Walking in Ventnor

Nothing on the sort of scale of last weekend, in fact, just a routine stroll in late July. But it is delivering on a promise I made toward the end of the last cricket season, where Sarisbury once again had frustratingly thrown away the advantage at the top of the Southern Electric Premier League Division 1 only for our rivals New Milton to also lose and fail to pick up the title baton. In a rather throwaway line, I said that, if Sarisbury did get promotion to the Premier Division, I would walk to Ventnor, seemingly the most awkward destination of any of the likely away games. Three things on this have conspired to play into this scenario:

  • Sarisbury did ultimately win promotion on the last day of the season in a nail-biting win over Bournemouth at The Hollow
  • the Ventnor away game is one of those mid-summer “timed games” and so starts not at the normal 1pm Saturday, but 11am (and so an overnight stay would be preferable for me, as opposed to an early alarm call)
  • the Ventnor ground is not in Ventnor (the south coast of IOW) but nearer the more centrally situated Newport

I will be able to walk there on the Friday and walk back on the Sunday. The total distance is quite manageable, something around 7 miles on this side, a ferry and then 6 miles on the other side. I have booked a b&b about 20 minutes walk from the ground for Friday and Saturday nights. I am not considering walking across the Solent despite it probably being not that much tougher than the Bear Grylls terrain and weather that we experienced last weekend. Not exactly exorcising all the daemons but at least that will help me to have slightly happier memories of walking on Isle of Wight. Plenty, plenty of walking to do before that one, anyway, just to keep myself in some sort of level of trim.

As you might have gathered, cricket does play a reasonable part in my life. Since joining Sarisbury Athletic Cricket Club in 2005 due to Matt showing a bit of promise as a batsman / wicketkeeper, I volunteered to do the scoring on one Saturday for the 4th team who needed a scorer for a big match. Being made very welcome (I was doing them a favour, after all), getting a free tea and pretty much anything else I wanted that was legal on a Saturday afternoon, I took it up for the 4th team full-time, then the 5th team and am now in my fourth year with the 1sts. There is a certain status to it and I get to indulge in writing match reports – not everybody’s cup of tea but I do love writing. The 1st team’s opening match last weekend in the Premier Division versus Alton was tied, though of course I was otherwise engaged in my other main pastime, walking. Tomorrow we play at the Rose Bowl against Hampshire Academy so I might even be scoring for a star of the future. A fly in the ointment at present is our home ground at The Hollow, Allotment Road, where a section of the outfield is unplayable due to massive cock-ups by contractors in treating the drainage. So a ‘home’ Premier Division debut will have to wait until the home match against Ventnor on 23 May.

As ever with the more planned walks, thinking of the away game in July once again, I have Street Viewed the route from Cowes to the b&b and the ground and it is mostly pavemented, the last section to the ground on what look like decent grass verges. Looks quite a comfortable stroll and a pleasant weekend all round. Except the weather. Who knows what it will be like on 24/25/26 July? There might not even be a game of cricket at all!

On the injury front, a few days laying around (or is it lying around) has done limited good for my back. Still a few twinges here and there and I will need to be doing stretches in between overs at the cricket tomorrow, but overall I am quite pleased. At least those twinges have convinced me I was right to stop. Let’s put an end to that, once and for all and move on now. End of, in fact. Everything else is fine except for my toe, and I might well lose the nail. This morning I had the nail clippers out to trim all of my toenails and I obviously pierced a bubble of fluid below that particular nail. My toe is now much less swollen but even more mauve. You wouldn’t want to see a photo of that one.

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