Richard, first of all many congratulations on your recent coaching award from Middlesex. Were you taken completely by surprise ?


Thank s – in my eyes the Award was for what we have achieved together at North Mid over the last 10 years.  Hopefully there is more to come yet!  I though it odd when Doug Teesdale showed up but the real shock came when Susie and Steve Nurse sneaked into the  room just before the presentation.  Had no idea they were going – almost ‘This is your Life’!


Tell us how you first became involved with the Midd, and what your role was in those early years?


Around 1998, a friend and fellow cricketer called Sandy Schofield suggested we bring Tom and Will (then aged 7/8) to a Midd Colts’ session.  They loved the place from Day 1, so with encouragement from my predecessor Paul Bell, I mucked in with the coaching and went on to do Courses so I could manage a team.  I started with the Under 11s and an early highlight was working alongside Brian Lake when we won the Indoor League.


Roughly how many Colts did we have in those days? Which ones stand out in the memory – and do you know where they are now?


Back then the Colts were well established and brilliantly organized by Paul and Caroline Bell.  My guess is that we had around 100.  Some of the strongest players from those days like Jake Sharland,  Freddie  Barrass, Taha Ansari, Josh Bicknell and later Will Vanderspar have left but others including Alex Hill, Adam Holmes, Doris Day, and Nick Brand remain.


When did you take over as Colts Secretary, and what were your priorities?


In 2003.  A key priority was to improve integration between the Colts and Senior Sections.  My impression then was that these Sections were separate and didn’t talk to each other much.  Another was to try to boost the number of qualified Coaches so we could increase the numbers of Colts and the quality of our coaching.  The objective was to see more Colts progressing into the Senior teams and to involve more Senior players more in the coaching and running of the Colts.


Can you give us some of the highlights of your time at the Midd?


Some specific achievements by our Colts’ Section stand out – winning the Victor Ludorum for being top Colts’ Section in Middlesex, Steve and Mark’s wonderful team winning the National Under 13 Cup in 2005, Mike Harris’ achievement in setting up and growing our Girls Section, establishing our own Academy and its subsequent evolution,  seeing ex Colts’ play a key role in the First XI’s promotion to the Premier League in 2013, also winning the Middlesex Development League in 2013 and many more.  However, the overriding highlight for me has been to experience so many gifted and committed people working together to enhance our facilities and provide our Colts and Senior members with the chance to play, compete and improve.


Playing competitive cricket in a team of committed people of different generations and from different ethnic and religious backgrounds and income brackets is a joy in itself. I have been lucky to be part of  a couple of exceptional Midd teams – our Second XI who won 8 league games in a row around 2008 and our 4th XI  who won six consecutive promotions between 2007 and 2013.  It has also been fun helping talented Colts to find their feet in Adult cricket before moving up to higher teams.  Batting with Pistol Pete when we both scored centuries was pretty good as well.


NMCC’s selection as an ACME club underlines how far the club has come over recent years in terms of organization and integration of Colts and Seniors. What do you think we could still be doing better, and how do we get there?

Like most Clubs we lose talented young players in the 16 to 18 age bracket.  The challenge for us is to ensure that the playing and social ethos at the Midd is strong enough to inspire these players to return after University and to carry on playing as their careers are developing.  The League may have a part to play in shortening match format.  As a Club we need to make sure that the whole Saturday experience is one of quality which young players want to repeat week on week.


Finally, how on earth does Susie put up with it all?!


Susie is a star and does a mass of unsung but vital work behind the scenes.  Luckily she loves cricket and cricketers.  She was indoctrinated from an early age by watching the victorious Lancashire side back in the early ’70s with Jack Bond, Clive Lloyd, Faroukh Engineer et al and has never looked back.


Finally, finally, what news from our 1s skipper Down Under?


Better to ask Millsy who has the photographs!  Hear Tom is loving it on all fronts and playing some decent cricket for Hamwicks who recently beat Evo’s team and arch rivals Merewether.  He is staying with Sammy Webber who has laid down some house rules which is more than we managed in 24 years!  Latest is that Tom has been selected to play for MCC on the SCG on the day after the Sydney Test.  Too good to miss so Susie and I are going to watch.  Mr Carr has asked me to pack a small urn and some heart and spirit for the England team in my bag.  No idea what he is on about.

As one of the tallest men around, Mike is difficult to miss…but where did he come from, and what persuaded him to throw in his lot so wholeheartedly with the Midd??? Read on…


Mike, a slightly belated but very warm welcome to the Midd. To kick off, could you talk a bit about your coaching background and qualifications, previous roles, and current “day job” with Middlesex?


Thanks for the welcome, I’m certainly enjoying my time at the Midd! I started coaching like most people do; at their local club. Mine was Blackheath CC and I had the pleasure of working under Kent and Blackheath legend Chris Swadkin who advanced me through an ECB Level 2 course. From there things moved pretty quickly. Having decided that full time coaching was the career I wanted to pursue I left Arsenal Football Club where I was working in the Commercial Department and took a post in Tower Hamlets as Cricket Development Manager in 2009.  12 months later and I was Level 3 qualified, had two National Coaching awards and was working part time for Middlesex! Now, four years later, I’m full time with Middlesex as the Regional Head Coach for the Central Region which of course encompasses North Middlesex as a Haringey Club. My role here is to further the player pathway, as well as looking after aspects of junior participation and schools delivery for the same region for the Middlesex Cricket Board.


Tell us about your playing career before injury sidelined you.


I had a somewhat unusual route into cricket. Having not played any cricket until the age of 18 I stumbled across Blackheath CC having gone to meet a mate for a pint (no surprise there I hear you say!) but ended up having a net! Again, things moved quickly and before I knew it I was skippering sides, moving colts through the system and involved with Kent. In many respects I’ve completed my career in reverse; starting at the top and now working my way back into things after a lengthily lay off.


Any chance of you being able to play regularly  next year – hopefully for the 1s in the Premier League?


I’m hoping to be back in the game next year. I’m itching to get back involved and am starting to ramp up training ahead of the winters activities with ECB Indoor Cricket. I’m probably hitting 500+ balls a week but simply can’t bowl. With surgery due in September I’m hoping to be fighting fit and proving myself all over again for the Midd next season.



You can usually be spotted doing something at the Midd, be it coaching, helping Oz with the ground or simply talking cricket. What made you adopt The Midd as your club having moved into this part of London?


