WALKING into Batting 4 6 in Retford, with the smell of freshly cut grass wafting through my nostrils, it felt a lot like stepping into the middle at Lord’s.
Looking up from the hallowed turf, it’s hard to miss the 300-odd cricket bats on the far wall stocked neatly in front of a sightscreen.
Having always thought of myself as a bit of an all-rounder, I was eager to get the gloves on and reacquaint my inner-child’s ambition to lead England to glory in the Ashes.
Australia were the dominant force in the ‘90s, but the tables have turned somewhat since then - and so has cricket.
The sport has seen the introduction of television replays, interaction between fielders and commentators during matches and the hugely entertaining Twenty20 games - all of which has helped to spark a wave of interest from the youth of today. And aiding development in the sport at grassroot level has long been discussed - something the specialist cricket company has a hand in themselves.
Owner Mark Shevill has a big role at his club Woodseats where he is chairman, first team captain and junior coach.
He said: “I think everyone should have the opportunity of extra curricular activities, getting them away from being fed up and finding less useful things to do.”
“Cricket can get them as part of a team and part of a community.”
“It’s not just about going out there on a Saturday afternoon, there are so many different aspects of a cricket club. There’s something there for everyone.”
Having played and coached the game for many years, it’s clear Mark sleeps and breathes the sport.
“We have a wide range of products and we try and cater for every ability and every budget. We have bats from £20 to £400 of all different brands,” he said. “Coming into Batting46 is all about having an experience. It’s not just another visit to a shop.”
“If you were to come into the shop I would give five or ten minutes of coaching points.”
“When people walk out the shop I want them to be happy and to know they have gone out with the best possible product that suits that person.” The Carolgate shop has a batting mat, where Mark conducts coaching sessions, and a rebounding net to improve catching, though I fear my childhood dreams have long since gone.
From gloves, pads, bats and helmets to whites, sunglasses, suncream and a range of technical equipment - Batting 4 6 really is The Home of Cricket.