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Thu 21st May 2015

By CL Youth/Patrick Tice

Patrick Tice at Cambridge University

Earlier this week Cricket Leinster Youth (@leinsteryouth) caught up with Merrion and ex-Ireland Under 19 cricketer Patrick Tice. Patrick has been studying and playing of late at Cambridge University in England and is here to talk all about his time there.

So Patrick, how did this trip come about?

Perhaps trip is the wrong word. I’ve been studying here in Cambridge for 18 months now, and am coming to the end of my second year. Having had a number of short experiences of the quality of cricket in England thanks to various Leinster underage trips while growing up, I was always keen to come back for an extended period of time. Those tours gave me a taste of the quality of cricket and facilities over here, so for a long time it was my ambition to apply to Cambridge University, one of the few places in the world where top level cricket and academics can be enjoyed in tandem.

Was it beneficial to your cricket game?

Absolutely. To be honest, I think I really needed a new start in cricket and Cambridge gave me just that. After a couple of lean seasons at home, it was refreshing to arrive in a place without the baggage of previous missed catches and bad innings hanging over me! 

The coaching over here has been superb as well. Chris Scott, the head of the center, has been brilliant in helping to me to understand my own game, and so formulate an e?ective game plan. He’s helped me appreciate that having an elegant technique is a waste of time if it doesn’t produce an output of runs. Better to play to your strengths and avoid your weaknesses, even if for me that means scoring barely any runs through the proverbial V!

What was di?erent from the Irish set up over there?  

I’ve noticed two major di?erences over here. Firstly, the sheer quantity of cricket and training far exceeds what I was used to at home. In the winter, the indoor center is permanently open and available meaning I was able to train at times that suited my schedule. Being only a ten minute bike ride from the center, I was able to train at least four times a week for as long as I wanted. During the summer, the intensity moves up another gear, such that I’ve kept wicket for approximately 700 overs already this season, which is roughly the amount I was used to covering during an entire summer. I’ve always felt that I play my best cricket when playing lots and regularly, and being at Cambridge has allowed me to do just that. As important as training and doing fitness sessions are, there’s no substitute for simply playing the game. I’m not certain limiting oneself to one, possibly two, 50 over matches a week can really improve someone’s skills. At least, that was certainly my own experience in my last two full summers in Ireland. 

Secondly, the quality of seam bowling feels di?erent over here. At home, there aren’t that many bowlers around that can consistently bowl back of a length at a good pace. However in the MCCU Universities set up, that brand of bowling is very much the stock diet. So batsmen without a sound method against this style do struggle to be successful.

Did you have any personal highlights?

My two personal highlights have been playing against Martin Guptill (who lined up for Derbyshire) last month. Witnessing him stroke an imperious 150, in his first match since the World Cup final, although painful at the time, was in hindsight quite special. Seeing such class at such close quarters will stay with me for a long time.

My second highlight has to be my maiden competitive hundred that I scored last week (May 13th) against Oxford MCCU. It was made all the more sweeter by the fact that we ended up winning the match, chasing down 465 in 105 overs. I came to the wicket at 75 for 4, so to leave the crease with a faint chance of victory was satisfying. However, most of the credit must go to the rest of our lower order who showed unbelievable nerve under pressure to get us over the line. Nonetheless, it was still a sweet personal moment, and a nice testament to how much I think I’ve probably improved since arriving here.

Finally, what's next for you? What's your next step?

I’m really not one for setting goals. I’ve had enough hard times in cricket to know that it’s important to enjoy the good times without trying to look too far ahead. At the moment, I want to keep working as hard as I can at my game (while trying to pass my exams at the same time...) and hopefully be part of a team that beats Oxford in the first-class fixture in early July. After that, I look forward to coming back to Ireland and doing my best for Merrion. It’s up to the powers that be to decide if I’ve earned another shot at representative cricket. I’m only twenty years old and plan to play cricket for a lot longer yet so where the game will take me, I’ll just have to wait and see.

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