Cricket: Ollie Freckingham gunning for county return despite shock Leicestershire exit

Freckingham (third from right) picked up the Players' Player of the Year, as voted for by his team-mates, shortly before leaving Grace Road . Picture: STEVE HODGKIN / Credit - CHADWICKS - EMN-160510-120358002
Freckingham (third from right) picked up the Players' Player of the Year, as voted for by his team-mates, shortly before leaving Grace Road . Picture: STEVE HODGKIN / Credit - CHADWICKS - EMN-160510-120358002

Ollie Freckingham believes he still has plenty to offer professional cricket despite being shown the door by Leicestershire.

The news came as a bolt from the blue to the 27-year-old paceman who spent six years with the county, graduating from second team cricket to earn a full contract at the end of 2012.

Ollie Freckingham in action for Leicestershire during the 2014 season EMN-160510-115115002

Ollie Freckingham in action for Leicestershire during the 2014 season EMN-160510-115115002

Freckingham, from Somerby, spent much of last summer sidelined and made just two appearances for the first team.

He impressed in Royal London One Day Cup wins over Nottinghamshire and Lancashire, but his lack of first-class cricket was a frustration and a concern with contract renewals looming.

“Throughout the summer it’s in the back of your mind and you know it’s coming up, but as time went on I thought I was alright,” he told the Melton Times.

“It was a little disappointing it was dropped on me so late, but I have no hard feelings against the club.

“They gave me an opportunity to play professional cricket, and I wish them all the best for the future.”

With a cruel irony, Freckingham discovered his fate just three days before picking up the Players’ Player of the Year award at the club’s presentation night.

“I didn’t want to go, but the captain persuaded me to, and now I know why,” he added.

“It’s great to get an award from your peers, but the timing was a little bittersweet.

“It was voted for on your attitude on and off the field and it was amazing to win. I got a standing ovation because they had found out I was leaving.

“The lads have been brilliant and so supportive throughout - we will be mates for life.”

The former Egerton Park and Thorpe Arnold cricketer flew to Australia on Wednesday for a six-month spell to get himself in peak fitness for next season.

He will play sub district league cricket for Melbourne side Werribee and hopes to sharpen his skills training with his former coach Andrew McDonald who left Grace Road in August to take over state side Victoria.

“Macca wanted me to go to Australia; he has been quite a big advocate for me,” Freckingham added.

“If something comes up with another county I will come back early.”

Despite the snub and the grind of several rehabilitation programmes, his enthusiasm for the game remains undimmed.

“My agent is actively looking for clubs at the moment,” he explained.

“It might not happen for a couple of months, but I’m extremely keen to carry on whether it’s as far north or as far south as I have to go.

“I’m quite a motivated guy and always try to be the best I can. I study cricket quite a lot so although you are injured you can still come back better mentally.

“You can either get down and worry or act positively and go for it.”

Freckingham was a relative latecomer to the first-class game, earning his full debut as a 24-year-old after a string of impressive performances with the seconds.

Determined to make up for lost time, he played in all bar one of the club’s County Championship fixtures in 2013 and was the leading wicket-taker with 35.

He won the county’s two top bowling awards that season and went on to take 65 wickets in 23 first-class appearances at an average of 37.93.

But many what-ifs persist about how much better those figures could have been had injury not played its hand in subsequent seasons.

“Last Christmas I broke my elbow diving in a fielding drill at the indoor school,” he said.

“I was coming back to full fitness in pre-season and then got a side strain against Derbyshire.

“That kept me out for eight to nine weeks and when I got back to bowling fully we had four weeks of rain.

“It took the best part of four months to get back in the first team because of the weather.”

Freckingham also puts the injury list down to chance rather than the wear and tear of full-time cricket.

“It is not my body letting me down,” he added. “Apart from the two side strains, the rest have been accidents.

“I’ve only had two muscle injuries so my body can withstand the cricket; I just need to stop having accidents!”