I was once told that “when i was ready to progress, progression would be waiting for me”. At the time I thought it was a jazz line spoken by a know it all business man. But in essence it is what happened at North Middlesex. I was ready to get hands on at a Middlesex club having made the move north of the river and North Middlesex were keen to progress the colts setup and seniors alike. I guess it was good timing all round. That said, the whole atmosphere at the club has been fantastic and when that is the case you are naturally inclined to do more!


Are you a fan of the new MDL competition, and how far do you think the Midd can go?


I used to captain Blackheath in the Kent Cricket version of this league and found it to be an excellent way of transitioning younger players through to the 1st XI. Being that this is the sole outcome of the Academy programme it is a fantastic benchmarking exercise against that goal for those younger players and will help a) build their knowledge of the challenges of 1st XI cricket and b) allow us to help identify the winter Academy squad; with the numbers being cut almost in half to promote the key objective and quality coaching


NMCC have just been awarded ACME status as a club, and you were helpful in guiding our Application. What exactly does being an ACME club mean?


The way that Middlesex Cricket engages with clubs is changing. ACME is many ways is similar to the Focus Club idea of yester year but is also a step up. We will be given specific, 1-1, help by specialists to deliver our own identified goals. The ACME model is designed for “best in class” clubs to receive “best in industry” support. It is fantastic news that we have been able to attain this status and is a reflection on the hard work of the committee over the past few years.


And finally, will the 1s finally get promoted this year????


We are in good shape; certainly amongst the most talented sides in the league on paper. With a little application and a few results over the middle period of the season I’d be looking to crack the champagne come September! 



North Midd’s  Overseas player for 2013 arrived in London on April 22nd. We thought you might like to know a little about him.


How did you hear about the mighty North Midd, and what made you decide to join us for the coming season?


I got a heads up from my old school friend Evan Flowers! He’s actually hit me up a few times about coming to the Midd, but this year things just fell into place.


Where do you play your club cricket in Australia, and what is your main role in the team?


I’ve been playing in Newcastle for the last 14 years. I trundle in and bowl a few swingers and float around in the middle order hitting the ball as far as I can.


What sort of a season have you  had with bat and ball?


We’ve had an on and off season due to some pretty bad weather. I think I took 40 odd wickets at about 10 and scored 400 runs at about 45.


Do you have any experience of playing in England?


Yeah, I played a season in Staines and Laleham which was unreal! Unfortunately, though, I never did catch up with Ali G and the West Staines Massive.


As you will have heard, NMCC has a large and enthusiastic Colts section. Are you looking forward to helping to coach the next generation of  North Midd stars?


I’ve heard heaps about the kids coming through. Sounds like you guys have a bunch of budding cricketers. I’m looking forward to getting to meet them all and hopefully share some of my (limited) wisdom. I’ve got a primary teaching degree and love working with kids. I’ve been involved with the juniors at our club for over 10 years, and now some of those kids are playing 1’s with us which is fantastic!


Will you also be available for private “one to one” coaching sessions?


Of course! That would provide a great opportunity to iron out some technicalities and work on some little faults. Plus it will keep me busy and out of trouble!


What are you most looking forward to seeing and doing in  London apart from playing cricket?


Sunbaking in my Speedo’s in Hyde Park. I’ve heard everyone does it! Hopefully it will be on a day that Pippa Middleton is also laying around in her bikini….


A certain Shaun Burgess has started appearing at our nets sessions and is in fact highly visible almost everywhere! He claims to know you. What can you tell us about him?


A gentleman never tells! I’ve known Shaun for about 10 years, and we’ve had a lot of  fun. I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time with him and Ev this Summer. I’m sure there will be plenty of good times!!


Sam, thanks very much for your time. We hope you have a really enjoyable and successful time with us.

Former NMCC Colt of the Year Tom Nicoll was recently elected 1s skipper for the coming season.


Many congratulations , Tom. It must seem a long time since you  started off as a young Colt at the Midd. What memories of those days stand out in your memory?


Is a difficult one but winning the slip trios at Lords aged 10 was a cracking day! Quality game but sadly doesn’t happen anymore. I think the photos up in the clubhouse somewhere. Also putting on 240 runs with David Reid for the 7th wicket partnership in the 1s at 13.


When you were 16 you joined Brondesbury for a 4 years, before returning to Park Road in 2012. How did you enjoy Brondesbury, and what made you decide to “come home”?


I learnt a lot playing for Brondesbury in the Premier league. You have to very disciplined so as a leg spinner it was difficult at first. North Midd will always be the home of cricket and is where my family is involved, so it was only a matter of time really.


Has the club changed much since you left in 2006?


When I left there was only 3 mens league teams with both 1s and 2s in div 3 and the 3s in div 2. There were also only 162 colts. Now the 2s, 3s are all in the top divisons with the 1s pushing to get there as well. The 4s have been promoted out of the 1987 league into the county league and there is now a 5th team which plays in the 1987 league. The colts section has also grown to 245, with the addition of 24 girls. I think that speaks for itself.


At 23 you must be one of the youngest captains in the Middlesex League. What experience do you have as a skipper?


I captained Middlesex Colts from age 9-19 and school teams, but it’s my first experience in adult league cricket. I’m very lucky to have ex captains in the team to be able to support me.


From what you have seen in the indoor nets and from your contact with players during the winter, how do you think things are shaping up across the senior teams for the new season?


We have been lucky to accumulate some new talents to reinforce all our teams. They as well as the regulars have been attending nets and are all looking strong for the season. We also have an exceptional group of ex colts moving into the seniors this year.


Do you think we have the talent and strength in depth to enable both the 1s to get promoted (at last) and the 2s to cement their position in the top league after last year’s promotion?


Being so close last season for the 1s, the addition of our highly rated overseas will I’m sure get us in that top 2. There has been more fine players attending winter net sessions, so the 2s will be fine in the top flight.


Poor availability , last minute call-offs and poor attendance at training have been an unfortunate feature of life at the Midd for years. What can we do to change the culture for the better?


Availability is key to be a successful league team. It is important to know that if one player pulls out, it affects all the teams below as his place has to be filled.


Sam Webber will be arriving soon from Australia to be our Overseas player this year. What do you expect him to bring to the 1s?


