Holcombe and Blue Bell Hill Cricket Club bowlers impress England star Chris Tremlett

England cricket star Chris Tremlett inspired a new (and old!) generation at Holcombe and Blue Bell Hill Cricket Club when he visited their ground last night.

As the prize in a competition won by Lin Sharpe (one of HBBHCC’s U16 parents), Chris was on hand to oversee a fast bowling competition and then brave enough to face the barrage of questions from a packed clubhouse.

What’s your bowling speed?

DSCN9099 from Jaye Nolan on Vimeo.

“I’ve got to give you guys credit – that speed gun probably wasn’t quite correct and the 55mph was nearer 70mph

Winners of the fast bowling competition were: U11s Mark Robinson, 36mph; U13s Stephen Blakeman, 38; U15s Lucas Perry, 51; U17s Michael Reader, 58; Seniors James Underwood, 59.

What will you do when your career is over?

“I’m now 31 so it’s scary to think ‘What do I do next’. Property development is something I enjoy in my spare time, coaching maybe – I have the badges. Or a personal trainer. I’ve a few ideas but wanting to make it back into an England shirt is the priority for now. I hope to be fit for New Zealand and will go to Australia or South Africa in the new year. I had knee surgery four weeks ago, so I haven’t played much, just concentrated on getting fit.”

Who’s the toughest batsman you’ve faced?

“Chris Gayle (Windies) on his day; he hits everything for six. The Aussies in their prime – Ponting; Gilchrist; Hayden for one dayers and, in test cricket, Brian Lara (Windies) would have to be number one, closely followed by Sachin Tendulkar (India) and Ricky Ponting.”

You took the final wicket in the last Ashes win over Australia – how exciting was that?

“It was pretty special week; we’d already retained The Ashes and it was a nice feeling to wake up in the morning, knowing we’d be taking them home; knowing we’d be having a celebration at some point that day was exciting. We’d blended really well as a unit which showed when we got them all out for 98 on Boxing Day.”

Is your dad (former Hampshire seamer and Hants CC director Tim) still talking to you? (After you left Hampshire for Surrey!)

“I loved Hampshire but had to leave to put me in a better position to break into the England side. Surrey are the recipe for making my return. I’d love to go back to Hants someday though – and yes, dad is still talking to me!” 

DSCN9100 from Jaye Nolan on Vimeo.

How do you cope with the long tours abroad?

“You have to learn to be independent as you can be away for up to six months. It’s tough but part and parcel of the job. But you find ways to keep yourself occupied, especially in the places where you can’t get out and about for security reasons. Technology has made it so much easier to keep in touch with family, with Skype etc. You live in a bubble, forgetting how many people are watching so we keep an eye out for everyone and just support each other.”

What do you think of Kevin Pietersen signing a new England Contract?

“Kevin’s fallen out with a few players and management; they’ll be a lot of conversations to be had but as a team and a sport you have to move forward. It’ll be tough initially but he’s one of our best players and so good to watch.”

How much has fitness training helped to change the sport?

“Back in 2000 you didn’t have a fitness trainer but every county has one now – you can’t skive, they’ll find out! You have to be fit, the game is so much quicker now. And there are separate fitness programmes for batsmen and bowlers. For a fast bowler you need core strength, so pay attention to abs, core and bottom muscles.” (Ed’s note: Yes, I think I can do that *coughs*) You have to be mentally fit too. If you bowl a shocker, you just have to get over it and bowl the next one.”

The hardest team to play against?

“Australia in 2005: Gilchrist; Warne; Ponting etc – they’d been number one for years, very hard to beat.”

And tricky bowlers if you’re batting?

“Brett Lee on a bouncy wicket just wanted to hit me on the head; Andrew Flintoff was a pretty special cricketer, shame he had to retire. He told me he was going to bounce it and still got me out.”

Who’s the best captain you’ve played under?

“Shane Warne at Hampshire, he taught me a lot and is a very good man manager too. And Andrew Strauss will always be remembered for winning two Ashes series.”

Final word: Sledging?

“You can’t sledge or swear – it’ll cost you too much money!”

Chris Tremlett was brought to us at HBBC Cricket Club by Nat West, who run the annual Cricket Force days. These aim to inspire volunteers to pick up a paint brush or trowel for the local club and help rejuvenate its facilities for the coming season. This prize was just one of many offered by the NatWest Cricket Club this summer. Members have been able to access all sorts of rewards, from tickets to every NatWest ODI Series and NatWest T20 International match this summer to NatWest current account holders having the chance to enjoy exclusive experiences such as meeting and training with England players.

Chris also signed and personalised a brand new Kookaburra cricket bat for one lucky raffle winner – who turned out to be James Phillips. Nat West then presented Chairman John Underwood with cricket bat signed by the current England team, which will be raffled next season.

If you’d like to find out more about your local cricket team in Medway and Maidstone, visit the HBBHCC website here and when the new season starts,  do as Chris tells you below 😉

DSCN9101 from Jaye Nolan on Vimeo.

Chris said: “Every international cricketer starts their career playing for their local club, and the role community cricket plays in growing our love for the game is vital. I’ve had a great time here at Holcombe and Blue Bell Hill Cricket Club this evening celebrating their good season and saw some real talent in their young bowlers during the competition earlier.”

John Underwood, Chairman of Holcombe and Blue Bell Hill CC, said: “We’ve had a good season and enjoyed our cricket, so it was great to be able to celebrate all of our successes with an Ashes winner in Chris Tremlett. We’re all delighted Lin entered the competition. All of our members, young and old, batsmen and bowlers have had a night that they won’t forget.”

The club would like to thank both Chris and Nat West for making this wonderfully enjoyable evening possible.

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