TURF is Ryan Sidebottom’s natural territory.

The former Yorkshire cricketer is certainly out of his comfort zone on the slippery stuff and admits ‘Dancing on Ice’ draws no parallels to the profession he retired from in 2017 - but he’s loving the challenge and enjoying the journey so far...

Ryan admits before he began training for ITV’s hit show he had never pulled on a pair of skates.

“I had never skated before in my entire life so in terms of the journey and the story so far when I got on the ice I was holding on to the side, scared stiff. I couldn’t move, it was the worst feeling in the world,” he recalls.

Coming from a sporting background, dancing and performing doesn’t come naturally to Ryan, but he is proud of what he has achieved.

He explains as a cricketer he is used to running in a straight line with his arms tucked in. When he is dancing he is conscious of his head, his posture and his arms - and remembering the routine! “I have found it really hard and I have had to work really hard to get the routine in my head.

“It’s been the hardest thing I have ever done,” says Ryan, whose height hasn’t helped either.

He is 6ft 4” tall - 6ft 7” in a pair of skates. Ryan explains his height gives him a different perspective of the centre of gravity on the ice and also makes the lifts more difficult.

“I have to bend more - there is a lot more that can go wrong,” says Ryan, who towers over his skating partner, American ice skating professional Brandee Malto.

Ryan credits his family and Brandee for her support, along with the Dancing on Ice viewers who have been voting to keep him in the competition.

Now he is hoping he and Brandee can stay in the competition after surviving last week’s skate off. It was the skating duo’s first time back on the ice after an injury forced Ryan to miss crucial practice sessions.

He and Brandee have been training at Bradford Ice Arena and Ryan can’t thank the staff enough for their support. “Bradford Ice Arena are absolutely lovely. They cannot do enough for us,” says Ryan.

Despite Ryan’s injury setback they impressed the celebrity judging panel, including British Olympic ice dancing stars, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, with their progress during their performance on last Sunday evening’s show.

Says Ryan: “There are so many hurdles to overcome but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would get through to week 6.

“I am enjoying the ride - enjoying being on the show.”

Now Ryan, from Huddersfield, is counting on his home county of Yorkshire to keep him in the competition - and who knows he and Brandee may demonstrate some more technical moves over the coming weeks.

He says his participation in the show has already boosted his social media profile. Among the messages of support was one from a young girl saying he had inspired her to take up ice skating.

“It’s challenging myself and doing something totally different. I feel very lucky going on the show, I really do and the support I have had is so nice. It is something I will never forget and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” says Ryan.

Watch Ryan in action at 6pm on ITV’s Dancing on Ice on Sunday (February 10).