He has proven to be a dangerous, fast opening bowler in Australian first grade cricket. 183 wickets in the last 4 seasons is almost unbelievable and he is also a fast scoring middle order batsman. It’s a mouth watering prospect.


And finally, what all this about a North Midd Triathlon???????


Haha, the most prestigious trophy in league cricket. My memory’s a bit fuzzy but darts, pool and spinning around stumps in quick succession. A big shout out to Sanka, who I think is still trying to finish.


Thanks a lot Tom, and all the very best for the coming season.

It’s a very warm welcome to the newest team captain at NMCC – Marcus Swales…



The 5s seem to be shaping up well this year, their first in the 1987 league…


 Yes - the guys have acquitted themselves really well.  Currently lying second in the league - just hope we can keep it going.



How does it compare to playing ‘arranged’ matches like the last few seasons?


 So much better.  More competitive and higher quality cricket.  Everybody likes winning, but in a league the competition brings an added element to each game.


It must be great to call on some experienced heads like Steve Edwards to complement the ‘youthful’ selection policy?


 Yes - there are a few of us around.  Steve's been great, throwing himself around behind the stumps like a kid who's had too much cake - i can't remember a bye when he's had the gloves.  Don't call him for a quick single though!


Take us through your selection criteria…Any truth to the rumour that it concludes on a Saturday morning by rounding up anybody in the nets in white?


 We have picked up one or two on Saturdays, but certainly an improvement on last season when it was half the team.  Selection-wise things are getting much more bedded down.  But, yes, if you're in the vicinity of park road 11.00 on a Saturday wearing anything white there's always a risk you'll be bundled into the back of a Land Rover and find yourself at Peter May sports centre before you can say 'prior engagement'.


How’s your own form?


 OK - got a few runs and 4 wickets time before last.  Turning the ball more in my second season as an offie so its all good.  But being a bowler and skipper -kind of messes with the mind.....


How did you come to be involved at the Midd?


 My son started in the colts and I thought why not try and make a come back myself - probably had not played in 15 years.  First game was with you over at Douglas Eyre - think some silly aussie bowled about 20 overs straight - i couldn't bowl because i'd been netting so hard my shoulder had seized - made a number of good stops in the covers though.  Goes without saying it was the 4th XI so we won!


Any standouts in the 5s this year?


 Well a number of the colts are performing really well.  When we are at full strength we are a match for anyone in the league.


It must be great seeing the likes of Georgie Garrett et all being selected in the 3/4s and performing well?


 That's what it's all about.  If you look at the colts regularly in the 5s and the strength of the academy team there's plenty of talent for the higher teams coming over the next year or two.  


Still in the promotion race?


 Still in a promotion spot.  At the beginning of the season it was about competing - now we really want a top 2 finish.  We've played all the stronger teams, we know what they've got and we know were capable of going up.


 Now the big question...are you going to put your hand up for captaincy next season?


 Yeah - i'll put my hand up, but i'll probably be running the 6th XI by then.


Thanks a lot mate – as much as we all love to see or top teams doing well at NMCC  developing colts cricketers into 'grown up' cricketers plays a vital role in moving our club forward into the fantastic place to play cricket that it has  become…

Tarun – long time no speak – we see you more on TV than at the Midd these days ….


Its been a mad summer and now I am busy catching up on some UNI papers I am studying this semester. Not sure if me answering these questions is still valid but here goes my 2 cents.


How’s the cricket been going ?


Cricket has been long n steady. I was very proud to have played through an entire season in all forms of the game which was one of my main goals for the Summer.


Are you getting along with your new teammates at Central Districts and the national Squad ?


I've now spent 2 seasons with CD squad and am enjoying the experience. And the Black Caps, was a very unique and a special time. Was bettered by the fact that my childhood club mate and good Friend Michael Bates was in the same team, so I went in to the team knowing a familiar face

 

Tell us how you got involved in North Midd cricket


One has to be WRONGLY SPECIAL to play at the Midd. And I just happened to know a "VERY SPECIAL" person in Dazza who pulled a few strings on my behalf in convincing Brando to let me play as a token.


And your home club in NZ ?


I play for Cornwall in Hasting, I started playing there last season as it is coached by Mike Shrimpton a former NZ leg spinner/Bat and a very good coach.


Nickname ?


Too many … but I ll go with Tazz and T-bag


Favourite North Midd memory ?


Hard to pick just one. Winning the U-13 nationals under Nursey n Pitto was a special experience. I firmly believe they took me over as a 'coach' so I could baby sit the boys in evenings while they went out on the lash.



Your own personal North Midd highlight ?


Personally watching Hilly absolutely PUMP Richmond all around the MIDD, after G-Man had cleaned up the Compton fella, followed by a night of savagery when I saw Hilly butcher a pineapple with his face and Sculley becoming entangled with the pot plant in the club house.


Your favourite North Midd team mate ?


Favourtite Midd  Mate would be the Phantom Cricketer let alone bowler Will Wotton. Bloke turned up to trainings n jogged laps before having a pint. Then convinced me he wasnt playing cause he was in rehab. I ve known him for 4 years now and yet to see him play.


Best young player you have seen at the Midd ?


Joe … the youngest of the Cracknell Bros was amazing... The lil runt fielded like a demon at the u-13 final after his brother got injured. He was all of 2 feet tall with amazing hand eye.


 

All the best for the upcoming matches- and all of us at North Midd look forward to seeing you playing for the Black Caps some more ( even if its only on TV ) and one day bamboozeling England’s ‘batsmen’ down the road at Lords

 

Thanks for spending 60 seconds with .....

Sam Shep – North Midd Legend  welcome to 60 seconds with....


It’s an honour to be thought of as being worthy enough for interviewing alongside all these legends of North Midd.


How long have you been playing for the Midd for?  Earliest Memory?


I joined shortly after moving to London which would have been at the start of the 2007 season. Earliest memory of the club was watching a pre-season game whilst trying to choose between Highgate and The Midd. Seeing Marlon steam in that day pretty much sealed it, but having checked out Highgate first it wasn’t a tough choice!


My earliest playing memory has to be my sumptuous 99 on debut in the 3’s. Having not come close to replicating that score it must still be fresh in the selectors minds as I’ve clearly been living off that score ever since.


You are a big hitter of renown but your game has so much more doesn’t it?


