CRICKET LIGHTENS THE MOOD FOR STAGS
CRICKET LIGHTENS THE MOOD FOR STAGS
Evening Post, 06 April 2007
The improving spring weather and inspiration of the World Cup on television has brought cricket to Field Mill.
Keen to match the exploits of Sanath Jayasuriya, Ricky Ponting et al, a couple of the players nipped over to the nearby retail park on Monday to purchase a bat, ball and some stumps.
It was not long before the squad had their own game going on the five-a-side pitches behind the West Stand.
But, according to left winger cum striker Michael Boulding, a Mansfield Town CC is a long way off judging from the talent on show.
"I think quite a few of the boys fancy themselves as cricketers, but I'm not so sure," he said.
"We got the bat out on Monday and had a game for half an hour and I have to say that Dutch (Paul Holland) looked to be the best player.
"I'm rubbish at batting, but I've got a decent arm and the fact that I was bowling with my left arm caused them a few problems I think.
"Ireland might have done well in the World Cup, but I have to say that the Irish lads were terrible!"
The cricket has helped lighten the mood in what has not been the easiest of weeks for Stags boss Billy Dearden.
His future at the club has still to be confirmed and he also faces a mounting injury crisis.
Jake Buxton had an operation on his knee on Monday, as did Jonathan D'Laryea on his ankle yesterday. Both are expected to be out for two to three weeks.
Add to that Jon-Olav Hjelde (calf) and Stephen Dawson (hamstring), who are also big doubts for tomorrow's visit of Bristol Rovers, and it is clear that the Stags boss is struggling for bodies through the spine of the team.
But Boulding is still optimistic the Stags can get a result against a side where there are several familiar faces to him.
Former Stag Craig Disley was just breaking into the side towards the end of his first spell at Mansfield.
Boulding also knows the Pirates' director of football Lennie Lawrence (his manager at Grimsby) and Stuart Campbell (a team-mate at the Mariners). The 31-year-old said: "Rovers are a decent team who look to get it down and pass it.
"I know Dis and Stuart having played with them and they are both good players.
"Dis is a threat because he makes a lot of runs into the opposition box. He showed that when he scored the winner for them against us at their place earlier in the season.
"He has good energy levels but at the same time he is also a decent player on the ball and he has done well since he has made the move down there."
"But we do seem to play better against the sides going well. We just need to get an early foothold in the game."
Boulding is uncertain about his Field Mill future after returning to the game this season following a break.
But he insists he would like to stay on at Mansfield - and be given the chance to prove himself as a striker.
He said: "I really need to be playing up front regularly because otherwise it takes something out of my game."
Proud moments for stand-in skipper/centre half Jelleyman
CHAD WEBSITE, 05 April 2007
STAND-IN Stags skipper Gareth Jelleyman looks set for a second proud moment in just over a week.
Last weekend he skippered the side in his home town of Wrexham and on Monday is almost certain to be captain when he goes back to his old club, Peterborough United.
And the left back will almost certainly be played out of position at central defender again this weekend.
"I have been given a lot more responsibility now as captain and I am really enjoying it," he said.
"Usually you just concentrate on your own game but now I am having to get other players going as well and watch what they are doing.
"It was strange to begin with but now I feel I can do it a lot better than when I was unprepared.
"I have never really thought about wanting to become captain as I still see myself as young - though I know I am getting on a bit now!
"It was sort of thrust upon my shoulders but I am enjoying it.
"When I came to Mansfield I was one of the younger lads at Peterborough yet here I was suddenly one of the more experienced pros which was a bit strange.
"But I have had a couple of years to get used to it and feel I have grown up while I have been here."
Having got used to being captain, all of a sudden Jelleyman had to get used to being a centre half last weekend after Jon Hjelde limped off at Wrexham.
"I really enjoyed it," he said. "I never though I would be asked to be a centre half but Billy Dearden asked me to do the job and I thought it went well.
"Alex John-Baptiste and Asa Charlton helped me a lot. Asa has played there before so I asked them to keep shouting at me where I should be.
"It was a proud moment to lead the team out in my home town last weekend and it will be nice to do the same on Monday at Peterborough where I still know a lot of people. But we have Bristol Rovers to think about before that."
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