Last week my employer Vinci Construction UK played the first of a series of friendly 20:20 cricket games against other civil engineering and related companies. We played consulting Engineers AECOM at a very nice ground in St Albans – The Old Albanians ground at Woollam Playing Fields. I went along to take some photos (mainly for my own purposes) but ended up playing!
To be fair I had said that if they were short of numbers then I might be persuaded to play – but I wasn’t expecting to.
I rolled up early to the ground and very soon began to wonder what I had let myself in for as the 3 or 4 others from our team who had just arrived were changing into full whites complete with sleeveless cable knit jumpers. And helmets. Eek. I was there in my running shoes, black jeans and white work shirt.
So the boys wandered over to the nets and started lobbing what is quite a heavy ball around and at the guy wielding the bat. After milling around looking like the last schoolboy to get picked I decided to have a go at throwing the ball overarm to the batter. I was surprised actually how I managed to to a half decent impression of a cricketer. The bowling bit was okay apart from a few that ended up on top of the nets instead of on the ground. It was the running up to the crease that I found hard.
Others rocked up and – after the opposition also arrived and had a bit of practice in the adjacent net – we all ambled back to the pavilion for a conflab at which point it became apparent we were fielding first. This was okay.
For the next hour or so I did my best to look inconspicuous and generally mill around on the outfield and throw the odd errant ball back to the wrong person. Most other of our fielders seemed to know where to go at the change of over and walk to the corresponding place on the other side of the field. I just sort of stayed put and waited for our captain to point to where he wanted me.
Now this was all well and good and I was okay at standing around and occasionally returning the odd ball. This changed however when our captain pointed and me and gesticulated to me that it was my turn to bowl. What me? ME? Oh dear. No presure then. AECOM were rattling up the runs and I thought this is where they upp’d their run rate.
So I ambled to the crease and let the ball go and hey – actually straight and of a decent length. Maybe this wont be so bad. Ball clipped the bat, deflected inside and took the middle stump out. Wahoodley. Wicket on my first ball. Get in. Lots of laughing. Much back patting and high fiving. Cool. The next batter duly arrived and I finished my over with some good bowls and some less good however I actually really enjoyed it.
I had one more over of bowling before the 20 overs were up. Fair to say I was a little disappointed. We swopped over and fortunately I was way down the batting order in position… last. I was okay with that. I retrieved my camera from the car and settled down to take some photos. By this time the light was beginning to go so not ideal but I still got some reasonable shots.
Our batting innings started well and was steady through the middle order with our start batsmen steadily adding runs. Our captain got to his maximum 25 runs and so had to retire. With only 1 over left we managed to get the 99 runs we needed to win – and without yours truly needing to pad-up.
In all honesty I actually quite enjoyed playing and have offered my services to play in the next game whenever that is. I don’t think there will be that many but I hear talk of playing against BAM Nuttall and Crossrail. I shall report back if I play again….