So much more! Middle order batsmen have no idea how much we openers sacrifice in the name of the team. It’s quite an art form to continually take the shine of the new ball and see off the best bowlers, only to then get out in the 20’s to allow the real stroke-makers to cash in. Joseph James and I, in particular, enjoy seeing off a good solid maiden, just as much as hitting boundaries.


Opening the batting for the 2’s again this year?


It certainly looks that way after my less than solid efforts in the 1’s last season resulted in an aggregate of 0 runs in my 4 matches!

And what about the office?  Does your senior status hold much sway in nabbing a spot in the slips?  who’s joining you there?

I definitely feel at home in the office and the best news this season is the possibility of someone else taking the gloves in the 2’s. I feel we’ve been missing a solid opener/slip combo to step into Waymouth’s shoes so I’m planning on making that spot my own this season. In terms of colleagues in the office, Paddy and Craig are always keen but Waqas made a pretty spectacular case in pre-season with two sharp ones so we could have some big slip cordons this year.


All time favourite NMCC moment?


Very tough to choose one! A few that stand out include Hilly’s demolition of a watermelon in Wembley’s changing rooms using only his face and Highgate’s umpire’s outburst at Waymouth last season which had the whole team, and the watching 1’s in stitches.


Most memorable teammate?  Overseas player?


That’s a tough one as what makes this club so good is the atmosphere throughout all the teams and is exactly why people like me don’t look for a new club despite living miles away.


Hilly’s matchday antics certainly make him quite memorable and I can only hope marriage doesn’t change that. The stupid amounts of energy he has are an inspiration but it’s more the weirder stuff that sticks in the mind such as sliding under the pool table, warming up by having cricket balls thrown at him, and all the ‘free money’ he’s hustled me out of.


Overseas boys have to be Tino and Scotty Rich, my able tour drinking partners – it’s good to have people who can keep up! Also got to mention Pistol, what a legend. I’m sure he’s only 30 really!


Are you going on tour this year? Favourite tour memory / anecdote


If there’s a tour then I suppose there’s a fair chance I might tag along. I’ve only had the pleasure of one so far and most memories are fairly hazy although I do hope Wetherspoons hasn’t closed down since me and the aussie boys were last there. 3 years without our custom could hurt them but you can’t beat a polish beer or ten for breakfast! Oh and the culprit of vomit-gate outside our room was definitely Tarun. Fact.


Any chance we will find you at the bar after the game?


No chance whatsoever.


Best young player at the club?


There’s quite a few to choose from which goes to show what a great job our club does with the young ‘uns but, at the risk of swelling his ego even more, I’d have to say Zulfi. Quite apart from his ridiculously accurate bowling and the class of his batting (the ease of the 6 he hit at Old Actonians to the biggest boundary on the ground was a joy to watch), I’d say he was the best slipper in the club. Never seen him put one down so no pressure Zulf!


An honourable mention must also go to the young colt who has been opening up for the 1’s in recent times, Adam, I think his name is. As long as he sorts out his cramp problems he could be some player when he’s older.


Hopes and aspirations for the 2011 season?


Definitely to get the 2’s promoted. We wasted a couple of years trying to get of Div3 and having seen the standard of Div2 there’s nothing for us to be worried about. Also if I’m given the chance to turn out for the 1’s then I’ll definitely be aiming to score at least one run! And of course to pouch as many Sandy’s as possible.


Thanks for spending 60 seconds with us Sammy – all the best for the 2011 season


My pleasure

A blast from the past !  Opening batsman and first (as well as last) at the Bar its a very warm welcome to former NMCC overseas player Dave Reid !!!


Thank you very much!


So Reidy, what have you been up to  ?


Where do I start? A lot has happened in my life since I departed the mighty North Midd in July 2007! A 4 month trip through SE Asia saw Vicki and I arrive in Melbourne, Victoria. We both scored good jobs – Vic at Tennis Australia (she’s still there working part time) and me PE teaching at a secondary college. We got married in April 2008 in New Zealand....yes, very inexcusable of me for marrying a Kiwi (sorry Dazza!). After living it up in our city apartment, we decided to sell up and move out to the “burbs” after the birth of our first child, Xavier Cooper. Xavier is 20 months and is a little champion...his first word was “ball”. He is going to have a sibling in early October. I am now teaching a class of 20 students aged 18-20 years in an AFL Victoria (Aussie Rules) sports development program which is quite a rewarding job as my students either go onto university or enter the world of work once they are finished with me. 


For those that don’t remember your prodigious talents take us though your NMCC years....


I played from 2002 to 2007 for the Midd usually missing the 6 week school holiday period to gallivant across the globe. I played mainly in the twos for the first couple of years under the likes of Rev and Bootsy as I certainly wasn’t the best overseas player for the Midd then with Akshee and Faggy playing in the ones during this period. Once I was officially deemed to be a “Pom”, I played the next 4 years predominantly in the firsts. Tucker and Hilly both skippered me during this time.


Personal highlights included a 200 odd run 6th wicket partnership in 2005 in the ones (2nd division) with Tom Nicholl where we were in a very precarious position and ended up winning the game (Southgate was the opposition I think?-too many gin and tonics at the O’s Bar over the years!). We both got tons and I ended with 128. 2006 was a purple patch for me and averaged around 60 for the season including my highest ever score of 162 (albeit against a reasonably week side on the day....again the oppo escapes me!)


How did you come to be involved with North Midd ?


My English flatmate in Harringay, Kath Moulds was an English and Languages teacher at Highgate Wood and 2 of her students at the time was young Sherlock Holmes and Tin Legs. After telling them that I was some sort of Bradman (she was very disillusioned), the boys told her that I should get down to Park Road....so I did and I am so thankful that I followed this advice.


Previous Cricket achievements?


Just prior to coming to London, I was teaching in a small country town called Young which is in NSW, Australia. Playing for a local cricket club, the “Young Yabbies”, I was averaging 360 due to some not outs and poor oppositions and the local journalist wrote a full page article on me titled “Reid nicknamed the Bradman of Young”. Very embarrassing indeed! Needless to say, I was run out by my skipper in my last game before venturing to the Old Blighty for a small total and brought back down to earth.


