Been a while since I had the chance to play at a first-class venue. Sixteen or so years since a match at Hastings Central Ground, which was then scandalously torn to bits and a soulless mall of the type you see worldwide was installed to give the town centre a ‘boost’.
So, it was lovely to play at Ebbw Vale, scene of many a Glamorgan match from the 50s onwards – even remember watching a John Player League game there in 1974. Glammy all out 92, they seem to be of a similar vintage this year. And haven’t played many first-class games here since the 90s.
Gutted to then tread on the ball while fielding, a la Glenn McGrath Ashes 2005, and have to the leave the field at the end of the home side’s innings.
This meant the next two hours were spent with a bag of ice on my left ankle and I missed out on opening on the best track I would have played on for years.
The club seems past its heyday – players said afterwards that Ebbw Vale – part of Blaenau Gwent where unemployment rate is among the worst in the UK – struggles to attract people. Not much industry therefore not much to come here for.
As for the cricket, what jobs there are mean that shift work eats into local lads’ free time so they can’t commit to playing. A town of 30,000 or so thus finds itself in Div 2 of the Glamorgan and Monmouthshire League.