AS another cricket season ends, Alex Wort can reflect on a ‘mad day’ he will never forget.

With less than ideal preparation, the athletics coach produced the performance of his life with the bat in a match for Glazebury Cricket Club’s seconds away to Appleton in his penultimate innings of the 2018 campaign.

Runs were something he had reserved for the race track but the former Warrington Athletics Club international decathlon competitor stunned even himself with a 131 total, considering his previous best score had been just 15.

READ: The day Alex Wort made his Great Britain debut

His incredible 250-run stand with Phil McCue (116 not out) is the best in the UK Fast Cheshire Cricket League this year, while a third centurion in an eye-catching game – Appleton’s Phil Pugh ¬– helped the hosts to secure a draw despite three wickets taken by Wort.

But the 83-ball innings from Wort, who hit a swashbuckling six sixes and 17 fours in his team’s 272-5 declared, is all the more striking for the 24-year-old’s build-up to the time spent at the crease – which included umpiring duties.

“It was a bit of a mad day for me,” said Wort, a former Culcheth High School student who also competes in athletics league meetings for Sale Harriers.

“My athletics coaching in Manchester had overrun by about 20 minutes, so I had to rush to Appleton in time for the game.

“I got there about five minutes before the start. Luckily, we were batting first and I don’t tend to bat high up the order.

“I got changed and then got told I was going out there as umpire, because I’m one of the few who can.

“So I umpired for the first few overs and when wickets started to tumble I had to quickly scurry off and get pads ready.

“Just as I was putting my pads on another wicket went and I had to run-in to start batting.

“We were in a bit of a precarious position at 24-4.

“Luckily Phil McCue was at the other end and he’s a lot more experienced than me.

“He’s the one who kept me calm and I literally just took it a ball at a time.

“I had my bits of luck every now and then, like edges that just beat the slip. It was just one of those days whereby if the luck’s with you then you’re going to play well.

“During the season I’ve not played as many games as I would have liked but those I have played in I’ve tried to be a bit more patient and played my shots a bit.

“In other matches I’ve played my shot and just been unlucky with the outcome, but this time I managed to get away with a few and just kept a calm head and kept plodding on.

“It’s definitely the highlight of my career so far. I played as a kid during high school where I was ok, but even then my best score was only in the teens.

“I had a few years off just focusing on athletics and I only came back to cricket last year when I got a few wickets but batting wasn’t really a big thing.

“This year, again I got a few more wickets but that big score encourages me to kick on next year hopefully and have a few more consistent scores with a good average rather than just a few teens and one big score.”

The dash to the match and the umpiring duties never gave him much time to think about the part he was going to play at the crease – and he feels that may have helped him.

“If you’re just sitting and watching a match going on, waiting with your pads on thinking I’ll probably be in soon and thinking what shots am I going to play, that can just cause havoc in your mind.

“Whereas this was pads on, bang, boom, straight into bat. It was about getting my eye in.

“But also because I’d been doing a bit of umpiring in the match earlier on, I’d already seen what the opening bowlers were doing and what areas they were trying to hit.

“I was a bit more prepared in that sense. If I’d just been sitting there waiting to go out and bat, I probably wouldn’t have gone as well as I did.”

The all-rounder element of cricket makes the sport suited to a man who won the England Under 20s Indoor Heptathlon Championships in 2012 and achieved silver in the national decathlon event the same year, going on to represent England and Great Britain.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Guardian:

Alex Wort, back in his days competing with Warrington Athletics Club

“Cricket is ideal for me because it fits in with my mentality of trying to be decent at everything – I like a good bowl, I like to bat, and fielding too,” he said.

With so much of his time now taken up by athletics coaching – and running the photo-finish at IAAF events on a freelance basis for Seiko – he says playing cricket keeps his ‘competitive instincts’ flowing.

“I coach in schools and at clubs as well as doing a couple of other jobs as well,” he said.

“I go to IAAF events like the Continental Cup that was on recently in Ostrava (Czech Republic), setting up and operating the photo-finish. I was in Birmingham doing the photo-finish for the World Indoors as well this year.

“Also I deliver events for Sportshall Athletics throughout the year, which is good fun. It all keeps me very busy.”