Cricket trials are coming up, what are they all about?
Winter cricket trials have been going on for as long as I can remember and they are part and parcel for anyone wanting to achieve higher honours in the beautiful game of cricket.
What advice would you give to anyone going for cricket trials?
For many parents and children trialling can be a rollercoaster of emotions and unfortunately this can end up quite stressful. So, first, I would say, remember that everyone in that incredibly silent sports hall of anticipation is going through exactly the same thing as you. If you are a batter walking down to your net to face the first ball of your trial with what feels like that coach staring solely at you, just think, the bowler you’re about to face is feeling exactly the same and is just as nervous. You are all on a level playing field, where everyone is feeling the pressure, so enjoy yourself and make the most of this opportunity!
Second, make sure you give it your all when you get there. It takes a lot of effort in your training sessions to encourage a coach to even put you forward for a trial. Extra net sessions, additional coaching and countless hours spent thinking about what may or may not happen have prepared you for any eventuality, so go for it. Get stuck in and give it your very best. Speaking from experience, there is nothing worse than thinking I could have bowled just that little bit faster, committed that little bit more to a shot or spun the ball that little bit further.
Last, but certainly not least, keep positive. If, after an agonising wait, the outcome of your trial is unfortunately negative, try not to let that one hour or so determine your entire future in cricket and it should definitely not determine your decision to not want to play for that team again. It won’t seem it at the time, but this is a great life lesson in how to deal with a set back and come bouncing back better. If cricket has taught me anything, it’s that there are plenty of ups and downs. So, it’s how you manage this, which is extremely important, as it won’t always go your way.
Have you ever suffered a setback?
Of course! If you’re a petite middle order wicket keeper for Essex then, unsurprisingly, there are many setbacks along the way! I remember one particular occasion I found myself, one season while playing for Essex U11s, slipping further down the order. Looking back, it was probably justified given a lack of runs and this was before I found my strength in wicket keeping. The coach politely approached my dad and asked if I had ever thought about bowling spin. What he really meant was if I didn’t do something else, I was going to quickly be out of this team. To be honest I think if it was solely left to him, I most definitely would have been. Luckily the coaches changed the next year and I was back playing at the top of the order, where I was best suited and I started to put in some decent performances, good enough the following year to get asked to join the academy. Coaches don’t always get it right, they are only human after all, and sometimes you might just be having a bad day, because you are only human too, so don’t let one moment decide your future goals or what you want to achieve.
What should your next steps be if you are successful at trials?
Great news! If the outcome of the trial is positive, a much deserved well done, but remember this is simply the first step to what is hopefully a very fruitful career. On selection there isn’t any completion and there will be plenty more coaching sessions under observation, as well as games in the summer season where you will be evaluated. This may seem quite daunting and you might be asking whether or not you really want to go through it, however amongst the trials and maybe a few unfavourable coaches, there will be tonnes of laughter and moments to cherish forever.
Do you have particularly fond memories from trials?
There are many! One of my funniest memories was at Oundle School, where national finals were taking place against the other best counties of their region. It was 3am and the sound of a fly woke me up. As I liberally sprayed my deodorant around the room to deter it, it flew across my smoke detector, setting off the fire alarm and waking up every county-age group player and coach in the early hours of the morning before the biggest day of the county calendar. As you can imagine this didn’t amuse many people at the time!
Do you have any other final words of advice?
Some of my greatest cricketing memories come from playing various counties around the country in the summer holidays and the annual cricket tours at Ampleforth School and Taunton School. And some of my closest and longest friends also came out of these experiences. The effort it takes to commit to something like this is all worth it! TRUST ME!