Seriously though, I represented at a regional level for Riverina in NSW during my junior years whilst playing in Wagga Wagga, NSW (the town is so good they named it twice!!). Probably the highest level I played was in the ones (only 1 season I might add) for Merewether CC in Newcastle during my university years. This is the same club that Timmy O’Neill and Evan Flowers played for. All in all, I have been an average cricketer over the years that occasionally does some good things.


Still Playing ?


Just finished possibly my last season for the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) in the 4th XI where I managed to top the batting average with a measly 33 runs per game (shows how well our batsmen went this year). I have been very fortunate to play for the MCC since I left the Midd with Adam Dale (ex Australian one day player and also played 2 tests) being the coach for the club when I captained the 4th XI side to a dual premiership (one day and two day competition) in 2008-09. Willie Woot was there to celebrate with us! It’s been pretty incredible in these last few years pre season training in the indoor nets at the MCG, having the likes of Andrew McDonald and Brad Hodge playing in our first grade side when not on representative duties and blokes like Dean Jones and Max Walker attending some of our presentation dinners.


Favourite North Midd moment??


Hard to give a favourite but here are a few favourite moments:

  • playing for North Midd in the first fundraising celebrity cricket match against the Bunbury XI (organised by the one and only G Man) where I managed to top score with Mike Gatting sledging me from behind the stumps and hitting Graham Hick for a six (I know he’s a batsmen but hey!!)
  • GMan somehow getting me with a bouncer in the indoor nets, opening up my ear, driving me erratically to the hospital in his red jeep to get stitched up then plying me with loads of shots at a nearby pub afterwards and hearing him say sorry on numerous occasions
  • Being an accomplice to one Timmy O’Neill with the theft and later grand European tour of Trevor Trophy (the 2004 North Midd 3rd Division Premiers trophy)!!!!!!! This would have to be the biggest, controversial heist in the clubs history much to the dismay of Frank and Tucker the skipper at the time. Made the boys on the “Italian Job” look like amateurs!
  • My farewell at the Midd was very memorable. It was awesome celebrating my departure with so many blokes I had shared wonderful memories with over the years. Although it was pretty embarrassing having to watch my final dig of an incredibly boring and slow 60 up on the screen which I scored earlier that day against Twickenham (Eckers got 8 for that game).
  • Did  I mention Mustard forgetting how to walk after consuming some strange mushroom at a family bbq function.....

Who were you teammates way back then?  Best and worst and all the inside gossip ?


They were all the “best” team mates. Here is a quick snippet of a few I played with:

Wayms – What a scene, he play.....Abysinniya!!

Dan Woottie - Wootton-the fireman with the magic smile

Muswell Hilly – the 2 can Sam! Still can’t believe you claimed that stumping against North London that time!!

Wozza “The Man of the People” Rockdog Ailes –had definitely the best gift of the gabb but perhaps not towards the women! He represented the Midd at my wedding in NZ which was great!

Willie Woot – the man whom I popped his little finger back into place thinking it was dislocated but was in fact broken.....whooops....CU!

Mustard – has he come out of the closet yet?

GMan – the craziest (along with his dog) being I know but one of the most interesting.

Tucker – the man who properly introduced me to the mighty Gunners

Bootsy – a heart of gold but don’t dare go near his daughter!

Twiz and Moby Horne – miserable buggers but loved their work

Dazza Eckford – what can you say about a bloke who can bowl right arm wheels opening the bowling, then come on later bowling left arm offies! I reckon he also had the potential of being on “Dancing with the Stars”

Sculls – an Aussie so therefore a legend. What more can I say!


Did you ever go on tour ?


Unfortunately only the once as I it always coincided with one of the last weeks of the school term. Thankfully I managed to convince my boss (Head Teacher) that I had been selected in a representative side to tour Cornwall and got the licence to go in 2005 or 2006? Best memory would have to be seeing Wayms doing his infamous “flaming man-gina” and having to carry him back to our hotel later that night!


Some words of advice for your admirers ?


Cricket advice: Don’t go back on a North Midd track! Go the red!!!

Social advice: Go hard or go home!


Many thanks Reidy ...  come visit us at NMCC again soon


No worries, I definitely want to visit soon! A big G’day to everyone. Sorry for those I didn’t mention!


It’s time to introduce some real quality into this section.....  Tim Allen, Brad Scully and Tom Way are all good cricketers, don’t get me wrong ..... but this guys got Class.


Without further ado – it’s a very warm welcome to one of NMCC’s finest ...... ZULFI ........


So Zulfi – hows the winter been ?  - Get up to Anything Special ?


Before I start, I just want to big up the other guys in the list coz they also have a lot of  class and are club legends!!!.


Yh now the winter's been DECENT actually. You know, studying for GCSEs and stuff and training with NMCC academy as well as getting the chance to work with MR NOT RIGHT (Daz) on coaching the Young ones. So its been good, nothing very special tho, I would rather have summer all year round.


School Cricket , NMCC cricket or Middlesex cricket – give us the inside score here ...


OK. School Cricket- Pretty low in standard, only about two people know what to do and the rest of the team is made up of my friends so that we can still have fun on the outfield. Although, I should say that we actually did very well every year despite the fact that we hardly had anyone who actually plays cricket.


Middlesex Cricket- Very Good standard when you are playing against major counties but the standard drops when its a minor county. The coaches expect 120% every game though, Doesnt matter who you face.


NMCC Cricket- For my age group the standard is decent but not quality unless we play a very good opposition, however we just thrash every team so every other team know what time it is when They face the MIDDIES.


However, the First 11 standard is very good and challenging because people are smart and they try work out what your weaknesses are. Also there is a little margin for error. You dont usually get a second chance unless you are facing us ( we dropped like 5 catches every game last year). This is why I personally think that First 11 cricket is tougher than county.


What teams are you playing for this summer ?


I am playing for North Midd only really unless I get a call up from middlesex U17s coz there is no U16 this year. But I am gonna have to get a few runs on the board for the ones if I am to get a call up this year!


What’s it like being the youngest member of the NMCC 1st XI ?


Well, I like it because I sometimes get let off for doing or saying things coz i am young. But its great because I get to learn from all these great players who play with me. Every game there are guys who are giving me good advice based on what they have seen and I try to take them on board if I feel the advice are helpful. Its good. after a match because we have lots of fun with the jokes and Sempers music. Also I like it because even if we lose we still have our heads high.


And will Evan let you bat at 4 and bowl first change ?


