I’VE had quite a tempestuous relationship with club cricket over the years, writes Paul Goodwin.
But Saturday - at a sun drenched Town Field - proved to be a stark reminder of why I just can’t resist getting the whites on for at least a few weeks every summer.
Because there’s not many better feelings than being part of a winning team.
Doncaster Town Cricket Club haven’t had a great deal to shout about this season.
After a winter exodus, the club has almost dropped anchor at the foot of the Yorkshire League.
But at second team level, as we showed by beating a decent Conisbrough side on Saturday to go top of the table, there is plenty of hope for the future.
Town’s cause wasn’t helped by the departure of James Stuart to Barnsley last week, one of the most talented youngsters the club has arguably ever produced.
It followed a dressing room bust-up of sorts, perhaps typical of top level club cricket across the country.
As a youngster I reached a decent level in the game, opening the batting for Durham’s juniors and winning the North East Premier League title.
But then I began to get tired of the politics, feuds and stresses that can plague the sport at amateur level.
Sadly, for me, the notion of paying players has ruined the club game.
It’s no longer a case of playing for enjoyment alone - and that’s where my problem with cricket lies.
That problem does not extend to plying my trade in the second team at Doncaster, where a spirited young team are playing with smiles on their faces.
We’re enjoying our cricket and winning at the same time. The two go hand-in-hand.
At Doncaster there’s little money to pay players, cold hard cash is not necessarily the problem.
But, in times of trouble, more smiling and less bickering might just result in more winning.
n Town B go top - turn to page 73 for South Yorkshire League reports and pictures.