Beyond the Boundary – a captain’s lot is not always a happy one, reveals Jack Rimmington

Please be aware any opinions are my own and are not representative of any North Wales League official, player or club (especially Llandudno CC).

Why Would Anyone be a Captain?

Now that we are into the business end of the season, I felt it time to give a little insight into the life of a skipper of a club side.

It is a full-time job and can be both rewarding and frustrating in equal measure.

It is widely regarded that the hardest job in cricket is to be the national team captain. Wrong. Eoin Morgan has got it easy.

All he does is turn up, move some fielders around and play cricket. I will tell you why being a club team captain is the hardest and most under-appreciated job in cricket…

Being a club team captain is extremely stressful and every day presents a new challenge. It involves many skills and covers a broad range of tasks that are essential to complete. You are a leader on the field but off it, you are an accountant, school teacher, supervisor, administrator and chief organiser.

Monday is often the quietest day but you cannot rest on your laurels. This is where your week starts and a strong Monday makes the rest of the week easier.

You send out the messages to see if your players are available for the coming weekend’s fixtures. The majority get back to you quickly with the obligatory thumbs up emoji. Others will leave you hanging. However, a strong start as most can play. You have eight names on the team sheet and things are looking good!

As the week continues, you rally the troops to get a side together. Next thing you know, NIGHTMARE. One of the lads has got a wedding that they totally forgot about. Not to worry, you persevere and continue the great hunt for 11 players.

Throughout the week you will try and fill those final couple of slots to make your 11. Sometimes you have to negotiate your way there like you are trying to form a trade deal with the EU post Brexit. “Look, we are a couple short this week, do you fancy a go in the firsts? I will get you a bat and a bowl if the chance presents itself.” A long pause ensues before they respond “No problem skip, see you Saturday“. Result!

Game day arrives and you have managed to get 11 players on the park. Before the game begins, you have to get the rope out, 30 yard circle marked and covers off. You go into school teacher mode, trying to get the lads to pull their weight.

Almost instantly, everyone turns into teenagers like Kevin and Perry (what a film!) questioning everything you are asking them to do “Do I have to?! Whats the point in me doing it!”.

It is also amazing how long it takes someone to “put some shoes on” in the changing room while everyone else does the work, only for them to emerge 10 minutes later when everything has been completed!

Next up, you need to make sure that the match fees are collected. You work your way round the room. “It’s in the car” or “I need to go to a cash machine” seem to be standard answers when players are faced with the audacity of asking them for their contribution to the cost of running that day’s match!

But wait, that player owes for last week as well and he owes for 3 weeks ago but has been away. Bollocks, I need an accountant to help me do all this.

Imagine Eoin Morgan trying to collect match fees only for Ben Stokes to tell him it is in the car and Joe Root asking his team mates to sub him a £5 until after the game!

Eventually you are outside to get warmed up. You clear your throat ready to give a rousing and inspirational team talk a la Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

Just as the speech reaches it’s crescendo someone lets one go! Cue fits of laughter and giggling as if you are stood in front of 10 pre-school children who find anything amusing. You try and get back on track but it is too late. The moment has gone.

It has been a long week but finally. Game time. You make the decisions during the game that you think are the best for the team and to get a result in that fixture.

If you win, it will be the players who scored the runs or took the wickets that get the praise. But, I will tell you now, there is nothing better than watching one of your team mates bag a five-for or score a ton when you’re skipper, even if no-one recognises your role. It feels as good as doing it yourself.

Some of the proudest moments I have had have been with my feet up, watching the other lads smash it round the park.

However, if you lose, it is all your fault as the captain. After the game is reflection time. What went well and what didn’t. No-one will question a captain and the decisions they make, more than them self.

However, this will not stop some people from having a whinge and a moan about the decisions you have made. It happens at every club and is the hardest part of being a skipper. You have to let it roll like water off a duck’s back and get on with it because you still are not finished yet!

You have to complete umpire reports, there is admin work to complete and you need to ensure that every piece of cricket kit that came with the team, also goes back. While the rest of the team grabs a swift beer after play, you have to check the changing rooms because you have no doubt that little Robbie has left his playing shirt on the floor under the bench, or Barry would go home with one shoe because the other is still in the bin after the lads’ latest practical joke.

Despite all that, we carry on doing our jobs. The feeling you get during the good times far outweighs the bad.

There will always be moments of frustration but they are all forgotten in the moments of victory. Summer weekends are all about enjoying a nice cold one after a day’s play, as the sun decends beyond the horizon.

This is your only time as captain to relax, because when you wake up the next morning, you have to do it all over again. And again. Until the middle of September.

Copyright Dave Jones © All rights reserved. CoverNews by AF themes.
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