Sefton Park CC member and event organiser Mark Boyns reports back from last weekend’s amazing memorial cricket match and fundraising day in memory of their team mate Alex Miller.
After finalising the majority of preparations, all we were talking about the night before was the weather. When organising anything outdoors in England there is never a reliable companion to be found in our climate. In cricket, the ability to even start the game depends upon conditions being suitable and as such the sport has thousands of cod-meteorologists making predictions on cloud cover, rain and the possibility of sunshine. Most days there’d be a shrug and retreat home if rainfall prevented play but not on Sunday. This was for Alex.
A great part of his year has been spent throwing about ideas and plans for the game and co-ordination wasn’t easy with so many involved doing such a variety of tasks to help. Our day started with a presentation from State of Mind, an organisation with its roots in rugby league. Their message, however, is applicable to all sports and their representatives got us all thinking about the themes of mental health wellbeing. When the start time came there was no rain and the ground was fit to play so as the two teams moved outside so did the gathered supporters. The first burgers were thrown on the bbq, pints were poured and programmes read. An hour or so later, with more and more arriving, the sun made an appearance. It was hard not to think of Alex then, cricket being played in front of us in his favourite spot, and if he’d had a word upstairs to get the heat turned up.
As team mates, friends and rivals from other clubs fought it out on the pitch, spectators paid tribute in their own ways. Whether it be sharing memories, catching up with mutual mates or just quietly recalling the life of a young man who has inspired us all to improve by the example he used to set in training. Part of Alex’s legacy has been to change our collective attitude to ‘do it today’ rather than ‘wait until tomorrow’. Alongside this, we’ve also seen signs of members talking more, being more open and not believing in the stereotype that ‘silent is strong.’
When the game was completed, our raffle drawn and people drifted away there was still a buzz. From something so tragic, something that continues to produce sadness there is now a growing feeling that Alex, although not physically here, is guiding us through the next period at the club. The name of CALM is now well known across Merseyside cricket and involvement from other teams, be it through coming on the day or messages of support, has added another positive dimension to our project. In future there’s so much more we will do- in fundraising, in awareness and in memory of Al – for now we reflect on a day that did exactly what we wanted and then some more.