There's a feeling that plenty of sports journalists love the game they cover but were never going to have the ability to play professionally.

That's certainly the case as far as I'm concerned; I enjoy watching and playing several sports, not that I'm necessarily any good at them.

But I was never going to turn down the opportunity to face the Middlesex cricketers on the Nursery Ground at Lord's and see what it was really like to face them.

These aren't the type of bowlers I normally come across where you would feel safe enough to bat without a helmet, not that they faced many problems getting me out.

No, these are bowlers capable of putting the ball up around your head and potentially doing some serious damage.

Having, put on as much protective equipment as I feel necessary, I tap my bat down and stare intently at a cricket ball over 30 yards away, knowing it's going to be heading in my direction at a fair rate of knots.

The eyes widen more than you think physically possible to give yourself the best possible chance of getting bat on ball.

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In comes the bowler as Middlesex director of cricket Gus Fraser watches on; he bowls, I see it's outside the line of off stump so happily watch it safely go by. One down, plenty more to go for me to, inevitably, embarrass myself.

I get cleaned up a few times, prompting Tim Murtagh to tell me to stick to the day job, but managed to play a good shot or two giving me, and my limited ability, some satisfaction.

Soon though, my turn is over and I can now join Fraser and the Middlesex squad watching my colleagues facing up to the challenge.

If you break it down to the absolute key skills, all sports are very simple, as cricket, for example, relies on good hand-eye coordination but it is the mental strength and stamina that separate the Steven Finns of this world from the likes of me.

It takes courage to face up to hostile bowling, and they could have been more fierce than they were, so I would like to think there is some degree of mutual respect formed out of it.

As for my faded hopes of a cricket career, Fraser said: “There were some interesting batsmen. I don't think we'll be seeing them (batting) again. There were some shots I've not seen for a while.”