26th May: Chennai S. Kings v Mumbai I, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
Northern Universities Student Club-Community Cricketers Elite (NUSC) sponsored by the iconic Hilton Newcastle Gateshead continued its Winter Training Programme (WTP 2011) at the stunning Durham CCC Riverside ground in Chester Le Street.
As the players are soon realizing the programme is not the same old scene every week. Each week is designed to challenge them in new ways and to ensure that the effort put in to arrive at 0920 on a Saturday morning is worth it.
Session 4 marks the completion of the first 20% of the programme so a point of reflection for the players on what they have achieved and where they must now seek to maximise the opportunities available to them. The club always uses session 4 to reinforce its own message of high standards and with Marc Symington taking over as fitness coach for the session the players soon learnt that fumbles or less than absolute effort would ensure tough forearm development work. Gordon Muchall brought in his own 1st class take on fielding drills which as ever added to the amusement of the session although the keepers union sprang the real surprise with Will Brown showing his recovery from a horror facial injury the session before by securing the ground fielding competition….so batsmen take short singles to our keepers at your own risk!
For the squad session 4 marked another multitude of skills sets post fitness with the batsmen enjoying a back foot session with Gordon and Ronny which is always one of the more enjoyable on the circuit each year. For some like Lee Whitfield it was a good way to ease back into sessions after injury lay offs….good to have you back Lee, not been the same without the Geordie lad!
For the spinners it was the big debrief of their match performances but more importantly how to make that their building block towards major success. It was then down to very private 1:1s with spin guru Ash Patel on their own game and no doubt in session 5 the spinners will be the group to watch as they come back into match play.
The seamers enjoyed two key opportunities for the first time-video skills assessment with the Director of Cricket and a Kookaburra-Reader balls trial which brought home the amount of work needed to reserve swing the balls as well as the differences between the ranges.
So that leaves just 4 sessions until Christmas. Week 5 will mark the next stage of the squads evolution in what will no doubt be a great session to watch as everyone learns the ‘can do, will do’ players in what will be very tough conditions. To follow the clubs progress throughout the winter log onto www.cricketworld.com/internationalcricketnews/nuscccelite/