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I Don't Like Cricket Oh No I Love It
By Steve Agyei
I Don't Like Cricket Oh No I Love It

Good Morning,

It is time for this week's Monday Motivational Beyond Lifestyle Secrets Newsletter.
"I Don't Like Cricket Oh No I Love It."
- 10cc
It's been another great week of training and teaching at DaleyFitness and practicing yoga at The House of Yoga in Putney, combined with lots of meetings about Fit@Fifty. At the age of 50 the combination of training with Daley Thompson and going to yoga classes everyday is having a really positive effect on my fitness, life and energy and I am able to track the progress I am making by taking an InBody 720 Body Composition Analysis Test every week and see the proof is in the pudding with my results. I am also logging and getting fabulous results with my clients, which is remarkable considering the short time we have been open.

On Thursday it was my day off and I got up to do an 8’o’clock yoga class with the crazy, but fabulous John Collins at The House of Yoga in Putney, before heading to Maida Vale to have a meeting about Fit@Fifty, then I jumped on the train to go and play cricket at Hampton School. My friend Paul ‘Leafy’ Burnham used to attend Hampton School and wanted me to come steaming in off my long run up and bowl quick for the Barmy Army cricket team. As much as I was excited about the prospect I also knew and was a little bit worried about how much it was going to hurt and whether my left knee could take it as bowling fast puts a lot of strain on the whole body, particularly the back, shoulder and the amount of pressure put on the left knee is massive.

Paul “Leafy” Burnham, is one of the founding members of the Barmy Army England cricket team supporters. In 1994, Paul travelled to Australia to watch The Ashes. There he met a number of other English supporters who were noted for singing songs, despite England losing. They received a lot of press attention, which was positive in Australia, but negative in Britain. Paul then trademarked the name Barmy Army and created a number of replica shirts, which sold out. After the Ashes, “Leafy” on a part-time basis started running the Barmy Army supplementing his income by working as a bookmaker and writing for cricket magazines. In 1997, he negotiated the Barmy Army's first sponsorship deal with Vodafone to support the Barmy Army's tour of the West Indies. He started working for the Barmy Army full-time in 2002 as the organizer creating a website and travel agency. In 2009 I met “Leafy” and choreographed the Barmy Army’s “Hey, Hey Ricky” video Watch Here.

Paul introduced himself on the video shoot as the leader and founder of the Barmy Army. He was ready to help in anyway but refused to dance a step in the video. Some leader he turned out to be! I then saw Paul for the whole of the 2009 Ashes series, whilst I was working for the ECB. As soon as my daily duties were over, I would go and find Paul, during the tea interval. Inevitably he would be at the Cockspur Rum shack, where I would meet him for an obligatory Rum Ginger mule, before sitting in the Barmy Army ground section, suited and booted singing along, with a stand full of men in fancy dress, watching England beat the Aussies. It was a great summer and we became great friends.

The next year I travelled with the Barmy Army to Australia for the 2010/2011 Ashes winning tour and organised the celebration parties in Melbourne and Sydney for the Barmy Army, which featured appearances by the victorious England team. I also captained the Barmy Army cricket team that played a “Bashes” Series against their Australian counterparts the Fanatics the day before Ashes Test matches.
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
- Benjamin Franklin
On Monday, I decided to focus on preparing my body and knee for playing cricket so I worked on the muscles around my left knee and spent every spare minute in the gym, practicing my bowling action. The other trainers were looking at me strangely and Daley said, "There is not much use preparing the week before the game, shouldn’t you have started a year ago?" He was right I hadn’t played for two years and it was probably another two years before that I had played previously.

Anyway I did my bit and turned up at the Hampton School ground. My body felt tight and my legs were hurting from all the training I had been doing, so I knew bowling was going to hurt, added to that we were playing against a very strong combined team of the Hampton School 1st X1 and Old Boys.

