I rekindled my love of sports photography lately when I photographed a local village cricket match, whilst on holiday in Dorset. The photos are below so jump straight to them if you'd rather.
I'd never photographed cricket before so was keen to give it a go, and I had two cricket teams playing a friendly game on my doorstep, barely a 'big 6' away from my family's holiday cottage. And the captains very sportingly agreed to let me photograph their match - thanks Jim and Jeff (that's them above, giving Covid-friendly greetings)!
Wriggle Valley have a lovely pitch right in the heart of a wonderfully friendly and pretty village, Chetnole, which is in between Yeovil and Dorchester. As a family we spent a lot of the holiday on that ground where dotted around the cricket pitch (guarded by a fence to protect against rabbit droppings) there is a playground, cricket nets, church, football goals (with nets!), basketball hoop, netball hoop AND petanque area (a bit like boules - I joined one of the village sessions, which was lovely, though I wasn't particularly good).
Both teams were just like many other amateur cricket teams at this level, a bunch of people turning out for their local team for the love of the game, and for having a good friendly, but competitive, game together - and as much as the sporting side of it, it was this communal side of the gathering I was aiming to capture too.
Weather-wise, thunder was forecast, but it never came and it was a perfect hot summer's evening, which brought out a few of the locals too, to spectate.
The match itself was very eventful. Each innings was limited to 18 overs, with 'Covid-friendly' wash breaks every 6 overs to wash hands and the ball. The home team batted first and set a large tally for the visitors to chase. You have to keep on your toes watching cricket, as it includes various boundary shots - even reaching the church walls and the parked cars!
The visitor's captain went out for a duck first ball (caught), and another batsman went on the next ball (also caught I think - I was taking wide shots at the time). Wriggle's bowler didn't get the hat-trick but the good start continued as the visitors crawled to 21 runs for 5 (!).
Despite this, as well as a number of retirements due to 'rustiness', the game was played in good spirits and it was a fun evening.
(I hope my cricket terminology use is up to scratch - I'm not sure).
My own long lens (70-200mm on a full frame camera) was certainly not up to the job of capturing head and bodyshots of any of the main batsmen or bowlers during the game. You'll notice a few shots of the middle of the pitch but these are heavily cropped.
I was happy to settle for some lovely wideshots of the surroundings and sky, and a collection of natural background shots centred 'around' the main action, including before the game. These are what really interest me, and it's this lovely sociable atmosphere that has even made me half consider joining my local cricket team. You don't need to be able to bowl or bat do you? I can catch and throw pretty well!
I have added a 150-600mm lens to my wishlist, to get those close-ups.
Enjoy the photos!