A life in the week of Richard Kaufman, head of cricket at The Leys School in Cambridgeshire.
The alarm is ringing and it is Monday morning, but it isn't for work. Today instead of coaching and teaching, I am playing. I have woken up in a hotel in Shrewsbury and I am playing for Oxfordshire against Shropshire in two T20s. The weather is scorching and the ground is picture perfect. I think the least said about the cricket the better. We come second. Personally I score 1 and 16. The bowling goes a little better, with 4-38 off the seven overs I bowl. So after playing five games over three days and my body aching from head to toe, I'm back in the car to Cambridge. I arrive back at 10pm and, after unpacking all my kit, I'm in bed for 11pm and ready for a good sleep.
Tuesday morning and I am in the office for 8am with lots of boring administration to do, setting up all the fixtures for the week. We have a block fixture against Oakham in the afternoon. Wednesday the juniors have Oundle while Thursday is a training day. The 1st XI have the first round of the T20 against our local rivals the Perse on Friday night. Then Saturday is another block fixture this time to Norwich. 8.12am and the first drama of the day. My U14B team manager has a bad back and can't make it into school so I’m frantically begging other members of staff to help out. Fortunately a member of the modern languages department steps up and fancies a day in the sun. It's another scorching day and not a cloud in the sky. After a quick lunch four teams jump on the coach to travel over to Oakham - the U15A&B, 3rd XI and the 1st XI. We arrive after a journey of just over an hour. My job is to warm up the 1st XI and get them prepared. Once the game starts I have a little time to look around the impressive facilities Oakham have. The cricket is of high standard and unfortunately the 1st XI lose to a very strong side. However, of the eight fixtures played home and away, we win five and lose three, so not a bad day all in all. The journey back proves difficult as there has been an accident on the A14. We finally arrive back to school at 8.15pm. Once the boarders are fed from the canteen, I head home to watch Southampton play Swansea on Sky Sports, the relegation crunch match.
It's Wednesday morning and I have some time to debrief with other teachers about yesterday's matches. The feedback is that they were even games and everything has gone smoothly. It's another sunny day and this time we are hosting Oundle in an U13A and U13B fixture. These prove to be very even matches, winning one and losing one, with some superb cricket played. The opposition staff are old friends and it is good to catch up at match tea and share ideas about the future of schools’ cricket. The evening is my duty night in the boarding house. This is an enjoyable part of my role and gives me the opportunity to get to know the boys away from the sports field. The evening passes smoothly, except for a broken window caused by a stray ball in the year 11 rooms. It is also a successful evening for the Tottenham fans, who cheer their team on to secure a Champions League place (including me). This is secured with a 1-0 victory over Newcastle.
Thursday morning and time for some administration and to work at my role within the marketing department at The Leys. I am in charge of the school’s social media accounts. This is something I have developed during my time at The Leys and gives me another interest away from the sports field. The afternoon is a training session with the 1st XI as we prepare for tomorrow's T20 fixture against local rivals The Perse. We dropped a lot of catches against Oakham, so high catching is the theme of the session, as well as grass nets on the main square. As soon as this finishes, I rush home to get the shirt and tie on and catch the 4.15pm train to London. I have recently become a member of the MCC and the evening is a new members’ night at Lords. This is a superb evening and just sitting in the Long Room and looking at the history that has gone before in the magnificent Lords Pavilion is a real pleasure. It’s also a free bar, so everyone is very friendly and a good night is had by all.
Friday morning and I wake up in a hotel in South Kensington. The beauty of iPads and modern technology means I can do some administrative duties and social media in my bed with a cup of tea watching breakfast television. I catch the 11.14 back to Cambridge and am back in the office at school for 12.15pm. The weather is set fair and we have our T20 National Cup 1st XI fixture against our local rivals The Perse at 5.15pm. I have a few of the team in the afternoon on the bowling machine to prepare for the match in their sport scholar study periods. We then met as a team after school for the short journey across Cambridge. The match goes very well and we win by 49 runs. The atmosphere in the dressing room is one of celebration and it is these moments that make the job so enjoyable and worthwhile. I get home at 9pm and I am definitely ready for a good sleep.
Saturday and we have a block fixture against Norwich. I have two emails of boys dropping out of the 1st XI, one with illness and the other with a suspected broken big toe. We are leaving on the coach at 9.30am, so I find myself knocking cap in hand on a geography classroom and asking a lower sixth boy to come to Norwich for the day and make his 1st XI debut. We finally get out the gates by 10am and arrive at the ground for 11.30am (which is the scheduled start time). After a hurried warm up we are fielding first. Unfortunately half way through the heavens open and the game is called off. We get back on the coach and head back to Cambridge. The 90 minute journey gives me chance to write the weekly match reports and to send a few emails ready for Monday morning. We arrive back to school for 7pm and a few jobs to do. Dump the training kit in the office, the cricket whites in the laundry and then head home.
Sunday I have no school work planned, but it is back on the road as I am playing cricket in the national knockout. The alarm sounds at 7am. I am looking forward to my ‘day off’ and playing cricket myself. I pop Match of the Day on as I pack my cricket bags, I support Spurs and what a way to finish the season, a 5-4 win against Leicester. Unfortunately my phone beeps and I have a message from the captain. Overnight rain has soaked the wicket and the game is off so I spend my day catching up on some chores, some nice food with friends and walking my spaniel along the river Cam in the sunshine. Teaching is a very rewarding job. Teaching sport to kids who love it is an absolute privilege. I think the most positive thing I can say about my position as head of cricket at The Leys is that I never dislike Monday mornings. The job is a lifestyle and every day is different and enjoyable in its own way.
A LIFE IN THE WEEK OF