Some say that cricket skill is born out of natural talent, the odd one in a few might possess it and even fewer may be taught it. But what about those that say it is in the genes?
Think back to the great cricketing families of the past and there are many to choose from. There are several instances of brothers playing Test cricket: Michael and David Hussey, Adam and the late Ben Hollioake, Robin and Chris Smith and possibly, most famously, Mark and Steve Waugh.
Mark Waugh was subjected to one of the 'greatest' sledges of all time when James Ormond (remember him?) responded the former’s taunt of "What are you doing out here? You're too s*** to play for England!" with a ripose of: "Maybe so, but at least I'm the best player in my family".
It’s not just brothers that have represented their country. For England, Mark and Alan Butcher, Chris and Stuart Broad, Denis and Nick Compton and Alec and Micky Stewart are just some of the father/son combinations to tread the hallowed turf.
Further to this Colin Cowdrey, in one of the rarest family connections, fathered two sons who also represented England in Graham and Chris.
If this is fairly common at international level it is even more so at club level.
At Camberley CC, there are many instances of families representing the club: Robin, Gary and Shaun Udal, Bill, James and Duncan Crane, Don and Julian Hagger, Chris and Sam Holmes, Martin and Ryhs Holifield and Cliff, Harry and Paul Stephens to name but a few.
The same could be said for many a club. We know that Farnham produced Alan, Ian and Graham Thorpe as well as their father who was instrumental in Graham’s professional career but I wonder if any are as diverse as our next generation of cricketing family?
Steve, and brother John Holden both represented the 1st XI for many years and it was no surprise when John’s son Tom followed suit and represented the club at U10 and U11 level.
His talent was soon recognised by Surrey and is currently playing for the U11 District West team.
When Tom’s sister Emily then showed an interest in playing, we thought this may be a case of ‘if you can’t beat them….’ but Emily has shone through the girls coaching in a section that only started in 2013 and after successfully participating in the County Assessments at the end of 2013, she has been awarded full County Age Group honours at U11 level for Surrey as well.
Girls are entitled to play two years below a boy's age group, so a girl who is 13 years old can play in a boys U11 game.
Emily has not only done this for Camberley U11 boys and therefore defied the 'handicap' system but has also completed a boy's game at U13 level, a full two years above her own age group. She not only competed but also took a wicket in her allocated overs.
We truly have another example of the 'cricketing gene' in action. Incidentally, her Mum, also of the opinion ‘if you can’t beat them...' manages the girls section at Camberley and Steve’s son Max (5) is already showing potential with the bat - he must get that from the Milkman!