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Cricketer bats for 17 hours to help club and charity

Posted onPosted on 4th Jul
Cricketer bats for 17 hours to help club and charity

A Farndon cricket refused to be stumped by the coronavirus lockdown and instead raised more than £2,600 for his village cricket club and Newark-based mental health and wellbeing charity Shaw Mind.

Martyn Hill, 30, who admitted that the lockdown had caused him mental health issues, invited local cricketers to bowl at him for 20-minute spells as part of his marathon Sunrise to Sunset Bat-a-thon.

He faced 2,557 balls from more than 50 bowlers between 4.43am and 9.21pm and was out just 29 times.

Martyn, who is a Chance to Shine Schools Officer and Junior Outlaws coach at Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, has been a member of Farndon Cricket Club since he was 11 and said the sport had helped him tackle mental health issues.

“As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the world we live in and a lot of people have really struggled to adjust to this new world,” he said.

“At first, I found it extremely difficult. I earn my living coaching large groups of young people, helping them to play and enjoy playing cricket, a sport that has been a major part of my life for 20 years now. This summer it looks like the cricket season is going to come and go without many games being played.

“Although I am currently on furlough from my work, an easing in restrictions a few weeks ago has meant that I have been able to access the outdoor facilities at my beloved Farndon CC where I have been offering 1-1 coaching for junior and senior club members. And the response I have received has been incredible.

“I have loved seeing all the junior players and senior teammates. Together we have been able to enjoy that little bit of normality squeezed into a 40-minute net session. However, since the lockdown has been eased, the biggest change I have noticed has been in my own mind and body.

“The days of furlough were getting longer but I was being less and less productive, stuck in a rut of negativity and uncertainty. All of a sudden a new lease of life has been injected in to me and the cricketing bug is back. This got me thinking about how cricket for me isn’t just about being active and releasing that competitive side in me, but in how it affects the mind.

“Cricket for me has always been a world away from day to day life. On a Saturday afternoon on the field with my mates, relaxing with drinks in the bar afterwards, it is an opportunity to be relieved of the anxieties and stresses of life; it reinvigorates me.

“This made me think: how many people out there feel the same as I do? Not able to socialise within that close circle of friends. Not even able to have a care free world for one day at the weekend. Not able to have that break from life. Not having that close friend sat next to them to say ‘how are you?’

“In the past I have struggled with mental health issues and through any therapy I have had, aside from family and friends, cricket has always had a massively positive impact on my recovery, it’s my happy place. And without it I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Peter Wingrove, operations director at Shaw Mind, added: “We are delighted that Martyn is fundraising for us in addition to his beloved cricket club. Team activities, particularly sports, are a great way for people to support one another when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.

“We know that guys traditionally find it difficult to open up and talk about their feelings, so we’re pleased to see how comfortable Martyn is about talking things through with his teammates, he sets a great example.”

Shaw Mind, a charity which supports those experiencing mental ill-health, has adapted its weekly community outreach programme – which usually includes a men-only ManCave group, into an online, telephone, text and email support service during the lockdown.

Donations are still being accepted until Friday, 10th July, and anyone wishing to make a contribution can do so at