Catches win matches, put them down at your peril. Richie Benaud told me that one. A couple of thousand times on my old PS2 cricket game. Yet no matter how weather beaten or worn the expression is it still rings true. Catches really do win matches. The difference a drop can make can swing the match one way or the other. England recently found it can swing whole series as they put Hashim Amla on the grass twice and it cost them almost 400 runs off his bat and, as a result, the Test Series and their number 1 ranking.
Catching is at the very core of the game as it is one of the key elements of fielding. Fielding is absolutely key to any player at any level being a good cricketer. It is often overlooked by some of our younger players, the fact only one features in the upper reaches of the standings is testament to that, but it is vital to the development of each and every player at the club.
With Zen Master Lunson in charge of the development of all aspects of improving players at the club it was little surprise he started the indoor sessions way back in February with an heavy emphasis on fielding. It can be the defining aspect of a performance even on a day when runs flow for both sides. You’ve got to make those catches stick. See the ball, become the path of the ball, be the ball. Or something!
So who are you velcro handed supremos this season?
It is a pleasant surprise to see two players from the 4th and 5th XI panels atop the standings. John Anders and Mick McDonough have weighed in with 9 catches apiece. Old Golden Arm usually features in key catching positions around the bat as does McDonough when he is not wearing the wicketkeeping gloves.
Tied for second place are Jonty Wardell and Joe McKay representing the opposite end of the starring lists at the club with 8 cathces each. Wardell is usually found in his customary position behind the sticks, though, I am almost sure he was spotted in the outfield at least once this year. McKay is in with a shout with winning the LCU award for catches. However, upon further investigation with his team mates, it was alleged that he might be in the hunt were their full statistics of most drops this season. You’ve got to love the way your team mates are always there to put the boot in!
Finally tied for third are Tom Anders, Sadaf Raza and Stephen Moore all with 7 catches to their credit. There is then a massive queue of people on 5 and 6 catches each and one of those will undoubtedly come out of the pack late in the day.
It’s not just about the catches that stick, though, as you need to keep your ledger clean. Drops and misfields negate the positives of taking a catch.
To borrow from an old Chinese proverb
‘Water and catches, easy to spill, impossible to recover’