The season has started for many of us with the arrival of the winter net. A chance to blow out the excesses of Christmas, test run the new equipment and set unrealistically high targets ahead of the new season proper.
I attended my first session on Sunday having missed the first week of winter nets due to travelling north to see my beloved Leeds United knock Tottenham out of the FA Cup. At least it was a worthwhile trip…
I was, however, a week behind my team mates. The first week is always the most painful. Cricket, unlike any other sport I’ve attempted, leaves you with aches and pains in places that you weren’t aware existed on your body. You have to break yourself into a new season. It’s now Wednesday and I’ve still got a slight cramp-like feeling in my right hand and left buttock.
Both of these are thanks to batting. Gripping too hard as you nervously prod at the first few you face and bouncing around in the crease to try and get the feet moving. It sort of worked…
I was approaching my first net with the added excitement of it being the first opportunity to give my brand new Slazenger V100 Ultimate its debut outing. It’s always something to look forward to, the first use of a new bat.
I enjoyed the experience, too. The V100 has a huge middle and, when meeting the ball, seems to defy the physics of an equal and opposite reaction as the balls flies away without fuss or fanfare. A well timed forward defensive would also open up scoring opportunities.
The TAS (Torsioned and Sprung) inserts also lend more power to the edge of the bat. If you don’t quite middle the ball there is still a good transfer of power onto the ball from the V100 as a result of this addition.
Having a powerful edge is certainly a bonus to a batsman like me! The first net of the season was never likely to see me at my best, but it was good to feel leather on willow once again. I’m looking forward to netting regularly and have been working on my bowling, too, more of which next time.
Last season I set myself the target of averaging 14 with the bat across the season. I failed. Dismally. This season I will be attempting to average in double figures. I will also be captaining the Englefield Green Cricket Club 2nd XI, so a victory or two along the way would be an added bonus!
By Miles Reucroft