County Times snappers cross the boundary at Monty

Reporter:

Mike Sheridan

Chief photographer Phil Blagg and I get to watch a lot of cricket during the summer, getting out to around three games on an average Saturday as part of our work for the County Times sports pages.

But it's not often we get much closer to the action than the other side of the boundary rope.

So when Montgomery CC invited us to get out from behind our long lenses and out onto the field for a training session with the first eleven, in June, the opportunity was too good to turn down, even for a slightly unfit pair of cricketing novices such as ourselves.

The sense of history is tangible upon arrival at the club's picturesque Lymore ground. The club tell us the oldest existing scorecard in Wales is from a fiercely contested match between Montgomery and Llanidloes on July 25, 1851, when Montgomery won by a single run.

But back in the present day we're here to meet a group of players hoping to add to the club's rich tradition after winning promotion last season, and hopefully avoid getting too beaten up by their fast bowlers in the process.

Our session starts with some catching drills with coach Keith Griffiths. A few caught and a couple dropped, but we're on our way and hopefully not looking too out of place before heading into the nets to face some of Montgomery's fearsome attack.

Unfortunately for me this also involves a bit of bowling, an area of the game in which I've never excelled, to put it mildly. Twenty years of no practice has, unsurprisingly, done little to improve my aim.

Mercifully, things improve when we pad up to bat and although we're facing much quicker bowling than either of us has experienced before, we're able to knock a few away, even though I suspect they're going a bit easy on us.

As the session comes to a close we’re blessed with a new awareness of how far off the pace we are, but mercifully our inexperience has not led to major injury or embarrassment. Chief snapper Phil reckons we’ve got off lightly.

“I think we both found out how difficult it is to get willow on leather and it was fascinating to see just how good these lads are. It’s completely different to how you see it when looking down the lens of a camera,” he says.

"This is a real family club and that’s what made our experience at training so enjoyable.

"My son, Leighton, is a member of the club’s youth setup and having now seen what it is like from both a player and parent’s perspective I would encourage more people to join in."

For anyone interested in joining Montgomery Cricket Club, senior practice starts at 6pm on Wednesdays with youth coaching on Thursday evenings. For further information visit the club’s Facebook page @MontgomeryCricketClub.

Email:

mike.sheridan@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the County Times

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