A tough time to be head groundsman

Ashington Cricket Club's Michael Levison, who is head groundsman as well as a player.
Ashington Cricket Club's Michael Levison, who is head groundsman as well as a player.
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IT is just not cricket – as Michael Levison will confirm.

Ashington’s right hand batsman, who also doubles up doing the job of head groundsman, is currently going through the experience of an unwanted hat-trick.

His cricketing career has been vastly curtailed over the past three years during which time he has had two operations, now his preparation of the wicket and ground at Langwell Crescent on several occasions this year has proved to be a waste of time due to the inclement weather.

But even when games have managed to go ahead, 34-year-old Levison has been left kicking his heels in frustration.

“I had my first operation in 2009 when I had a square inch of cartilage missing, which was followed by 12 months recuperation,” he said.

“Then in my first game back I had pain in the other knee.

“I saw a different surgeon who said that I had the same problem and the process was repeated.

“I had my second operation in January this year and was told that the rehab may be a bit faster and that I may be able to play cricket again this term – but effectively I have ruled that out as I’m still not right.

“My target is to be OK for next season.

“I have missed a lot of cricket and am frustrated, especially after the other knee went in my comeback match.

“The knee still needs to be strengthened up quite a lot and I am doing physio at home with the exercise bike and leg routines, and I seem to get more good days than bad.”

The job of groundsman is a two-edged sword, however.

Levison added: “It does tend to take my mind off things, but it’s hard when I spend so much time preparing the ground then realise I can’t play.

“I still get the Saturday morning buzz – but when the lads are going through their warm-up session, I’m usually walking off the field preparing to sit and watch.”

Levison, a construction engineer, is ready to embark on a new post with Newcastle-based Robert McAlpine, leaving his job with Carillion in Gateshead.

“I’m excited because my first task will be working on the new paint factory in North Seaton,” he said.