Three weeks on from our LV= County Championship success, the Trent Bridge dressing room is bare, the square is roped off and half of our professional players have jetted off - but memories of an outstanding week in Manchester are still fresh in my mind.
Whilst several Notts players have now decamped down under, ostensibly to find some sun and a club contract but a few undoubtedly keen to avoid an on-schedule return to their off-season training programmes which begin as early as November, a core will re-assemble later this month for a reception with the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace.
We arrived early at Paul Smith’s flagship Lower Pavement store yesterday to prepare for a Covered photo shoot with Chris Read, Paul Franks and Graeme White who were being fitted with suits and boots fit for royal inspection.
Fransky’s hat hair aside, they were sharply dressed in decent denim and knitwear for the occasion although chaperone Wayne Noon let the side down somewhat by rocking up at one of our city’s trendiest shops in an ill-fitting training ground tracksuit and discoloured Asics gels.
With hard-earned prize money burning holes in their pockets, it won’t be long before younger members of the squad roll into Trent Bridge dressed head to toe in G-Star although hopefully they won’t be in identical clobber as Luke Fletcher and Andy Carter managed last year.
Despite a winner’s bonus and a new contract, Steven Mullaney has stayed true to his roots by keeping faith with his £6 hairdresser but I’ve seen this happen before with Steven Gerrard so hopefully Mull will see the light sooner rather than later.
The ECB Lord’s Taverners trophy will finally be engraved with Nottinghamshire’s name next week after it has been paraded around the National Ice Centre at Saturday’s Panthers-Steelers grudge match but the replica seen in the celebratory photos at Old Trafford already has a few stories to tell.
Throughout the Manchester lap of honour, TV screens beamed almost constant replays of Shiv Chanderpaul nicking Andre Adams to Samit Patel, each one greeted with hearty cheers from the players.
The rounds came thick and fast but something was missing. Five hundred yards away, in a much more respectable establishment, elder statesmen Mark Wagh and Ali Brown had made an informed decision to ignore the calling of warm pints of Carling and Jagerbombs and settled down for three courses and a vintage bottle of red. They re-joined the group hours later and still managed to be amongst the last to bed and first to rise. A perfect demonstration of the value of experience.
There were a few early fallers but a final late night re-union in the hotel bar was a fitting end to a memorable week. Having had a late night on the Wednesday, I wasn’t surprised to have slept through my Friday morning alarm and miss breakfast and the ensuing car journey through the Peak District wasn’t much fun.
Back to Mark Wagh who successfully completed his John O’Groats to Lands End bike ride last week. We issued a media release publicising Mark’s achievement and listing his plans for the next 12 months: six weeks in Rio learning capoeira, two weeks in Thailand learning to box, two weeks at an orang-utan sanctuary, pre-season training, four and a half months at the top of the order, start new life in London law firm.
I quickly forgave the journalist who asked if I was making things up in listing Waggy’s schedule but I can assure everyone that his plans are genuine. Every interaction I have with Mark is memorable and everything he says amusing.
Mark Wagh gems from the past 12 months include:
- “Do you really expect me to answer that question because if I do I will simply give you a textbook sportsman’s cliché.”
- “I’m not going to be selected for any Twenty20 cricket this year so if you take a headshot of me in the yellow shirt then it is a complete waste of hard disc space.”
- “I can’t take this interview seriously I’m afraid, I’m trying to eat a jacket potato and I’m really struggling.”
On the third day of the defeat at Durham, we were filming in the nets when he asked to me to provide some throw-downs in his unique convoluted manner:
“Temps, are you vaguely co-ordinated?”
“Do you mind throwing this ball at that wall to prove it?”
I’ve observed Mark Wagh in the pre-match kick about and, cricket aside, I’d like to think that I’m more co-ordinated than he is but I was pleased to disprove his perception.
Michael Temple is Nottinghamshire's Media & Communications Manager.