League cricket is back after the misery of the confinement Yorkshire News

The latest installment in our blocking sports series looks at the effects on village cricket and, in particular, how one club managed without matches last summer. Chris Waters reports.

Glad to be back - Woodlands Captain Cieran Garner.  Photos: Tony Johnson
Glad to be back – Woodlands Captain Cieran Garner. Photos: Tony Johnson

The worst moments were when the weather was nice.

Cieran Garner, captain of the Bradford League Woodlands club, would draw the curtains on a Saturday morning and think to himself: “if only.”

Along with club players from across the country, the heart and soul of the summer game, Garner was kicking his heels during what should have been the first weeks and months of the 2020 season.

Ready to Resume: Outfielder James Nixon prepares the pitch at Woodlands.

Although the action began at the end of the year, in the form of a truncated eight-game tournament, Woodlands was one of the few clubs that chose not to play, mindful of the fact that many of its loyal volunteers are elderly and therefore more susceptible to injury. coronavirus.

“It was really weird last year, especially when the weather was nice,” says Garner.

“It was certainly difficult to look at the good weather in the morning and think, ‘Oh, this would be a lovely day for cricket,’ when in reality no cricket was allowed.

“There were times in 2019, and I imagine there will be times this year, where we will wake up and open the curtains and it will be miserable and we will think, ‘Here we go, cricket season is here.’ again!’

Remember This ?: Woodlands celebrates winning the Bradford League after beating Undercliffe in 2019.

“But there were many times last year when it seemed like a perfect day for cricket, which only made things worse for cricketers everywhere.”

Mental inactivity, as well as physical inertia, took its toll on recreational players across the country, and the Woodlands men were no exception.

Garner was lucky; The man who led the club to a league and cup double in 2019, his first season at the helm, had something big enough to keep him busy: He and his wife Rachel celebrated the birth of their daughter Dottie, a sister of Teddy, just before. of the first blockade in March 2020.

A little golf, when allowed, also passed the time, but there’s nothing quite like the camaraderie of a cricket locker room, particularly a locker room as successful as Woodlands.

Outfielder James Nixon prepares for the wicket at Woodlands Cricket Club on Oakenshaw (Image: Tony Johnson)

Instead, Garner, who works for the Yorkshire Building Society, spent his spare time changing diapers rather than changing fields, having impressed everyone with his leadership qualities after rising through the ranks of Woodlands.

“Dottie was born a week before the official closing in March,” he says, “so it was a very busy period for me anyway.

“The first part of what the cricket season would have been was full of that, so it was quite a hectic time and it would have been even more so if cricket had been going.

“I play golf too, so later I spent some time playing golf with some friends, which I haven’t been able to do through the years I’ve been playing cricket, which was a good way to stay socially connected.

“But watching his cricket buddies week after week, training on weekdays and playing on the weekend, it was really very different, and even though we stayed in touch through Zoom calls and organized questionnaires about them and whatever, It was not the same as being physically together as a group. “

Since Woodlands did not play last summer, some players temporarily appeared at different clubs. But they enter the new season with the same group that performed so strongly in 2019, with the Bradford League set to be as powerful and competitive as it ever was before the pandemic intervened.

“We had a couple of guys who made the decision to go out and play for home teams and go on loan last year effectively,” Garner says.

“It was just to keep working and be really busy, especially those who I guess don’t have as many external commitments as some of us older in terms of wives and families and whatever.

“For his own well-being and mental health, just staying in the game was very important.”

It was also a difficult year for the cricket volunteers.

The Woodlands guys do a magnificent job and are the forgotten heroes behind the scenes, and the last thing the club wanted was to risk anyone’s health.

“We did not play last year due to the Covid situation,” Garner adds. “We have several volunteers who are in an advanced age, and we simply could not function without the volunteers who help on a regular basis.

“Most would have been in that protection category when Boris first made his guidelines and roadmap, so to speak.

“It was just the safety and practicality of …

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This notice was published: 2021-04-16 22:10:22