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Date: Wednesday 19 December 2012
Ollie Freckingham has really caught the eye for Loughborough Town and Leicestershire Second XI and was recently rewarded with a first professional contract at Grace Road.
But Freckingham’s sporting talents do not end at pace bowling. The seamer nearly turned professional at Rutland County Golf Club at one stage and has also played football for Holwell Sports in the East Midlands Counties League.
The paceman, who celebrated his 24th birthday last month, played for Leicestershire age-groups and lives locally. Freckingham comes from Somerby, just south of Melton Mowbray, the next village on from where James Taylor grew up in Burrough-on-the-Hill.
Freckingham is thrilled with his first professional deal at Grace Road and he has signed on alongside someone he knows in Tom Wells. They have followed a similar career path; playing at Stoughton and Thurnby before moving on to Loughborough Town. Freckingham also played for Thorpe Arnold as he grew up.
The seamer knows Nathan Buck and his brother Mitchell from Loughborough and is familiar with other squad members from the second team, so he already feels at home at Grace Road.
Freckingham is currently combining his day job as shop manager at Rutland County Golf Club, where he has been club champion six times, with his workload at Grace Road but that will change after Christmas.
He said: “It is brilliant, I am very excited to sign my first professional contract. It is good to be part of such a good club. I am going to train as hard as I can, look to have a good pre-season and look to put in good performances in the second team. Hopefully I will then play some first team cricket.
“But I am taking it one step at a time at the minute. I am in the gym and nets in the evenings with the Academy lads or on my own because I still have my day job at the minute. After Christmas, I will be training more with the lads. I already know Nathan Buck and Tom Wells very well from playing for Loughborough Town.
“Loughborough is a great club to play for. Training is always good, having Dips Patel as captain really has helped, as he is experienced within the game and always tries to put a professional approach towards both training and playing. I have played in two County Cup finals at Grace Road and we have won the league for the last two years.
“Lloyd Tennant has been my coach since I was about ten so I know him well. I have played at Grace Road and some of the outgrounds and also played at Durham and Gloucestershire. There have often been lots of triallists in the seconds but there will be a bigger first team squad this year.”
Freckingham is a fitness fanatic and clearly a talented cricketer; you only have to talk to well-informed members of the local scene to discover that. County players will also be fighting over Freckingham on any golf days in 2013 given he plays off a handicap of one – and he rarely swings a club these days!
“It has always been about cricket and golf,” he said. “For the last two years my cricket has really taken off. Before that, the golf took off and it was cricket when I was younger. I have played for the second team over the last two years and felt I bowled as consistently last season for Loughborough Town as I ever have.
“I have always been involved in sport as I grew up. There was one stage where I nearly turned professional as a golfer. I played off scratch at that point but now my handicap is one as it has got to a stage where I have almost had to give it up. I just play the odd round nowadays.
“There are a lot of differences between the sports but there are similarities in how you prepare mentally. I like being part of a team environment, for me it is far better than being out their on your own.
“I have also played football for Holwell Sports in the East Midlands Counties league although I have stopped now I have signed for Leicestershire as it is too risky with injuries.”
Although a bowler by trade, Freckingham must has an eye for a ball given his golfing record. So does that mean he is also keen on his batting? “Well it’s a lot easier to hit a stationary ball. But I do like to give the ball a good hit when I get a chance,” he said with a smile.
* Thanks to the Leicester Mercury for providing the photograph of Ollie.