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Grumble of a (stand in) captain.

[door Marvin Watts - and probably every captain of ACC!] You’ve all been there, turning up on a Sunday with 9 players and everyone looking like the world is ending and you just know it’s gonna be 40 tortuous overs chasing the ball to all parts whilst the oppo sets a monster target followed by a collapse of such seismic proportions by your own team to leave you heroically escaping the ignominy of an innings defeat in a 1 innings match.

Everyone looks at the captain and asks how this can happen and why he wasn’t able to conjure up a couple of superstars to fill up the last spots whilst he’s chuffed he even managed to get enough to play a game.

Last weekend I had the honour of standing in as captain for the Zomi team. It’s been a good few years since I last captained a team regularly and I’d forgotten the bane of every captains life, the late withdrawal.

I’m glad to say it wasn’t from my own team, but at 7pm on a Saturday, whilst enjoying the free food and especially the drink at a lovely little wedding in a picturesque village in Drenthe, I got the call from one of the other captains that he had had a couple of late withdrawals and if he could pinch a player from the Zomis. I’m not sure of my exact reply (I’m not sure of much from that evening if truth be known) but the message was basically “Sorry mate, I’ve got 11 and I’m not screwing over either my team by going down to 10 or my evening with friends and family trying to find a last minute replacement”.

So the poor other guy is left with his Saturday evening in tatters trying to fix a problem of someone else’s making.

To be fair, I don’t know the reason for the late withdrawals, and there are some good and fair reasons (see below), but not many. Having forgotten the mother in laws birthday (especially if you don’t even like your mother in law!) or that you know you’ll not be in a good state after a Friday / Saturday evening of excesses are not good reasons. It really is amazing how many people become unavailable a couple of days before a match when the forecast isn’t warm and sunny – they think they’re smart and subtle? They’re not!

When I was captaining previously, there was no TeamStuff. Excuses ranged from people claiming they’d never said yes in the changing room the week before (in front of 9 other witnesses) to emails ending up in junk mail boxes to players that wanted a special call confirming in person that they were selected and that they would bat in the top 6. I’m glad that all that’s gone, but it seems the late withdrawals haven’t.

So guys and girls, PLEASE sort out your own life and don’t ruin the weekends of friends, teammates and captains because you couldn’t be bothered to tick a box in TeamStuff. If you’ve stayed with me throughout this little rant, many thanks and see you on a pitch soon.

 (No I’m not pregnant, but appendix removed on a Saturday last season was a fair reason to call off for Sunday’s game)

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