Two Overs At ... Mark Hague

Haguey With the volume dialled up to 11, our newest keeper sits down for a quick chat about his cricketing heroes, suggestions for the future of the club, and a little comment about Watty's shorts!

Tell us a little about your cricketing background?  
I started playing cricket at the age of 9 at Bury Cricket Club. I played for each of their junior teams as well as representing Lancashire at junior level. I moved from Bury to Unsworth at the age of 23 where I enjoyed 3 good years. I took a short break from the game before returning this year to TSJ after not being able to put up with Watty giving me earache about not playing for him any longer.

Who are your cricketing heroes?
Actually a TSJ old boy, Pete Allen. I remember watching Pete at Bury when I was younger and being amazed by not only his skill, speed and all round ability behind the stumps but also his bravery. He used to stand up to anyone no matter how quick they were and he never wore a helmet. One highlight was watching him stand up (and take a leg side stumping) off a bowler called Lesroy Irish. Lesroy is described on CricInfo as "Fast-Medium" but he was absolutely rapid. Pete had no issues standing up to him and by doing so, I have no doubt Lesroy got many more wickets than if another keeper had stood back. I have always tried to copy Pete in standing up as much as possible and if I am half as good at it as he was, I will be doing well.

What led you to wicket keeping?
As above, Pete was a big inspiration but also, I grew up playing football as a goalkeeper and seemed to have decent hand eye co-ordination (it has deteriorated with age) so it was a natural fit for me really. I did bowl a bit as a junior but always got bored fielding. Being a keeper you are constantly involved in the game and that really attracted me.

Any advice for aspiring keepers?
Always wear a helmet when standing up! And, be clever in your "chat" with batsmen. Too many keepers (and fielders) think you have to F and Jeff at the batsmen to get under their skin and that isn't the case. Often a clever, quiet word to break their concentration is much more effective.

You've won a million in the lottery – first purchase?
Some jeans for Watty so he stops wearing those German shorts!

Who is your favourite opponent (individual and/or team) and who have you had the biggest row with on the field?
This year I have enjoyed playing against my old club, Bury. It was strange being back there as an opponent after so many years playing there and it was a shame it wasn't a winning return but they are a good set of lads. Biggest row? I know it's hard to believe, but I don't fall out with that many people on the field. I think people know I play hard (and loud) but I am not malicious or aggressive and will have a pint with anyone after the game.

However, one row I had have this year was with Rowdy after he gave me out LBW when it hit me on the hip. Still bought him a pint afterwards though!

What's been your proudest sporting moment?
I have had a few! Representing Lancashire was pretty special as was playing for Manchester City, United and Liverpool throughout my youth but my proudest was probably completing Tough Mudder (if that's a sport). For those that don't know, Tough Mudder is a half marathon sized, brutal assault course which contains, mud (lots of mud), freezing water, fire and electrocution. It took 5 hours to complete but we raised £3000 for MacMillan in the process which was a very proud achievement.

What other sports do you enjoy, either playing or watching?
Outside of cricket I am a Senior National League Basketball referee (thankfully there is no clash with the cricket season) and I am a Man City fan but I wouldn't class myself as a die-hard fan! I have also recently taken up cycling to try and beat the Manchester traffic with limited success.

What do you like to do with any free time?
I don't have much spare time to enjoy! But when I do have some, I enjoy spending time with my better half Steph, trying new places to eat and drink and spending as much time with our families as we can.

Name one thing that would improve TSJ as a club, either on or off the field?
I think one of the biggest changes is currently happening with the ground renovation. Kieran (and others) work really hard on the ground and it will be great to see their hard work rewarded with a flat ground once the works are complete.

The other obvious addition would be a junior section but I know Rome wasn't built in a day!

If you could be a celebrity for a day, who would you choose and why?
Peter Kay, without a doubt. The funniest man of my generation and he brings a smile to everyone’s face who he interacts with.

Funniest thing you've ever seen during a game?
It has to be the Freddie Flintoff – Tino Best "Watch the windows, Tino" sledge a few years ago! That was superb and the perfect example of how to get into a batter's head!

If you'd like to take a turn in the hotseat, please drop Doc P a line via and we'll whizz you over some questions. We'd be delighted to hear from players, supporters, partners, friends of the club or anyone who fancies taking part - all welcome!

I Will if You Will Biffaward

Beryl Avenue, Tottington, Bury, BL8 3NF
Twitter: @TottyStJohnsCC