Spalding all-rounder passing on his class and still at the top of his game
Class is permanent – and all-rounder Chris Dring is at his happiest passing on his undoubted class to the next generation of talent at Spalding Cricket Club.
With more than 4,300 runs and 171 wickets to his name, the 41-year-old is still posting astounding figures. A season’s best 111 for the 2nd team in May has contributed to an amazing average of 105.
With eldest son Ollie - a batsman/wicket-keeper already a regular alongside dad at the age of 13 - and 11-year-old Barnaby expected to progress to the adult game next year, it’s a family affair.
“We’re a bit obsessed and it’s a bit full on in the summer,” says Dring.
“My wife doesn’t mind but we are wearing out the washing machine! I didn’t force the boys into cricket. They pretty much took to it themselves and love it.”
Dring was just a little older than Ollie when he first started playing for Spalding Under-17s. He progressed through the 2nd team and into the 1st XI while he was a teenager, captaining them at 21.
He then played for Burghley Park before joining Bourne for his first taste of Premier League cricket.
What he classes as his finest hour came at Abbey Lawn ten years ago – his one and only century in the top flight. The only downside was that his knock of 120 in the derby against Market Deeping could not prevent a four-wicket defeat.
A third knee operation led him to take a break from the game and he turned to golf. But when Ollie and Barnaby started to show interest and talent, he returned to Spalding with the aim of using his skill and experience for the good of the youngsters.
“I love coaching more than anything, I find it really rewarding,” said Dring. “We’ve got lots of good players coming through the junior set-up and we’ve got lots of kids playing with their fathers, which is great.”
It won’t be long before his season is curtailed again - as a farmer, his involvement is vastly reduced as soon as the harvest begins. That could impact on Spalding 2nd’s bid to win South Lincs and Border League Division One.
Dring said: “I’ve never scored as many runs as this season but when you get to 41 years old, you walk off and forget about it. If I’ve scored a century but Ollie hasn’t had a good game, then I’m fed up.”
Among his proudest achievements was touring Finland five years ago with the revered Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), for whom he has also notched a century.
His top score in league cricket came a year later - an unbeaten 150 for Spalding 2nd at Billingborough.
And the good news for Spalding is that he has no intention of giving up the game just yet.
“There’s no reason not to carry on. I love what I’m doing at the club and get a lot out of it,” he added.
Spalding 2nd skipper Matt Gill says Dring’s influence this season has been key and his mark on the club will be enduring. It’s great to have consistent figures in the 2nd team allowing junior players to develop and express themselves as players,” he said.
“Chris has been able to play a pivotal role this season as a senior player. His runs have taken pressure off other players and given the whole team a boost of confidence and, for me as captain, allowed us to be both a learning environment for younger players while still being competitive within our league.
“He’s well known on the local cricket circuit and he’s a great bloke to have around the club. We share an ethos of ‘winning is great fun but playing the right way will be better in the long run’.”
More by this authorNigel Chapman