Day 2 of Blez week – here’s questions 6 to 10.
- From 1992 to 2000 you were almost always Lowerhouse’s top batsman without quite reaching the dizzy heights of ’90-’91. You passed 700 in 1996 and 1999 but had relatively poor seasons in 1994 and especially 1998. How do you assess your game during this period?
The general aim for each season, on a personal level, was to pass 500 runs and contribute to winning as many games as possible. The ups and downs of the season totals were due to the obvious intangibles; form, weather, team performance and pro contribution (I think that most amateur aggregates improve if you are batting alongside a talented batsmen.) The 1998 season with the rule changes and poor weather was a dreadful season both technically and mentally, being left with no chance of winning, but being able to draw did not sit very well with our cricketing outlook. At these times it was also difficult to work on batting technique during the week due to the practice facilities, perhaps as a team our fielding was much better in those days because that was all we could concentrate on, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Your nephew has become Lowerhouse captain in 2017 and as something of the born leader about him. Many assumed that you would become the captain but you never did. What is the story there and did you make it plain that it just wasn’t a job you would ever fancy?
I was vice-captain for a number of years under Jez and captained a few times but never really got a great deal of pleasure out of it and as I mentioned earlier I had tendency to let it affect my own performance, my concentration wavered and would second guess my thoughts whilst batting. As a result I didn’t think being captain would have good for the club or my own performance.
- You bowled a little for Lowerhouse mainly in the 1990’s. There is surely an anomaly that you were good enough to take 5-31 twice but only got 28 League wickets in total. Do you think you could and should have bowled more at this time?
I enjoyed bowling as a youngster but as I moved through the age groups and representative teams I started to bowl less frequently and the same happened when I played in first team, apart from the genuine star all-rounders most people tended to be one or the other. We also had a glut of right arm medium paced outswing bowlers. On my day I could bowl some useful spells, but I lacked the consistency, perhaps due to a combination of limited opportunity and desire. Maybe I should have developed some Jarra style off spin and contributed a few more overs.
- We’ll leave the 1990’s with a look at the eventful 1997 season. Jez Hope has stated rightly that he was shocked at the poor standard of Corrie Jordaan’s batting and fielding. His brother Matt said eventually you could work out Corrie’s dangerous arm ball. It’s interesting that he bowled the same number of overs for Rishton in 1998 as he did in ’97 for the ‘House but took 21 wickets less(79 down from 100) My own view was that there was a one year window of opportunity for Jordaan to be a Lancashire League winning pro’ and that was 1997. I think because of personal difficulties between the pro’ and amateurs and a lack of self-belief generally, right down to the last game when Lowerhouse had a more than feasible chance of getting it’s first silverware, Lowerhouse wasted an opportunity in 1997. Now 20 years on Chris what is your take on that controversial year?
I could never pick his alternate delivery as he bowled so infrequently in the nets and when he did they were usually like cobbled backstreets. Matt and Chippy at slip and wicket keeper, had a good opportunity to see him and both picked him but he was still difficult to play. His batting could have been more effective if he played to his strengths, limited as they were, but he tried to either slog or block. His fielding……………not good.
All the fight had been knocked out of the side by the last half dozen games, the wickets we played on at home had become intentionally poor and we rarely scored over a hundred in any innings during the second half of the season. Corrie bowled 23 overs every week and Matt/Jez generally bowled the majority of the remainder. The rest of the players were just making no contributions due to limited opportunity and form. By the time of the last game I don’t think anybody thought that if we won the game we had a chance for the league, we were playing for The Holland Cup in our minds. But as soon as he achieved his 100th wicket Corrie just went through the motions, played the victim and blamed the ultimate defeat on the rest of us.
The fallout from the schism was really disappointing, we lost some very passionate and dedicated members and all because Corrie told a version of events that only he recognised as the truth.
- You had a great season in 2001 scoring over 800 runs at 54 and passed that with 818 runs in 2003. You were clearly back to your peak standards. Of your great seasons of 1990, 1991, 2001 and 2003 which one would you say was the one where you were at your absolute peak? Were there any differences in batting style, scoring areas etc. between the early two years and the latter two?
Having Martin van Jaarsveld as pro, in 1999-2000, really helped me with the technical side of the game. We put in hours of practice into throw downs and discussed who we were playing and how we would approach different situations. I think he was the first pro to really discuss the mental approach to batting and it really helped me with my preparation and positivity. I don’t feel that there was much difference in the way I played from earlier in my career but I was definitely more confident and mature which meant I could make bigger scores more regularly. The second half of the 2001 season was probably the greatest run of consistently high scores ever but the 2003 season was probably the most enjoyable. Playing cricket with Ryan was an absolute pleasure from start to premature finish, he was combative, dynamic and a fantastic teammate (and he gave me the bat I used during the 2004 season).