30 May 2014

On a wet and cold Friday in late May, we made our latest cricket signings for Men United in the shape of Warwickshire County Cricket (WCC) players Richard Jones (pictured), Oliver Hanon-Dalby and former England wicket keeper Tim Ambrose.

Having previously signed cricketing legends Gladstone Small and David Gower to Men United, the WCC boys got in touch to see if they could display our iconic 'Man of Men' symbol on their bats this season.

At a rainy (later to be cancelled) T20 game against Yorkshire we spoke to fast bowler and chief Men United instigator Jones and his two colleagues about why they wanted to join our movement for men.

Richard Jones 580x 224

First question is why the interest in us here at Prostate Cancer UK?

Richard: I have been donating to cancer research for a number of years now, but once I saw the adverts on TV for the new 'Men United' campaign I really wanted to get involved. I was shocked by how low prostate cancer funding is compared to breast cancer, and wanted to try and help raise the profile of the fight we face as men.

You are the first cricketers to showcase our symbol in such an innovative way – what was the idea about putting it on the bat?

Oliver: Once Jonesy spoke to me about the idea of getting involved, we all thought that the best way was to the put the sticker on our bats. We thought that with a few of our games being on TV it would help spread the word, and hopefully get other lads out there involved in any way possible.

Any prostate cancer connections with your family and friends?

Richard: Not prostate cancer, but I'm close to a family that are going through a really difficult time at the moment and it really isn't something you want to see anyone go through. The more awareness we can raise about the disease, the bigger the fight we can put up to combat the suffering going on and the lives being lost.

How impressed have you been with the Men United v Prostate Cancer campaign?

Tim: The campaign has done a magnificent job so far of raising awareness of the disease. It was a major coup becoming the official charity partner of the Football League, and the more we can do as sportsmen to help the better.

How important is it that cricket – and other sports – engage with fans and talk about the dangers of a disease that kills one man every hour?

Oliver: It's very important. Sportsmen are looked up to by people in the public, so if we can encourage guys to get themselves checked properly and get people tackling this disease head on then we're going in the right direction.

As sportsmen you are role models and revered by many. Does that make you a good fit to talk to the men in the crowd?

Richard: I think it's really good that cricket is getting involved. It's important to emphasise that this is something that can affect all men - every single one of us - no matter who you are or what you do.

Former England and Warwickshire bowler Gladstone Small is a long-time ambassador of ours (Gladstone lost his father to the disease). Did you know one in four black men get prostate cancer compared to one in eight men generally and were you aware of his connection with the disease?

Oliver: We weren't aware of Gladstone's connections with the disease but it's great that he has lent his name to the cause and has been promoting the fight against the disease for such a long time. The statistics among black men are frightening, and the greater the awareness we can raise the better.

From a personal point of view what are your targets for the upcoming season, across all formats?

Richard: As a new signing this year I know that I have to be patient and wait for my chances to come, but grasp them when they do come along. I've started the season reasonably well and I'm happy with a couple of changes I have made to my game. I'd really like the chance to play more one-day cricket as it's something I have done a lot of.

Tim, it’s a big summer for England after the events in Australia. It's now about regrouping isn’t it? As a fellow wicket keeper what are your thoughts on Matt Prior and how he will react?

It is an exciting time to be an English cricketer, opportunity to represent and cement a place in the England side is more open than ever. There are undoubtably some young, potentially world class wicket keeper/batsman around the country with that at the forefront of there minds, and a few older ones as well!

For me Matt Prior has been one of the very best in the game for the last few years. He's under pressure at the moment but anyone will tell you that Matt has never backed down from a fight.

Peter Moores has worked with Matt since he was 13 and knows how to get the best out of a character who has been right at the back bone of an England team that rose to the very top.

Despite the pristine and stylish appearance, Matt's tough as old boots and one hell of a player who has been there and knows what it takes. If he still wants it, I'm tipping a big 12 months from a potential England great.

Richard Jones, Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Tim Ambrose signed for Men United during a rain affected T20 game at Egbaston but hoping to be hitting sixes out of the park for both WCC and Men United.

Test your tactical know-how and sign for Men United today.

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