Exclusive Jayden Stockley Preston North End column: I’m Stoked about England’s Ashes chances!
If you happened to see a Preston North End striker celebrating wildly on the streets of Fulwood last Sunday...yes, I hold my hand up – that was me!
I just couldn’t contain myself after I watched Ben Stokes hit the winning runs to give England victory over Australia in the Third Test of the Ashes.
I actually had a ticket for Headingley, but having played the full game against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, I had to come in to work the day after to do some recovery work.
It was my first game in a while and so you have to look after yourself, first and foremost, and that is what I needed.
When Stokes was working his magic by hitting his century, I was looking after my kids Avie, who is four, and one-year-old Aoife, but I kept checking my phone nervously for score updates.
When they got to within 70 with just one wicket in hand, I decided to turn the television on and I just could not take my eyes of it.
I was so nervous, but when Stokes hit those winning runs, I just ran out into the street to my neighbours, who, like me, love cricket, and we were celebrating together.
We actually had a game of cricket in the street and I have to admit the sport is one I love.
In the summer, I played for the club’s cricket team which plays in the local Boddingtons Village League and I plan to do so next season.
Indeed I shared a 50-run partnership the club’s secretary Ben Rhodes this year – it was an equal partnership in terms of runs scored.
I’m a fast bowler, who can flog it around a bit with the bat.
I plan on playing again next year when the season has finished. It’s nice to just completely switch off and tick over during the summer.
Cricket is a game I played a lot as a youngster – I was picked to play for my county Dorset as a kid but I’ll be honest, I wasn’t good enough – I was always better at football.
But with the international break coming up, myself and a few of the lads – Ryan Ledson, Brad Potts and David Nugent – are going to watch the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
With the momentum shift from Stokes’ heroics, I expect England to go on to win but Steve Smith is back for Australia so anything happen.
It has been a really inspirational summer of cricket and these final two Tests are so evenly poised – it’s just going to be amazing to be able to witness some of it.
I suppose after last weekend, you could say I’m a full-time striker, occasional cricketer and part-time centre-back!
I like to think there are many strings to my bow.
No seriously, I was only too happy to help out at the back last weekend when the manager asked me to move to centre-half in the final few minutes against Sheffield Wednesday.
We were leading 2-1 and the Owls were pumping balls into the box for their big men and the gaffer thought my extra height would come in handy.
I managed to help us keep our lead intact and register our third successive home win.
Now all we need to do is open our account away from home and hopefully we can do that with a strong performance at Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
The squad here is great to be part of and when I arrived in January last year, I couldn’t believe the amount of quality that we have.
There is a lot of young talent, but a lot of us have played a lot of game.
I am only 25, but have played 200-odd games so I like to think I can help with advice to some of our younger players.
I think I have settled in well at the club and I am still getting used to the level – coming in to the Championship from League Two. I still need to add things to my game and become a little bit more streetwise.
The Championship is a lot faster than League Two and the smaller details matter.
The defenders are much quicker and stronger – they are tactically better.
It’s not a case of being bigger than them or vice versa, you really have to study beforehand and find out where you can get the advantage.
I feel like I am building up momentum. The game against Wednesday was my first full game in a while and I thought I did okay.
Obviously, it was terrible to see what happened with Louis Moult at Swansea City with the serious knee injury he suffered.
I wish him a speedy recovery and hopefully I can help fill the void he has left. I want to take my chance and score goals for the club.