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Lee Nelson: I see NHS staff leaving for work morning, noon and night and cricket becomes insignificant



Waringstown cricket captain Lee Nelson

Waringstown cricket captain Lee Nelson

Waringstown cricket captain Lee Nelson

We are asking our sporting personalities how they are dealing with action coming to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic and how it has affected their daily lives.

Today, we speak to Waringstown cricket captain Lee Nelson.

Q: How are you keeping?

A: Fine and well thanks, probably like most other sports people missing their chosen sport and wishing to get back to normal as soon as possible but for now we will just have to be patient and hope we can ride out the storm of Covid-19 as best as we possibly can.

Q: How have you been affected?

A: It's obviously been very frustrating. Up until now I don't think The Lawn (Waringstown's home ground) has ever looked better for this time of year and the weather leading into the start of the season was perfect. I was pretty confident we had the majority of things in order that we needed to be back competing for the league title. As for work, I work as an area sales manager for Pallas Foods. That is mainly made up of supplying hotels, bars and restaurants which means I'm currently on the government furlough scheme.

Q: How are you keeping fit?

A: The one benefit to all this I guess is having time on my hands and the weather has been great so it's been easy to get out and about - I've been out every morning - taking myself off to probably the same places I did as a kid which I had forgotten about - different routes and places which has been nice, sometimes walking, sometimes running. I've even bought a bike, anything to get the day in!

Q: How are you maintaining morale, yours and the team?

A: I'd say the same as every other team, on WhatsApp groups. Some of the guys even logged on to a Zoom call last Saturday at 12pm which would have been the start of the season. We were due to be at home to Instonians. We were actually due to go to Edinburgh for a pre-season tour, which would have been something different for us.

Hopefully we can do it next year because it's always nice to play teams you wouldn't normally come up against and pre-season tours are great for team bonding.

Q: Where are you drawing your personal strength from now?

A: I guess you've got to put everything into a sense of reality. It's easy to get down about not playing cricket and when the season was due to start and so on, but I just have to look at my own housing estate where I see front-line workers, NHS nurses leaving for work morning, noon and night to help fight this virus then all of a sudden cricket becomes an insignificance.

Q: Sports fans are staying at home, too. Could you recommend a book, film or box set you think they would like?

A: The most recent one I watched was, no surprise, a sporting one - 'The Test' on Amazon Prime. It's a series documentary which follows the Australian cricket team for a year. It doesn't matter what sport you are into, I think it's worth a watch.

I seem to be watching a lot of sporting documentaries and another one is 'Sunderland Til I Die'. It goes behind the scenes of the football club. You think professional clubs would be run differently than yours and you find out they have the same struggles as everyone.

Q: What life lessons are you learning from this crisis?

A: To never moan again about getting up and going to work, heading to training in the evenings when you think that you couldn't be bothered, or playing two or three games a week - I think that a lot of us will probably be saying the same thing.

If this is what it's like when you stop playing then I'll be trying to play for as long as I possibly can. I'm hoping to start my 15th season and certainly don't want one wiped out at this stage of my career.

Q: What's the first thing you will do when all this is over?

A: It would just be nice to get out training with the boys again. We had started the outdoors stuff in March and now we will have to start that all over again.

I do have my best mate's (Waringstown opening batsman Adam Dennison) stag to help organise as he's getting married in December so I just hope everything has passed and that he doesn't miss out on anything. That's from an unselfish point of view, of course!

Q: And your message to the club supporters?

A: Stay safe and well. If and when we get any cricket this year then I look forward to seeing you all but in the meantime take care of yourselves and your family and hopefully sunny days at The Lawn are not too far away.

Belfast Telegraph