After a weekend of introduction to Durham nightlife for Tom and Luke, Laura joined, and the 2018/19 placement team was whole for the first time. It was a week of firsts, as a Loughborough student joined the Performance Advantage team; subsequently, two Bath students managed to put up with him for more than 5 minutes! We arrived at Maiden Castle (The Durham University Sports Centre and our winter base) and Phil took us on a walk around Durham to get our bearings.
After heading over to The Riverside Cricket Ground at Chester-Le-Street for some soup and nachos prepared by Phil, we began a whistle-stop tour of the equipment by taking apart the summers’ cricket setup. Phil showed us the infamous John Muir video (an Australian extreme adventurer), which summed up the ethos of Performance Advantage and carried many key messages for us to take forward throughout the year:
- Be a problem solver, not a problem maker.
- Ask yourself, “What would Jon Muir do?” (Answer: Quite literally anything necessary to get the job done!)
Moving onto our first BUCS Wednesday, our first assignment was the Rugby League and Union games at Newcastle University, driving past the famous Angel of the North and catching a glimpse of St. James’ Park in the process. Working two different cameras and setups, we quickly got to grips with lots of equipment. Luke worked in “the burger van” with James for the first half of the Rugby League whilst Tom showed Laura the ropes with filming the tight angle for the Union, having had a week of experience filming preseason hockey with Durham University – learning one of the cardinal sins first hand (see list below). This was the first proper taste of what was to come over the winter period (although the weather was surprisingly warm!).
After our first big game day, Tom and Laura practised coding the Rugby games whilst Luke set about creating a code window for Badminton and practised on footage from the Olympics using Nacsport. Turns out coding can be a difficult process but with plenty of practice, we will hopefully be up to coding at x4 speed soon, which James seems to be able to do in his sleep!
Weekends so far have consisted of National League Hockey with Durham Uni, and Rugby with external clubs (Blaydon and Darlington Mowden Park Sharks). Tom, with his background in hockey, has taken a lead with the Hockey, live coding games while either Luke or Laura films, with the other filming the Rugby.
To stay in touch with all things Cricket related, this last week saw an introduction to coding data from the Afghan Premier League. This data we’re processing is added to the Durham CCC and Yorkshire CCC databases, allowing player performances to be tracked and presented as potential candidates to be signed by the clubs, or providing comprehensive performance breakdowns should they face up against them in the season.
Away from the actual placement work itself, The Brewhouse accommodation has led us into living with a selection of international postgrads with sports scholarships. This has already made for some interesting and sociable experiences! With 5 tennis players in our house of 17, we quickly made friends in the tennis circles. We have also all got involved with local teams up in Durham. Laura is playing for Durham City netball, Darlington Haughton volleyball and training with Durham University Volleyball Club. Tom is playing for Durham City Hockey Club. Luke is playing for Durham City Badminton Club as their number 1 seed and transferred up into the Durham County Squad too.
Overall, these few weeks have been a steep learning curve, with plenty Muir to come!
The List of Cardinal Sins:
- Never change a working setup
- Keep mounting plates with corresponding tripods (@ Tom)
- Make sure the camera is recording (@ Luke)