A Day to Remember - Aneurin Donald
Friday, April 27, 2012
Aneurin Donald's Take on Making his Glamorgan 2nds debut.
"I’d had a mobile phone bill for £150. It was a mistake but we didn’t know that at the time. I was forbidden to use my phone until it was sorted. I’m lucky enough to be part of the Glamorgan Academy and Richard Almond who runs it communicates with us directly. We’d been training with the second team during the Easter holidays and I convinced my Dad to let me turn it on – just to collect messages. There was a text from Richard, and I opened it, expecting it to talk about training times or 1 to 1 sessions. There it was, and I can still imagine it now. Ten words. The text almost merged onto the white background. I read it again, just in case I had it wrong. “Do you want to play for the Seconds next week?”
"We got to the Services at Cardiff West a little early, so I was playing Frisbee in the car park when Richard Almond turned up in his familiar Blue Qashqai. You know how tough it is to pack for a game. We were staying in Leicester the night before the game, a three-dayer at Ratcliffe College against Leicestershire 2nds. I had my cricket bag, although I’d taken a duffle bag instead of my usual massive wheelie. I had a kit bag full of whites and training gear, and a rucksack with all my other stuff. Did I have too much stuff? My nerves were settled when Richard remarked on how light I was travelling.
"I didn’t really know where we were going. Once I’d checked that Richard was serious, that I was allowed to play (and got the three days off school past my parents!) and where and when to meet, I hadn’t gone into details such as where we would be staying. I was delighted after the three hour journey to see a large illuminated “Hilton” sign.
"I was to room with Mike O’Shea, a batting and off spinning all-rounder who has played a number of games for the 1st XI and England u19’s and a genuinely top bloke. Where to eat in a strange town? Nandos! After some serious amounts of chicken, it was off to bed.
I slept well, no dodgy dreams of first ball ducks or even glorious visions of raising my bat to the cheering assembled crowds. Just a good night’s kip. After a sensible breakfast (all the contracted players had cereal, beans and scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast, yoghurt and fruit – not a full English in sight) we travelled to the ground.
"Ratcliffe College has its own entrance off a dual carriageway. It’s impressive (although the golf course was only par 3!) and the facilities were first class, and the wicket…….was covered! The last two days rain meant a delay. After much hanging around, and a morning shooting some hoops in the sports hall, during the early lunch, we finally were given the nod for a 2pm start. We started with a warm up of touch rugby and then went through our stretching routines and fielding drills. Nick James, skipper for the day, lost the toss and told us we were to bat. Richard sat us on the outfield and went through the order. “Dan and Jamo to open, Mike 3, Lloydy 4, Cooky 5, Nye 6”……….and I didn’t really hear the rest.
"I’d been given a Glamorgan Shirt and Jumper and took them out of the packet to put on. They looked very clean, very new and the Daffodil looked almost brilliant yellow. I then wondered if I should stay in my shorts and hoody and look casual, or get dressed and risk looking too keen. I split the difference and put my shirt and jumper on but stayed in my shorts! Dan Roberts was out first with the score on 8 and Nick James and Mike O’Shea took us to 51 before David Lloyd joined James and they advanced us to 89 when Lloydy fell and Chris Cooke marched out. Time for the pads! My heart raced at first as I got all my stuff on. I was hoping not to hear an appeal and not be ready and have to rush out in a fluster. Chris Cooke and Nick James were batting well, with Nick reaching his 50 and the two pros playing sensibly on a bowler friendly track.
"Leicestershire had 3 bowlers on trial. Sheikh who played for Derby last year, Hindmarch who was with Durham and a local bowler Freckingham. As they were playing for a contract, they were rather keen on a wicket that was seaming and with a swinging ball. I watched from the players balcony on the roof above the changing rooms (said it was a nice school) and felt strangely calm.
Nick James had been playing well and I was a little surprised when he was out for 60 with our score on 124 in the 33rd over. I picked up my bat, gloves and helmet and ran down the stairs, and then out onto the field. I passed Nick – we didn’t talk and was met by Chris Cooke at the wicket. “Good luck” he said. “Just watch the ball”. We tapped gloves and I went down to my end to take guard, receiving a little welcome form the Leicestershire boys. “Two please” I asked, scratched my mark on the wicket and glanced round to check where the fielders were. I felt strangely calm and wasn’t panicking or alarmed at all. I knew there was no pressure or expectations and was just happy to face up and do my best.
"Freckingham loped in, buoyed by his recent wicket and bowled a decent ball, just back of a length, just outside off stump. I went onto the front foot, played a forward defensive, and edged the ball to Kadeer Ali at gully, veteran of 100 games for Worcester. As he dived full length to his right, the ball died and he spilled it. Phew!
"After that, I left a few and began to settle down. An easy clip of my hip from the pacey Sheikh brought me my first run and the longer I stayed, the better and more confident I felt and just began to live the moment. Chris Cooke departed in the 41st over and I was joined by Dion Holden. We managed to see the seamers off when the off spinner Sykes began to warm up to bowl the 46th over. He sent one down, a little short so I thought I’d go back, watch the spin and see what happens. It didn’t bounce. The ball hit me so low I bent over double and began to walk off, it was so plumb. I heard the appeals and didn’t wait around for what was in store for me from the umpire.
"I’d scored 15 off 36 balls and was out there for 55 mins. It seemed like 10 minutes! And that was pretty much my contribution for the whole three days, the last two of which were rained off.
"A brilliant and wonderful experience, around one hell of a dressing room!"
Aneurin Donald, April 2012