My Grandmother was a product of the early 20th century, and was renowned in our family for her “wise old sayings”. My own children will confirm these were often repeated in our home as they grew up, and many have thus passed down another generation.

“A stitch in time saves nine” – but who stitches anything these “Primark” days!

“Better Safe than Sorry!” – the forerunner of the Health and Safety Executive!

“A Bird in the Hand is worth two in the bush”, “Charity begins at Home!”, “Blood is thicker than water”, There’s no point crying over spilt milk”, “Like father like son!”, “You may as well be hung for a sheep as a Lamb!”.

“Spare the rod and spoil the Child” – Shock Horror! – ring for the Welfare Officer and Social Services!!

“You’re only as young as the woman you feel” – or have I got that one wrong?

I have been specifically reminded of several of the old sayings in these first few weeks of the Cricket season when our Club has limped, rather than burst, into life in terms of player availability. Despite the herculean and laudable efforts of last years new skipper Lloyd Bowman, some of us have at times debated whether we really have the depth of playing numbers to operate a Saturday League 4th Xl. Lloyd went well above and beyond the call of duty to get together the teams to meet last years fixtures and not only that – he managed to win the 4th Xl League with them!!

Ultimately the prevailing wisdom was that we do have the numbers, and it was also stressed by some what an important outlet and breeding ground the 4th Xl is for developing young players who are being introduced into adult Cricket. So we entered a 4th Xl in the Saturday League once again. However, poor availability, particularly of the younger players, in the early days of this season has left both our 3rd and 4th Xl’s struggling, and both played with only 10 men last weekend!

Apparently “Exams” of all levels are to blame!

Whether it’s SATS, GCSE’s, A/S’s or “A” Levels there are apparently not enough hours in the week to accommodate both adequate revision and a sporting outlet on a Saturday afternoon.

School days do seem rather shorter now than they were in my day, and certainly bed-times seem much later! However, despite all the extra available study time the period between 1 and 7pm on Saturday is the real prime revision time.

Sensible and keen young Cricketers might negotiate and agree a “trade off” with concerned parents offering more intensive post-school, midweek, and Sunday studying, to thus permit some down-time, exercise and sporting relaxation on a Saturday afternoon? Such a compromise was operated and worked successfully in my household with two keen Cricketers who also performed well academically.

Some might say study/sport time is of significant importance?
Some might say too much last minute cramming stifles and confuses?

As Granny might have said, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”.

The fact is that poor availability to date has turned some potential match wins into draws, and draws into losses. The problem really manifests itself at the bottom of the pile with 3rd and 4th Xl’s struggling more than they ought to given our listed membership.

In several weeks time when availability improves, and selection problems are of a different nature, we might find selectors reflect on a different saying, “Possession is nine tenths of the law!”

Too many “Jacks” in Reed at the moment!

Hopefully those that do play will prove – “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”.


(This Occasional column is written by John Heslam Club Chairman of Reed Cricket Club. The views expressed in the article are his own and do not necessarily comprise those of the Clubs General Committee)