Written by Kyle S - RCC U17s
Our correspondent reflects on happy days at Old Deer Park.
Old Deer Park, over the years, it really has become my 2nd home! Every match-day, I travel to the ground with overwhelming excitement in anticipation of the opportunity to represent the club once again. On a typical summers day, the first thing I notice is the glorious sunshine hitting the freshly cut grass of the hallowed turf (all credit to Bharat), that is accompanied by the beautiful backdrop of the golf course and the historic 'Great Pagoda' of Kew Gardens in the distance. This is truly a sight to behold. I wander into the clubhouse; I’m greeted by a number of friendly faces both young and old. Whether that be the ever hospitable bar staff, the loyal veterans or the young cricketers that aspire to be as good as their older siblings, there are always beaming smiles around the club.
My personal highlight of the last few seasons is when RCC hosted Middlesex CCC T20 games at ODP. I found it very inspiring as a young cricketer to watch the likes of Eoin Morgan and AB De Villiers, heroes to so many, going about their business on the pitch as if it’s just another day at the office. I recall the distinct sound of leather on willow of McCullum’s ramp shot that reverberated around the ground on one special day, that made even cricket purists appreciate the innovation of the modern game.
As much as I would like to think that the sun never stops shining over RCC, it does actually rain and the weather can be inclement on occasion. However, does the action ever stop? Absolutely not! Nets are constantly running in almost all weather conditions. Battles in the nets can become fierce and competitive at times; I’ve been on the receiving end of hostile spells where my technique and mental strength has been tested on many occasions. However, this is one of the qualities I’ve come to admire about RCC; you’re always challenged to become better and throughout the year, you’ll be sure to find RCC members actively involved in the sport, somehow, somewhere.
I believe that I speak on behalf of many cricketers when I say that we will all miss playing the game for the majority of this season. I’ll miss the emotional roller coaster of nerves, intertwined with anxiety before going out to bat, and then on the other side of the spectrum, emotions of elation and the heady euphoria of success when raising the bat and taking in well-deserved applause from teammates. I’ll miss the raw passion and burning desire to perform and win at all costs that resonates with all the players on the field. I’ll miss the satisfaction of taking that prized wicket when the game is on the line. These are the moments that we as sportspeople, live for.
But, ultimately, it’s about much more than that. To me, all that I have spoken of here, signifies the strong sense of unity and companionship that this great club always seems to uphold. The strong friendships, the electric atmosphere, the eclectic and occasionally eccentric personalities have all taught me that Richmond Cricket Club is nothing short of a true microcosm of all the great values, the inclusiveness, the camaraderie, the warmth and the competitive spirit that the town itself represents.
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