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Luke Procter: Skips, Tats and Earrings

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Written by : published Saturday 11th June 2011

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Yesterday’s televised Friends Life Twenty20 roses clash saw the first national exposure of a new type of cricketer; traditionalists read no further.

Luke Procter, one of many to graduate through the Lancashire County Cricket Club academy, is playing in his breakthrough senior season, having partaken in four championship matches and ten limited overs fixtures in 2011.

Predominantly a batsman, Procter’s seamless ascendency through junior ranks, reserve and into the first team proper is, quantitatively, rather run of the mill; it is only when aesthetics take precedence that one’s traditionalist alarms start to ring.

His slightly receding short cut and stubbly beard do not scream of a man with 22 years to his name, but a sparkling diamond-stud earring and tattooed upper-right arm unquestionably do.

However, it is his bowling that is most uncustomary.

Amongst the violent flails of arm and leg, his head must be the thoughtful epicentre, managing to concentrate sufficiently enough to align limbs and project ball in vague region of the batsman, within this storm of an action.

Coaches have only ever tried to coax his traits out of him a handful of times: “They [his youth coaches] tried when I were younger a little bit,” he explained with a strong Lancastrian twang, “but in the end I just stuck with it.”

His bustling run-up culminates about a foot from the popping crease, where a very short skip off the right foot lands him in a delivery stride that, for all the preceding erratic, is relatively normal for a right-arm medium-fast seam bowler.

“I bowl off the right foot,” he said. “I’ve bowled like that since I was younger as well so it was all quite natural to me.”

Dragged out by Sky or an interview post-match, Procter revealed his tender years when faced with an excitable David Lloyd, still fresh from his own erratic display behind the commentary microphone.

A distinct lack of media limelight reduced Procter to shy, rather embarrassed chuckles as Bumble probed him about being the only man he knew to come out of Oldham with an earring.

His uncomfortable interview was over as soon as it had begun, but amongst the mumbling of Procter and the bumbling of Lloyd, it was suggested he could have easily been named ‘Man of the Match’ for his unbeaten 25 and 3-22.

In a tough first innings predicament, he joined T20 debutant Karl Brown to add 60 for the seventh wicket, somewhat stabilising a flaky Lancashire innings and guiding them to a, still under par, total of 122.

Then later, after Tom Smith, Lancashire’s only other seam bowler’s, early prodigality, he went for 22 runs in his four overs – taking two wickets in two balls and having Gary Balance chip to mid-off.

This tilted the game toward an unlikely Lightning victory; at least before Smith returned to be struck for 10 in four balls to lose the game.

Not a single Lancastrian would promote the idea of anything positive coming from a roses defeat, but yesterday was an exception: Luke Procter and his skips, tats and diamond-stud earrings.

About the author Joe Smith

Joe Smith

My name is Joe Smith and I currently attend the University of Huddersfield in Yorkshire, England. I am in the first year of a Sports Journalism BA Hons degree with a view to becoming a professional sports journalist at a national newspaper. I help with the running of Caistor Town Cricket Club's website and also contribute to WriteAngleMedia, a company associated with various midalnds-based newspapers, reporting on semi-professional (non-league) football matches. My top three sports are cricket, football and tennis, closely followed by rugby league. I follow many sports teams, but  my favoured clubs are: Grimsby Town (football/soccer), Lancashire County Cricket Club and Huddersfield Giants (rugby league).

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