I was humbled to be challenged to have a crack at a cricket-themed mid season editorial so firstly many thanks to the editor for the opportunity! At Copthorne Cricket Club, we’re currently having a good season so far and are top of Division 3 of the Stoner Mid-Sussex League with 6 wins from our first 9 matches. Decent stuff you might think but you certainly won’t catch me getting carried away just yet! Good weeks and bad weeks are part and parcel of being involved with a cricket club and one of the issues these days is player availability. Whether the reason is the removal of live cricket from terrestrial TV or other social trends, player availabilities seem to be slightly down with us and also with other teams. Last Saturday though was worse then most weeks. We had 8 players on the Friday morning before the match (the minimum allowable to avoid a concession) so the usual contacts with the players was made. Can you play half the match? Can your grandad play? Do you have a scarecrow you could put some whites on that looks vaguely human? The usual routine, each request getting more desperate than the one before. To my surprise, one of our players had a work colleague who was happy to come out and play and by Friday evening I had made contact. We graced the match with nine of us and even went on to win. The new player seems keen and is happy to play again so it seems that had we not had the adversity in the first place we would not have ended up with the new contact. And as for cricket on TV? On the same day it was announced that the BBC would be broadcasting T20 live cricket from 2020 plus prime time highlights of Test and 50 over cricket, meaning the game would be coming into more homes in Copthorne and around the country getting the coverage it needs. So as it turns out, what promised to be a bad week might actually have turned out to be the best one of the summer. Now for the second half of the season… Paul Smart
It seems that the Copthorne Ladies Stoolball team can also identify with the occasional problem with player availability. I was asked to stand in for a match against Ashdown Forest the other evening and had a thoroughly great evening as a sub with this jovial-spirited team. Jackie’s superb Mr Tickle style catch with outstretched arm had to be ‘moment of the match’. I’m sure the team would love to have a few more names of reserves that they can call upon once in a while, so if you are interested in contacting either the Copthorne Cricket or Copthorne Ladies Stoolball teams you can find their details in the list of local contacts.