Ducks, Celebrations and Too Many Drinks

Collecting back to back Duck awards! A joint winner this year, and less ducks than last year, that’s progress right?

A free bar and another duck award resulted in a surprisingly good, if not longer than expected night in early November. Our annual awards dinner, in celebration of the clubs 90th anniversary, was an important milestone in the club and for me.

These events are not my natural habitat, they still feel foreign to me, I can feel a strong sense of loneliness creep up on me as I get lost in a crowd. The over-stimulation and yet total lack of personal stimulation and engagement can be such a contrast. Feeling I have no time to think yet having too much time to think is so complicated and leads to internal battles in my mind. I never really get used to it. It feels like I am floating by the edge of the room, not really seeing or hearing anything. But this year felt a bit different, I felt more relaxed, more engaged, more at home.

This awards dinner was the first one my long suffering cricket widow partner attended. This was a big step for him and while it meant a lot to me I knew it wasn’t the easiest thing for him to do, despite having attended a few club functions and having gotten to know some of my teammates over the last couple of years. The good news is I think he actually enjoyed himself! I was surprised at just how many people he knew and he spent time talking to some people I’ve not had a chance to talk to much in my five years at the club. This felt natural and was so encouraging. We all had a few too many drinks and the following day was quite sedate as a result, but no regrets, it was a good night and was a great way to celebrate our clubs 90th anniversary.

As described in the article below inclusion is great but belonging is what counts. It is belonging that makes such a profound difference. Belonging is a journey and a two way street. It takes time; things have come a long way though.

Season 2019 was pretty disappointing for me personally. In fact, looking at the statistics it was my worst season at the club with the bat — not a great thing to say as an opener. I comfortably ‘beat’ my early seasons at the club where I batted down the order and bowled many more overs (and took some wickets!). I only managed three wickets this year but I didn’t bowl much at all until the final few weeks of the season. The quirky fact for the season; my three wickets were all LBW’s. Bowling wicket to wicket can really pay off.

Some of my teammates and their partners at the drinks prior to the dinner

But enough of the cricket geek talk. Despite the disappointments there have been some good things this season. Firstly, as a club we moved to our new second ground and I was lucky enough to score the first runs off the bat at the ground for the club. A signature punch through mid-wicket for two….only to be run out taking a suicidal second when I made eight! That triggered a nice sequence of run outs over the coming weeks. My brain just about found a way back into the right gears by the end of the season. Other highlights? Being approached to take part in the Sky Sports and Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign was a huge honour and privilege.

As a team the third eleven had their best season in a few years, largely remaining competitive throughout the season. We also had a number of younger players make the step up to the world of adult cricket. Hopefully they continue on next season. Although I didn’t contribute it was great to see our Sunday 1st XI make T20 finals day in September. Despite losing our semi-final it was a great achievement for the club.

Next season feels a long way away, looking out over grey November skies. It can’t come quickly enough. But in the meantime I need to improve my fitness and sort my injuries out — they still plague me many months down the line. A fitter body and mind can really help me get some consistency and form back next season.

Now it is onward to Christmas and the New Year. Time to tackle those grey skies, rain and find a way through this winter.

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Reflections on LGBTQ+ life and experiences playing club cricket in England — the only Aussie + gay cricketer at the club! Contact: lachlantsmith@gmail.com

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Lachlan Smith

Lachlan Smith

Reflections on LGBTQ+ life and experiences playing club cricket in England — the only Aussie + gay cricketer at the club! Contact: lachlantsmith@gmail.com

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