Club: Oxford University Cricket Club
College: St. John's
Degree: 2nd Year Maths
How are preparations for the summer of cricket coming on?
Being a summer sport, the training at the moment isn't too strenuous. We have a weekly squad session at the indoor school at Iffley, which is always a good laugh, and the odd individual session as well, but it's not until next term that we'll get onto the Parks.
Are you excited about it?
Yeah definitely. There were a couple of well-attended fresher trials in Michaelmas, and it seems like we've got a really good intake this year. Add that to the fact that nearly all of last year's Blues are around again this year, and we look to have a really promising squad for the summer.
What was it like playing at Lord's last summer? Are you hoping to do the same this year?
Without wanting to wheel out a load of cliches, playing at Lord's is something any cricketer wants to do. More than anything, it was just a really good day out! Playing in front of a thousand or so people, or whatever it was, was a little bit different to an old man and his dog, which is usually your standard crowd back home. It was a massive privilege for us to use the sort of facilities you normally only get to see on TV. Obviously it would be great to get the chance to play there again, but, as with everyone in the squad, it's just a case of working hard this term and performing well when the games do come around in Trinity.
What was your best performance in Blues cricket last year?
Well to be honest I didn't really have much to do, so I'd have to say my best performance was polishing off the potato soup, Thai chicken curry, then cheesecake during the lunch interval in the one-day Varsity match at Lord's. Being such a prestigious establishment, we were all hyping up the catering prior to the lunch break, and it certainly didn't disappoint. Either that or, in the words of our coach, "showing a bit of true Yorkshire grit" on my way to scoring a very dull but determined twenty-odd not out in our low scoring first innings in the four day Varsity match in Cambridge.
Do you play much college cricket?
Apparently St John's left the college league a few years ago, and since then have established links with a number of Old Boys and touring sides who have some, usually very tenuous, connection to the college. I think the college team plays about fifteen of these games each season, plus Cuppers, and I played a fair number of those last year. They are a good opportunity to get some practice in a fairly low-pressure environment, and you can usually rely on the Old Boys teams to offer you a few big scores and post-match free formal halls in equal measure.
What level did you play at before university? Are you hoping to carry on afterwards?
Before I came to university I'd lived in Yorkshire all my life, so I played all of my junior cricket in the Yorkshire leagues. I played a bit of age-group cricket for a few regional sides and as I got older I played a couple of seasons of open-age league representative cricket, but certainly never got anywhere near Lord's until I came to Oxford! I've played for the same club back home since I was about ten, so after university I'll definitely be turning out every Saturday at Field Lane (Wakefield's more glamorous version of Lord's) for them.
Who's the best cricketer you've ever played with?
Is there a particular player you admire, or would compare yourself to?
Geoffrey Boycott, for being an arrogant, self-centred egotistical Yorkshireman.
Do you sledge much on the pitch?
Not so much in Oxford…I'm not sure the more educated types really understand my particular brand of humour, so I tend to leave most of it to the more eloquent and lyrical members of the side.
What's the best piece of sledging you've ever heard in university sport?
What happens on the pitch stays on the pitch!
Who has the best banter on your team?
I don't know about 'best', but for 'scary and distributingly brilliant' banter it's definitely James Macadam. In the Varsity match last year we had a former Test Match umpire in charge: someone you'd think could handle most of the hot air and crap chat that comes with a big game of cricket. Macca was fielding next to him and after about ten minutes of his chat, the umpire walked halfway across the ground, mumbling and grumbling, to watch from a different, safer position.
What does it feel like to see your name in Wisden?
Obviously very proud, particularly as it ought to silence my dad's claim to being the only cricketer in his family to get his name in Wisden (but only as one amongst thousands in the school cricket section!). Hopefully there will be a repeat this year!