Balderton bowler in nets against New Zealand test cricket side at Trent Bridge
It was a day to remember for bowler Tom Shepherd as he faced the New Zealand test cricket side in the nets at Trent Bridge.
It came as a complete surprise to the avid cricketer when he was invited to the ground in the week leading up to the LV= Insurance Test Match between England and New Zealand.
Tom went at the request of former English cricketer Andy Pick and he didn't know the reason for the invite until after he arrived.
“He didn’t tell me who I was bowling at or anything like that,” said Shepherd, who is currently one of the top wicket-takers in the Nottinghamshire Premier League Division 2.
“I just rocked up and it turned out I was bowling against New Zealand.”
"One minute I was watching the team from the Smith Cooper Stand, the next I was actually bowling against them.
"At the start I was a bit in awe but I soon took it in my stride."
The experience was one that was special for Tom, who said: “I’ve always loved cricket, it is something I have always wanted to do when I was younger, and I have worked hard so it has been a dream of mine to bowl here.
“Doing it here against these kind of players is incredible really.
“I bowled at Tom Latham (New Zealand vice-captain) and got him out twice. I nicked him off, then hit him in the middle of the pad. I bowled a couple more then just watched."
The opportunity served as a valuable learning experience for Shepherd, who was able to watch some of the best up close.
Shepherd's team mates at Balderton Cricket Club found out what was happening via a chat group and were just as surprised as he was, the questions soon came thick and fast.
"The next training session that following Thursday was an interesting one, the boys were joking around about it," he said.
The pace bowler said it was a bit surreal, adding: "I can't really put into words that experience, I enjoyed it thoroughly."
Tom has been told there may be similar opportunities in the future with the Indian one-day international squad playing at the ground next month.