The Ashes have been won, the sunshine is becoming less frequent, and around the country people are donning their pads and strolling out to the middle for the last time this year. It’s the end of another summer and the end of another cricket season, time to pack it in, ride out the winter, and wait for May when the first glimpses of sunshine will signal the start of another magical four months of leather on willow. Hang on, what’s that? It’s only the University of St Andrews Men’s Cricket Club!
What are they doing still playing cricket, didn’t they get the memo, the season is over, and it’s time to move on – play some golf or something.
But these intrepid heroes don’t seem to be taking no for an answer, the rain and lack of sun seem to be of no consequence. They seem to be challenging everything I ever thought I knew about the game. Oh wait no, hang on – they are just training indoors.
Nevertheless, the inner workings of the cricket club are probably due for closer inspection. Having just completed the biggest season in their history, playing in and getting relegated from the English Northern Prem, they are now looking to rebuild. Last season the seagulls faced up to some of the best university teams in the country and, despite losing every league game and racking up quite a poor net run rate, they genuinely competed (?). Encouraging personal performances were offset by an excellent team ethos that got them through the dark times of Durham away.
It is in these harsh winter months that the hard yards are to be put in if they are to earn the right to play against Loughborough and Leeds once again. At the end of last year the squad lost some its most seasoned pros to graduation and so there can be no doubt that this club is a club in transition. However the early signs are that the new crop of Freshers are going to provide the very injection of enthusiasm and dewy eyed naivety required for a season back in the Scottish leagues, playing against dubious opposition on pitches located at the end of airport runways.
The cricket club are full of ambition. They have already achieved the lofty heights of covers and are now looking to return to the English leagues. Before doing any of that however, they have to negotiate a season of indoor cricket. Success in indoor cricket has by and large alluded the seagulls in recent years, but Captain Hector Loughton is adamant this can change. “There’s no reason why we can’t win more games this year” he said in a message to the club on Sunday last. Training sessions are becoming increasingly professional, with the regimental James Earnshaw putting the squads through their paces with carefully devised training routines and there are even rumours flying around that the club kit is getting updated.
So is this the end of the season, is now a time to lament? No chance, the season has only just begun and I’ve just blown half my student loan on new batting equipment.