Brentwood’s Brailey showing no signs of slowing down yet

Brentwood’s sixth team captain Kevin Brailey says he is loving playing more than ever right now – as most people his age have already retired from the sport.

The 62-year-old, who got into the sport later than most through his children, was keen to send a message out to aging cricketers that they can keep playing if they accept to change their games.

“I’m enjoying it as much as I ever have done, it’s just getting used to different things,” he said.

“I used to love fielding but now it’s that change of wanting the ball to come to me, but now I’d rather it go somewhere else!

“I do the right exercises to keep the knees going and I’m not planning on stopping now, whereas a few years ago I was thinking it was time to stop.

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“Originally I got into cricket through my kids and started off coaching. I started off doing some coaching at Wanstead, then we came here so I got involved and then also started playing more consistently.

“The thing I would say is when I was in my late 40s I was going to pack it in as I had a couple of operations on my knees and I was told to stop and it was all hard work.

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“But once I kept going I got used to the idea I couldn’t run very well, fielding was a bit hard, and now in my 60s I’m enjoying it as much as I ever did.

“It’s kind of a lesson as I see a lot of fellas that stop playing and I think if they got through that period where they need to realise they’re no longer in their 30s and the body changes, but they can get used to that, it can be as much fun.”

The former Hadley Wood and Wanstead player did admit one of his best moments in cricket was during his brief stint as an umpire, although he much prefers playing.

“At one point I started doing a bit of umpiring thinking that I was going to stop playing and become an umpire,” he added.

“I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the same, so I got back into playing.

“I’m not sure about a single stand-out moment, maybe it was umpiring at square leg when the PCA came, when Tino Best (West Indies fast bowler) was coming in from the other end so I couldn’t see the ball,” he chuckled.

Brailey was also chairman of the colts for several years and had a huge impact in bringing back a fifth and sixth team to Brentwood Cricket Club, revealing he was keen to use it to get more dads playing alongside their children as that is what got him into the sport.

“At one point we went down to four teams, but we’ve gradually built it up again,” he added.

“Running a fifth and sixth team is a great way to get youngsters playing and also get dads back playing who stopped or have never played.

“It’s a great way for dads to start playing with kids when they’re growing up. I did it with my lads and it’s something I’d recommend to all the parents really.

“When they turn 13 we say ‘why not play some games with your lad in the team as it’s good fun and you learn a lot’ – then in a year or two they will be too good for you, so make the most of it.

“Cricket is a great game as there aren’t many competitive sports where you can get 60-year-olds playing in the same team as 14-year-olds.

“The age range I think is great, you get time to chat when you’re batting, and I know when my lads were in their teams you get to chat to them and other blokes get to chat to them.

“It’s a way of getting to know them without having to have that sit down with them, saying ‘what do you think about this or that?’

“I think it’s just a great learning experience for the kids and the adults as well as they get to learn about young people.”

Brailey played football until his 30s before finding his love for cricket, but was delighted to get back involved with a team sport.

“I actually played at school, but I played football until my 30s and I had to stop playing because of the knees and ankles,” he said.

“I missed playing team sport, as it’s always something to look forward to after working all week, as it’s getting out doing sport and it’s socialising.”

He has also been influential in finding a ground in Warley for the fifth and sixth teams for Brentwood, adding: “That has been brilliant, one of my mantras with the club has always been you’re as good as your last team.

“Often a club will measure how good they are on their first team, and I accept that, but I think you should be measured on your fourth, fifth or sixth.

“One of the issues in that is normally a ground. Brentwood is lucky to have two pitches, but if you’ve got a fifth and sixth you’d always be moving around.

“A couple of years ago we heard about Great & Little Warley, loved it, and we took it on from there. Since I’ve retired I’ve had more time, so I spend a lot of time there as it’s a value to the community and the cricket club.”

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