I was a bit scared to wake up to find out what state my legs were in this morning. I knew that I had pushed myself too far the day before and was worried that I’d be punished with sore legs. However they were no more complaining than usual although, again I was suffering from a lack of sleep thanks to the one eyed feline dementor. On auto pilot, I kitted myself up, downed my coffee and swapped the roads for the trails for some variety to try to inject some joy into the ride.
It was half and half roads/trails for this morning. Gone was the malaise of yesterday as I plotted master15’s cricket victory for the evening. I have been their coach since they started at the club in the 5 year old group and now they’re mostly 15/16. Through the years I have tried to nurture their love for the game in the hope that at least half of them go on to play senior cricket of some standard. It’s fair to say that they’re not great results wise although we’ve had our highlights both on and off the field. A quarter final 3 years ago, a semi final the next year the best performances although what I love about them is their positive attitude to being perennial losers against better teams. And that’s what we were faced with this evening. Being a “friendly” against a better resourced, coached and talented local rival, we would need all the luck that we could get. Win the toss, bat first, put some runs on the board and choke the oppo with tight bowling was the plan. I know some of the oppo players, some of whom play senior cricket already to a good standard and have played age group for the County for years. In short, they are quite good so I was kind of hoping that they wouldn’t be available and if they were, their super confidence and their ego would get the better of them. If the boys restricted their scoring and they would get themselves out. It was a perfect plan, if the boys could execute their skills to the best of their ability.
Deep in these thoughts, the morning ride flew by without the drudgery of yesterday. The air was thick with humidity when I started out but the fine drizzle coated me with cooling moisture to keep me comfortable. It was awesome to hit the trails intermittently and the traffic on the main roads was light. A complete contrast to yesterday’s “are we nearly there yet?” ride.
I could have worked from home as all I had was admin but I got it done by lunch time and escaped work after scoffing some food. I had an errand to run for lagers along with curry tonight and while I could have got them anywhere, chose a truncated way, avoiding main roads. The day had brightened, the wind light and I had time to kill so I ambled along bridleways and byeways, passing through Hunsdon airfield, stoked to be out in the opportunity offered to me by an early finish and the fair weather of summer. Mrs B2W was away with master12 for a couple of nights and Master15 had taken his bike for a ride into town to hang out with a friend. I think/hope that he is getting the freedom offered by cycling concept as he has been out on it a bit over the last couple of weeks.
I was ready for a rest after 20km once I hit the burbs of Stortford. The new driver danger that I’ve noticed is them taking off the face covering while moving, swerving this way and that. At least it takes them away from their phone momentarily. Today is the first day that it is mandatory to wear them in shops in England. I didn’t have one so had to buy a pack of 10 for £5 or face a potential £100 fine. User pays…for the catastrophic bungling and incompetence of our leaders.
I kept the off road theme linking up to the Flitch and home, resisting the urge to stop for a snack. I arrived to an enthusiastic reception from the dog who was only too willing to lap the sweat from my bald pate. I had every intention of taking her out for walkies in return but had a badly needed nap instead, drifting off to the tones of the 3rd Test TMS commentary. I took her out for a quick 10 minutes before heading off for the evenings local showdown.
We won the toss and batted 1st. Things were coming together nicely I thought. And then I noticed the oppo. A couple of County reps, one of whom had defected from us to them meant that we would have to rely a lot on them playing poorly and us at our best. For their first outing, the boys played well but not their best, being a bit slow in scoring. The oppo did play near their best giving us nothing. We came a distant 2nd in a two horse race and left with our tails firmly between our collective legs. In all my 18 years of playing and coaching 3 age group teams at my club, I have tasted victory exactly once a very long time ago. Sometimes you just can’t compete against focused talent, better resources and infrastructure.
Master15 and I eventually found the correct curry house that I phoned the order through to-they have 2 branches. We finished off our day with chicken tikka jalfrezi, chicken andhra, bhajis, palak paneer and naan and while he was on the xBox playing with his remote brother, I sat back with my lager watching the Test highlights. Riding a bike, cricket, curry and lager- a great way to spend the last day of the working week.