Stenhousemuir cricket club’s player coach Rushdi Jappie is into his eighth season at the Tryst, and he’s still enjoying every single second of it.
Now age 32, Jappie, has been playing for Stenhousemuir for more than seven years.
The South African all-rounder has also been involved in the coaching side of the game more recently, mentoring younger players – something which he says can leave him feeling ‘overwhelming happiness, enjoyment and content’.
But, despite enjoying the coaching side of cricket, he hopes to continue playing for a couple more years yet.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here and enjoyed every season,” he said. “The club is extremely welcoming and there’s a lot of warm-hearted people here.”
Jappie stays in Denny for five months during the season and South Africa outwith the season, and is comfortable with what he now refers to as his ‘second home’.
He wants to continue playing cricket, but whether or not that’s at Stenhousemuir or elsewhere remains to be seen.
Jappie said: “Coaches that stopped playing always tell me ‘play as long as you can because it’s the best time of your life’. I’m going to look after my body the best I can and try to play as long as I can.
“I want to continue playing for a couple more years. I still enjoy it. Possibly [at Stenhousemuir], it’s a decision that the club needs to make and hopefully they make the right one.”
Speaking on his move into coaching, Rushdi said: “I’m a professional coach now and that puts me in a good position for coaching in the future after my playing career. It’s a job opportunity for me but it’s also a massive passion.”
That passion has been alive in Jappie since he was a child in South Africa. Before picking up his cricket bat, though, he was playing football: “I played football first during the winter, but started to play cricket at the age of five and enjoyed it more. I’ve been in the game now for 27 years and to play for that long you have to love it.”
Despite having been in the game for so long, Jappie still has targets and objectives that he sets himself at the start of every campaign.
The 32-year-old’s best ever season in terms of batting was in 2013 when he hit 894, but he aims to top that this year.
“Every year when I come over I try to hit the 1000 run mark,” he added. If I hit these personal targets then the team and the club is benefitting.
“As a club we are trying to make sure we are in a position with two games to go to make something happen in the league.”
Stenhousemuir currently sit fourth in the league following a narrow defeat to East Kilbride at the weekend, but are more than in the running for the league title with more than half of the season left to play.
Rushdi is joined at ‘Muir by New Zealand born wicket keeper Talor Scott (21) who is over as an amateur for the season.
“He’s very enthusiastic and has played for New Zealand’s under 19s. He adds a lot, he’s very vibey and has a lot of energy. It’s good to have somebody of his calibre in our side.”