When the phone rang at the home of Warwickshire CCC steward Keith Morris last week, he was surprised - and delighted - to hear the voice of one of the Bears players on the other end.
It was first-team seamer Olly Hannon-Dalby on the line, just getting in touch to say hello and make sure all was well with Keith, a familiar and popular figure at Edgbaston where he performs his duties with efficiency but also friendliness and great charm.
The current lockdown is an unprecedented and difficult time for all, but the great Bears family has never been tighter. That’s why members of the men’s squad, women’s squad and former players from the WOCCA network have been busy on the phones making calls to stewards and members – much-valued members of that family.
It’s wonderful that we can keep talking about the great game of cricket.Paul Farbrace
“I had a lovely chat to Olly,” said Keith. “We were chatting for almost an hour. How amazing for the players to take time out to call us and check how we are doing.
“We chatted about everything. He asked me how I was and what I was up to and I asked him the same and what he was doing while Edgbaston is closed. I think his dog is getting some good, long walks.
“We are both avid readers and he mentioned Brian Halford’s wonderful book about Percy Jeeves. I said I’ve got it and all Brian’s other books and now I’m reading through them all again!
“Olly is such a lovely guy. Of course, with no matches for a while, the stewards won’t be paid so I said on the first day back there’ll be a bucket collection for us. He said, being a Yorkshireman, he’ll walked round it!”
The natter was also much-enjoyed by Olly.
“It was great to talk to Keith,” he said. “He is a lovely man who we see every day at the ground and know well and I really enjoyed our chat. The members and stewards are a huge and integral part of the Bears family so it is great that we are all keeping in touch in these strange times.”
Keith and Olly’s chat is one of many from calls made by the Bears players and coaches in recent weeks.
Sport director Paul Farbrace said: “It’s great that the lads have been ringing round, speaking to members and stewards and having conversations with people in these tough times.
“It’s wonderful that we can keep talking about the great game of cricket. I had a lovely chat with a guy called Brian who has been a Warwickshire member for many years and we talked about some of the greats of the game.
“We all share the same passion for this great game and without our members and supporters it would all be very different so we are very grateful to them all.”