Erm well I dont know really. I dont mind as long as we are winning. Its up to EV really. I will bat and bowl wherever and whenever he needs or wants me to.


Do you set any targets for the year ?  What are they ?


Yes of course. I want to score some big runs this year when I get my chance and end up with at least 400 or more for the season. Also I want to add on my run outs from last year and take all the catches.


How do you think the 1st XI will go this year ?  Any chance of promotion to the premier league ?


I think we should win the league this year. We have got the squad to do it. We only need to train regularly and be on it every game and I think we are more than good enough to win the league.


Who are your coaches  at NMCC / Middlesex ?  Anybody more famous than Darren Eckford ?


Mark Pittman, Dazza, nearly everyone at northmidd. They coach me in one way or the other. Some about life and other about cricket.

For middlesex I have had quite a few different coaches. Last year it was Rory Coutts but this year its probably Graeme west but that is if I get called up to play for the U17s.


No one more famous than Dazza tho. Although I have to say I have had a lot of people coaching me.... some very good and some terrible.


Who has had the most influence on your game ?


A lot of people. I cant name all of them but I have to say a lot of the NMCC adults- since I started playing senior cricket (3 years ago) from the 3's to 1's.


Dazza has influenced me a lot. Others like Evo, Sherls, Hilly, Anthony Holloway, Matt Drew, Ed Lake, Will Wootton, Amir Mopara ( he has given me many bats to play with), Mr Sculley (lordie. But he was very different in school though- no one would know he was a lordie if they saw him teaching), Sammy Shepp, Waymouth, Richard Nic, Ryan Cunningham, Pistol (he even taught me ICT at my school once, but then he realised that the school was like a jail so he couldnt hack it and hence he decided not to teach), Tarun Nethula, Couple of my teachers at school, Joseph James, Grifter (yes even grifter) And many many others.  If list everyone it will take too long.

I also have to mention Steve Nurse and Mark Pittman because they have done a lot for me and if it wasnt for Steve I dont think I would have been playing cricket.


Favourite team mate ?


Again, it is very hard to decide. I cant make my mind up really. I have to say everyone in the 1s. If I am gonna be honest, Everyone in the club really because everyone are really nice and show nuff respect to me. Everyone buy me red bull too so its all good. I m good with everyone at the club too.


Most memorable North Midd moment ?


There are a lot of good memories of this club on and off the field but I have to say WINNING THE NATIONALS U13s WAS THE BEST MOMENT!! THE first north midd team to do it and getting invited to the PMs palace was great. I was the captain of the team, still am, but I have to say the boys who I play with are great, they are so committed and on it every game so I RESPECT that. That is why I love captaining the team because everyone already knows what to do and what the expectations are. GREAT WORK GUYS. we will look to add more trophies over the coming years too and One day be in the first team together and win the premier league.


Thanks for spending 60 seconds with us Zulfi and all the best for the 2011 summer....


Thank You. You too MR/MS ANONYMOUS. SAFE BLOOD/FAM


By overwhelming demand...this weeks 60 seconds is with NMCC’s Secretary / Treasurer / Kit Man / Main Mover and Shaker...Rob Brand!!!!


Rob, welcome to 60 seconds with...Park Road is looking a treat! The Natwest CricketForce day must have been a success?


Absolutely! I've just been down to the ground and the improvement over the last week is fantastic - well done to all concerned. I was of course willing everyone on from my pool-side sunlounger in Oman!


And lots of work must have been done over the winter?  Give us the highlights...


Where to start?....we've again dug deep to help the Pav pay  for a face-lift for  the squares and outfield, which doesn't come cheap...we've also been pretty successful in our search for dosh from Sport England, the Lord's Taverners etc - hence the refurbed nets, new sightscreens, new cover , new batting cage etc.


NMCC on the whole is looking in good shape for the 2011 summer then....


I'm always optimistic in mid-April, but with some very competent new players, the Colts continuing to perform brilliantly, and the playing facilities better than ever, why not? Only a few weeks ago we felt we needed some new blood among the seniors to gee everyone up, and now, fingers crossed, it looks as if we've got it just in time.


Your hopes / expectations for the upcoming season?


It's easy to forget how far all the senior teams have come over the last 5 years or so. The big hope  must be for the 1s to be promoted to the Premier League, as that would really put NMCC on the map and also put a few noses out of joint at the "bigger" clubs - I'd love it! I hope the 3s and 4s more than hold their own after last year's promotions, and that yet more Colts force their way into the senior teams. I'd really like to see commitment/availability improve - and last minute call offs reduce dramatically.


If the magic cricket fairy deigned that NMCC was worthy of 3 wishes, what would you ask for?


Another half a dozen Zulfi's, please..... A helicopter for those tedious away trips would be nice.....And no more dropped catches, ever!


How’s Nick?  What has he been up too?  Is a return to NMCC pace bowling ranks imminent?


Nick's in good shape thanks. Busy getting ready for his Finals at Uni followed by the 3 weeks of intensive drinking which he says he needs to recover! He's still a North Midd fan at heart, and I'm pretty sure he'll be back next year...or else!


And yourself…What do you get up to when you’re not running around with a clipboard at Park Road?


I play golf  badly (ask Hilly), support the lost cause which is St Johnstone FC with great devotion (off to Hampden Park this Saturday as it happens), hang out with numerous reprobates from my City days, fight a losing battle with slugs in my garden, and generally lose the plot with increasing frequency....


Any chance that you will don the whites and have a game in the 5’s?


Just waiting for the call! After all, I'm much younger than Richard Nicoll!


Thanks for spending 60 seconds with us Rob, all the best for the upcoming season and many thanks from all the avid 60 seconds with fans for all the efforts you put in to the club.

G’day Sculls! Its your turn to face the questions of the masked inquisitor in preparation for the upcoming season. How’s things in the US ?  What are you up to ?


I am currently residing in Santa Barbara, California and am Assistant Head Coach for the UCSB Rugby programme.


Well at least the NMCC North American XI has some firepower in the bowling ranks ( please see Waymouth’s assessment of his and Tigers mystery pies in a previous edition of 60 seconds with.... )


Did you get to see much of the recent Aussie summers cricket ?


I did and the less said the better!! Got to bowl to the Aussies and POMs in preparation for the Sydney test. Had Uzzie Kawaja in my back pocket if you're asking!!