I warmed up for a bit, but my legs still felt very tight and sore. I bit the bullet and ran into bowl, it felt painful but remarkably my first ball was really accurate and was a yorker on middle stump. The next ball was quite good, except I knocked the bail off ala Steve Finn, which meant a free hit for the batsman and then I got absolutely tonked and my first over went for 24 runs which was painful both physically and mentally as Hampton put on a massive 250+ in 20 overs and even with current Hampshire T20 player Owais Shah, who has played regularly in the IPL (Indian Premier League), the Big and Bash and of course England, opening for us and scoring a classy 40 odd before being caught brilliantly, we came nowhere near the oppositions total and were well and truly trounced.

I hate losing even if the game was for charity and was annoyed with myself for my disappointing contribution to my team's effort. But Paul was sensible in only bowling me for a couple of overs as I had to play in a bigger game the next evening, Friday in Horsham with ex Sussex, Derbyshire and England player Chris Adams on our side. I played many times at Horsham when I was younger and playing cricket properly. I last played there 32 years ago when I played and won a six a side tournament which was organised by Pat Knight who was the late father of my friend from Chichester College days Ian Knight. I contacted Ian on Facebook to let him know I was going to be in Horsham and that my best mate David Price was coming to watch, Pricey had also gone to Chichester with Ian and I 32 years ago, so I needed to step up to the plate and use the day before’s failure to spur me on in the game especially with my mates Knighty, Pricey and Simon Tomsett coming to watch.

It had been a real struggle getting out of bed in the morning of the match as my body was feeling stiff from the night before, but I loosened up at work at the gym and then went and bought a new pair of cricket boots, before heading down with Paul “Leafy” Burnham to Horsham. When I got there it brought back many memories and I knew I had to put on a bit of a show, so I went up to the nets, with a couple of old cricket balls, to break in my new boost and practice. I marked out an area of about a metre and a half, just short of a length, with my flip-flops, so I could try to aim to bowl the ball in that area consistently. I bowled off a few paces so as not to wear myself out and probably bowled about 40 bowls until I was confident I could land the ball in the spot six times out of six and then went back to the pavilion to catch up with Pricey and Knighty. It had been at least 20 years since the three of us had seen each other and it was great to see him, catch up and reminisce about our college days.

By the time the game was about to start there was quite a big crowd. We were fielding first so I warmed up and felt much better than the day before, both mentally and physically. I marked out my run up, which is about 20 metres long and then came steaming to bowl, just before my delivery stride my hand hit my knee and knocked the ball out of my hand, as the ball rolled pathetically along the ground, everybody on and off the pitch laughed and the umpire called a dead ball. I laughed at myself with everyone else, picked the ball up and walked back to my mark. I tried to focus on the spot I was going to bowl and then ran in a little smoother this time and in my final delivery stride I let the ball go with all my force, it fizzed down and bounced quite sharply and the batsmen nicked it straight to first slip, who gratefully caught it. I couldn’t believe it I had taken a wicket with the first ball of the match which is a fantastic feeling.

The Horsham team were a good team, but we kept them down to a score below 150 and we got the runs quite comfortably to win with an over to spare. The highlight of our innings was Chris Adam’s going out to open the batting with his daughter, who plays for Sussex women. She looked a very good player and out scored her father. I was pleased with my performance and was offered the chance to represent Sussex Over 50’s, which I will seriously consider. Bowling fast at 50 put’s a hell of a strain on the body, but I don’t just like cricket I love it and with a mixture of training, stretching and yoga I am sure my body and I will be able to cope.

"Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.."
- Dalai Lama
Knighty, Pricey and I catching up at Horsham Cricket Club after 32 years
Knighty, Pricey and I catching up at Horsham Cricket Club after 32 years.

7 Day Action Plan

1. Take up a physical activity you enjoyed when you were younger
2. Make sure you prepare your body properly physically for it
3. Get in touch with friends you used to share this activity with
4. Let me know how you got on
Breathe, Believe and Achieve

Be Happy, Healthy and Wise

Keep on Winning, Smiling and Living The Dream

Keep on Winning, Smiling and Living The Dream


Beyond Lifestyle Secrets - Steve Agyei

Steve Agyei,
Editor - Beyond Lifestyle Secrets
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