Jake Ball – the Welbeck, Nottinghamshire and England fast bowler – says walking out for his county at the John Fretwell Sporting Complex will feel, as it has for the last four years, like coming home.
The Mansfield-born seamer’s road to county and international honours began with the Sookholme Road outfit, making the four-day fixture against Hampshire a home game like no other for the 28-year-old.
“When you’re back at your own club, it does add something,” said the 24-time England international.
“I’ll have more friends and family watching than I do at Trent Bridge, and the lads I played with at Welbeck will be down as well. You want to make sure you do well for them.
“It’s a really nice atmosphere – the fans get closer to the action than they would at Trent Bridge, so you feel connected to them. You certainly get a bit more banter when you’re fielding at fine leg!
“It all makes for more of a festival atmosphere. The guys really enjoy playing there.”
This will be the fifth consecutive year that Nottinghamshire have visited the north Notts venue, with the home side having won three of the four completed one-day games over that period.
Ball had high praise for the pitches that have been prepared for each of those matches as the venue prepares its inaugural surface for a four-day first-class fixture.
“Everybody will be looking forward to getting there and playing on the wicket.
“Over the past few years, if you’ve got in as a batsman you’ve been able to score runs, and as a bowler there’s been pace and bounce on offer. You can’t ask for any more in a pitch.
“I played a second team game there a few years ago, and it gave the sort of carry you always want as a bowler.
“I’m looking forward to getting there and hopefully taking a few wickets.”
Welbeck Cricket Club, Nottinghamshire’s picturesque northern outpost, will play host to the county’s four-day Specsavers County Championship clash against Hampshire starting on Sunday 9th June.