And your thoughts on England’s team who face Sri Lanka and India this summer after another disappointing world cup performance ?


No - don't care - just want to see green and gold lift the world cup for the fourth consecutive time.....oh yes!!


What’s the secret of taking wickets on unresponsive North Midd tracks ?  ( Oz  please don’t take offence here)


Bowl with the new cherry from the Calthorpe End. Get Dazza or Tarun to produce a dodgy wicket and bowl plenty of 'grovlers' (see Semper for a description). Seriously though......get the new cherry and captain the team :-)


Any advice to young North Midd seamers that want to follow in your footsteps and open the bowling for the 1’s ?


It's the ultimate honour for any upcoming North Midder to bowl in the 1's, especially opening the bowling. Stay patient with your action, stick to your lengths, enjoy bowling and stay away from the overseas player on a school night - oh drat!!


How did you come to be playing for the finest cricketing outfit in North London ?


Through Mr Tom 'Waymouth' Way who I met in a charity game wearing the 75th anniversary North Midd sweater. New he was a serious pianter from the start and could lead me to new heights!!


Favourite North Midd moment ?


On or off the field??? So many but seriously, the players and people I met through this wonderful club!! Seeing the U13's progress to National Champions was pretty amazing!!!


Who’s wicket did you most enjoy taking ?


Grifter's in the nets!!


Team mates  - best / worst / funniest ?


Best = everyone I played with / Worst = never got to play with Grifter (just kidding big fella). A tall West Indian suddenly springs to mind for some reason??? / Funniest = Hilly and his monkey antics in the infamous 'cricket nappy' post match


Your own personal NMCC Highlight ?


The hat trick within an 8 for against the elite of Wembley wasn't bad either haha!!


Your thoughts on the upcoming season ?


Promotion, promotion, promotion


All the best mate – and thanks for spending 60 seconds with.....


Safe!!


Your turn to face the music Mr Waymouth......


I was waiting for this to be honest...... the fact that Bootsey was asked before me almost made me join my second favourite club in the Sheppards Cott region, Highgate CC!!


So your deserting us .....


Deserting!  A little harsh, 17 years of service I have you know!!  That's nearly £6000.00 of match fees I've worked out.  Best value for money ever.  Claire and I have a great opportunity to go and live in Northern california, we would be mugs not to do it.  Exciting times for us, married and relocating half way across the world within 2 months.......Literally buzing with excitement!

NMCC has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember.  Bar my Mum and Dad and my now wife I can honestly say that NMCC is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  The people you meet and play with (no pun, easy Brando) are all amazing.... 


Have you played many games this year ? hows your form ?


I think I've played 7 league games this year, felt in good nic to be honest.  Top score of 49, too many jazzy 30s and not pushing on....  Big year for the 2nd team, I will be looking on from the US.  Seeing the standard in the league there is no reason why shouldn't be in the shake up for another promotion. 


Favourite North Midd Memory ?


  • Every second of the 7 NMCC Tours I have been on
  • Dan Woottons fire truck!  (and his on-drive, what a shot that is!!)
  • Hilly's catch in an area match when we were 13 at Southgate Adelaide!!!!
  • Our Under 17 team Managed by Tim Allen
  • Slip Catch winners at Lords
  • Year we won the league under Tommy Smethers.... 8 of the team were NMCC Colts
  • Every overseas player we have ever had, all legends.... Reidy, Timmy O, Tom Fagg!!! Pistol and Seanie, Dazza, Dushi!!! Scotty Rich, Biggun, Cheese, Itchy, Yiya, Akshee....the Italian leggy!!  All the others I've missed
  • Huw Davies getting hit on the head by Ricky Fay at Bronsbury
  • John Crawley hitting me for 6 first ball of an innings against Teddington
  • Bowled Way, Ct Junior Murray (west indies) against North London
  • Mushi Buklharis 100 at Hampstead in 11 overs
  • "Mungo watch the spin"!!!
  • Captaining the 2nd XI to League Champs last year
  • Me and Hilly talking Keith Dutch out
  • Every slip catch (22in total) off Dazza and Sculley in 2007
  • Steve Edwards and 'Stumps' in 2002!!
  • Tiger Tim's "oh drat' when he was out for golden at NLCC
  • My fathers commentary on me getting cleaned up at HQ by some Aussie jazzer in flip flops
  • Listening to Gladiator sound track en route home to the MIdd in Gmans jeep every game in year we won the league
  • Reversing into every ground on our Bertie Joke Cup Run
  • Got to start doing some work...............!!!!!!

Best young talent at the club ?


Zulfi - best cricket brain in the club, FACT


Favourite teammate and why ( please include the inside info )...


Got to be Hillman for being the most intense and fun player to play with... could go on for hours

Dan Woot a close second, no better companion in the 'office'


Are you going to come back and play ?


Who knows, would love to........If and when I come back to the UK I will be in London, North London, N4....... back in my manor.  Can't leave Mustard and Wozza in charge, biggest set of lose cannons I've ever met.  They couldn't run a single, let alone N4!


I can see a decent opening partnership forming in the US with yourself and Tiger ... though a pretty weak bowling attack ....Interesting you that.


Tiger Tim captained our Successful Derbyshire Tour in 1996 (where I still believe I hold the record for an NMCC colt on tour in Derbyshire with 146* v Belper Meadows, still have the ball......  Tiger and I put on thousands that Tour.

I would also not listen to anyone slam Tiger's bowling, or mine for that matter.  Some of the slowest non spinning off break bowling from two ends from Tiger and I is enough to unsettle both Nashville and San Francisco's finest.

Tiger and I are in talks with the USCB (United States Cricket Board) about playing for the USA in the upcoming Las Vegas ICC Sevens tournament.....watch this space


A final message for all your fans ....


All 4 Teams are in the hunt for a strong second half of the season.  Any less that 2 promotions could arguably be seen as a failure.  Make sure if you are involved in any of those games to give it your absolute all.  Don't leave it to anyone else, make the difference yourself.  Enjoy every game you play and enjoy being part of the greatest cricket club on the planet.

NMCC goes live in San Francisco on July 27th.....


Cheers Waymes and thanks for spending 60 seconds with ......




So Bootsy out of retirement again ? How many times have you retired before ?


