Africa for England’s up coming test series. The session I have no doubt proved beneficial for him as he could get rid of a bit of rust before getting back into the action again. I must also mention our boys who batted against him. As they all stood up to the challenge even if it did take a body blow to wake some of us up. Plus I heard a rumour Malks got him out at some stage but then Pudsey did say he was on the slog. Throughout the session I have to add that Pudsey was a credit to himself and was a joy to have around the squad. So on behalf of all the players and coaching staff I would like to wish you all the best for the tour buddy.
Anyway back to week 5 and after our net practice came the joys of the fielding practice. Well let’s just say Bettsy caused a few scrapes and grazes with Johnny Malkin being the pick, with his demonstrative diving flick in which he managed to miss the protective crash mat. Way to show us how it’s done Malks. Ash Patel had the bowling machine set up and was firing it at us from across the sports hall for us to stop and return to the wicket Keeper. Baring in mind the ball was coming out of the machine at pace I’m surprised more people didn’t try Brownies’ tactic, of instead of throwing the ball to the keeper throwing it back at Ash!!! That caused a few laughs between us but it was mainly aimed at the unfortunate Brownie, who took a bit of a ribbing from the lads. As let’s face it the gap between the bowling machine and the keeper was well…substantial!!! Ash definitely wasn’t laughing when it happened as the last thing he was expecting to do was dive for cover. However it did show he’s still got the reflexes. Then that brings us neatly on to Colonels catching drill and well the least said about that the better. In brief we stand in front of Colonel, Colonel hits ball with a Skyer bat, we then catch the ball or at least try to catch it and then check to see what state are hands are in. With me having a sneaking suspicion that RED RAW would be the most common answer. Though I’ve got to admit it’s a heap of fun even if your hands do sting a bit afterwards.
Thanks for reading and until next time
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NUSC-CC Elite