I stopped playing in 1989 to 2000 but that was not retirement. Last year i retired from playing COUNTY league.


Didn't we even give you a retirement present ?


Its in the box for when i do stop playing.


How are the 4's shaping up this year ?


The fours are doing,well undefeated after five and i think we will be there in the shake up come september.


Must be great to have some batting superstars like Timmy Allen and Rich Nicoll as regular members ?


There is no substitute for experience so its great to have them around plus its good fun.


And the colts ? Who has shown some early promise thus far in the season ?


Will Crackers has done really well and so has Jamie Davis but not sure that we will see him again as he has done really well for the threes.


Still rolling the arm over yourself ?


Yes and bowling a few more overs than I was expecting to but I am keeping myself fit so I will keep going as long as possible.


Your favourite North midd teammate ?


It has to be Richard Nicoll. Been playing together a few years now and you just know you are going tp get 100%,

he always gets runs and he is a pleasure to skipper {not that he needs it}


Best young player you have seen at the Midd ?


In recent times it would have to be Tom Nicoll. At the moment Joe Cracknell


Any other nicknames ?


None that i could mention here


Favourite North Midd memory ?


Skippering the second eleven to seven straight wins when we just missed out on promotion. Winning the Bertie Joel cup

in 1987. Being awarded the 1st eleven captains cup in 1988


Are you organising the tour again this year ?


No. Willy Wootton is your man this year


Thanks for spending 60 seconds with .....

Dazza - not sure i you have seen it on the North Midd website but you are the next victim of the secret reporter in 60 seconds with .......


So Darren  - just arrived back in Blighty for another season with the Midd, when did you arrive ?


May 4th I arrived saaan, just in time for training that evening.


Tell us how you got involved in North Midd cricket


Tom Smethers had been out in NZ for a couple of seasons playing at our club and in 2005 when the Midd got promoted to the second div he asked me to come over and play. So you can all blame Tucker!!


And your home club in NZ ?


The mighty SUBURBS.... What level did you play there ? The highest level I have played is the Auckland "A" side.


Nickname ?


Daz, Dazza, Ron, Zoom zoom, and more recently it seems "Not Right".


Your favourite North Midd team - mate ?


Why ? I couldn't possibly pick one. It is the all round team unity at the Midd that keeps me coming back. It is the only place I have seen that rivals the atmosphere in the dressing room of my club back home. I enjoy playing with whatever bunch of lads come on to the field with me.....but, if I had to pick one favourite team mate....it'd have to be fourfa!!


And are you spending some time coaching the colts ?


For sure. I will be down helping out some Saturday mornings and Richie Nic is getting me involved in the North Midd Academy. I'm also running a few one on ones for those who are after a bit of extra tuition. Should be good times.


( I hear that Darren has already lined up some personalised tuition for both Colts and Seniors alike - so get in quick if your son/ daughter would like to get involved )


Star pupil ?


Again, very hard to say as they have all started at different levels. I'm very pleased with the progress of all those I worked with when I was last here and it seems many of the colts have gone on to bigger and better things. It's great to see the colts section maintaining the winning formula, if we can hold on to these talented youngsters it should transfer in to very strong senior teams in the coming years.


And do you enjoy the coaching side of things ?


It certainly has its moments. It can depend on the individual. If you are working with someone eager to push themselves for success then it can be very enjoyable to both parties. It can be equally tedious if the players aren't in the right head space.... but we all have our days.


Favoutire North Midd memory ?


We come a long way, what a sweet love story.... The promotion in 2007...EPIC


And what are your aspirations for the season ?


Only option is another promotion.


Thanks for spending 60 seconds with .....



Doug - how long have you been involved with North Midd Cricket ?


8 years


A distinguished playing career ?


playing career distinguished by rarity of appearances and completely random nature of performance on those rare occasions


Your involvement now is coaching and mentoring in the Colts section ?


yes but still hoping to iron out a few technical hitches with the batting with a view to opening for England


Your own personal North Midd highlight ?


a couple of 50s (well one was actually 48 but hey) one for the 4s and one in the adults v U17s


And some new coaching staff to the Colts ranks ?  How did the Coaches Coaching session go ?


Coaches Coaching session was fab - wish I could turn up on Saturday mornings and be coached, love the drills.


Any aspirations of being called up to play senior cricket this season ? ( i believe Steve Edwards has your number on speed dial )


would like to play seniors cricket but probably only really time to do the colts thing however expect I will get one or two games


Still running marathons ?


yes


Your favourite thing about the Mid ?


a great bunch of people to spend time with


Thanks for spending 60 seconds with us Doug  - lookout you North Midd people ... you could be next to face '60 seconds with...'


So Tim, a tough winter ?  Did Jack Daniels and Johnnie Walker keep you company ?


Yep.....as well as Jim Beam!


Looking forward to the new season ?


Can't wait....should be another cracker.


Talk us through your own personal North Midd highlight ...


Everytime I put on that maroon cap with NMCC embroidered on it.


Is it just a coincidence or is it true that if you charge down the wicket to the first ball of the day your are guaranteed to score runs ?


I only do it to give the bowlers a moving target........most of them get put off by such a "big" thing approaching them at 40mph!


As a senior member of the all conquering 4's - your hopes for the team and where they can go after 2 years of success ?

 

Looking at the fixture list for this season, we will be facing better opposition, and I think this will give us a greater incentive to beat these teams i.e. (Ealing, Shepherds Bush,Winchmore Hill,Uxbridge, and Barnet Bs)......I am particularily looking forward to facing Kenton again!!!!


Tell us about your own brand odd 'slips humour' ( for those that have never fielded in the office with Tim - it is a laugh a minute...


I am not sure what you are talking about.......all I remember from last season was that most of our bowling was of good length!!!


Your favourite thing about the Mid ?


Being able to play against Hornsey!!!!!


Thanks for spending 60 seconds with us Tim  - lookout you North Midd people ... you could be next to face '60 seconds with...'



  • Rich Nicoll

  • Mike Bohndiek

  • Sam Webber

  • Tom Nicoll

  • Marcus Swales

  • Tarun Nethula

  • Sammy Sheppard

  • Dave Reid (Reidy)


  • Zulfi Azom

  • Rob Brand

  • Brad Sculley

  • Tom Way

  • Bootsy

  • Dazza

  • Douggie Teesdale

  • Timmy Allen