Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Boys of Summer

Stuart's excellent club cricket soap opera prompted these four thoughts from my own personal archive of memories: -

Exhibit A - We went out after tea, defending a small target - around 120. Our skipper opened the bowling. (and the batting, and fielded first slip for that matter - but anyone who's played the game knows that rank egotism occurs at all levels) He exhorted us from the start of his run up - ''On your toes lads, keep it tight, make 'em fight for every run'' Down came the first ball, a rank long hop that was ceremoniously knocked out of the ground, over the South Circular dual carriageway and into the park on the other side of the road, causing picnic parties to scatter.

Cue much hilarity on the fielding side, and the old favourite of 'something travelling that far in the sky normally has a stewardess on it' getting another welcome airing.

In the pub later, some bright sparkworked out it ended in a different London Borough to which it started.

Exhibit B - One of our regular opponents had a couple of batsmen who were very competitive - they used to compare averages, which is always a dubious practice in my book - a bit like school kids behind the bikeshed comparing the size of their tools.

At the end of one season, Batsman A had a 20 run lead over his rival. He happily went off on holiday a week later, only for Batsman B to arrange another game, in foul autumn conditions that even rugby players were dubious about playing in, to allow himself to score the required runs to top the averages.

The following year Batsman A got his revenge by creating a mythical game in the scorebook when Batsman B was on his travels.

Exhibit C - Playing our local rivals who we rarely came close to beating, on this occasion we were surprisingly on top. They were 70 odd for four chasing 150. One more wicket would probably clinch it.

Then their umpire took a hand and gave a batsman 'not out' after being BOWLED, saying the ball came back off the keepers pads. Said keeper then had to be physically restrained by three colleagues. Meanwhile the rest of us became forensic experts, looking at the bails at least three feet behind the stumps, and the off stump pointing backwards towards first slip.

Next over from that end, the bowler deliberately walked over and gave his sweater to the square leg umpire rather than to the one with the white stick and dog at the bowlers end! The kicker was after the game (which we lost) when we asked the batsman why he didn't walk. 'My Dad's a good umpire - he always gets it right'.

Exhibit D - I was bowling. The skipper put a fielder at short leg. I'm never sure why we do this. Most of out cricket is played on pretty placid wickets where the ball hardly ever gets above stump height, and none of us can fling it down at anything above medium/quick. Following the gameplan, though, I dropped one in short in the vain hope that it might rear up into the batsman's chest. Instead, his eyes lit up and the ball came off the bat like an exocet - smack into the skull of the fielder three yards from the bat.

The batsman then came out of his ground to join the concerned ring round the prone figure, at which point our keeper ran him out. We subsequently withdrew the appeal - round about the time the ambulance turned up.


Stuart said...

Love them!

The really great part about cricket (particularly in the lower grades) is that we can relate to them the whole world over. The main character in my diaries is based around a similar individual to your captain - he would open the batting and bowling, and when he stopped bowling he would take over as wicketkeeper.

As for umpiring .....

Uncle J rod said...

My first 5 wicket haul in senior cricket was sealed with a full toss that was smashed into the head of the short leg, it went straight up in the air and the keeper took the catch.

When he woke up on the way to the hospital he asked if if we had got them all out yet. His girlfriend said yes, and he said turn the ambulance around i'm supposed to be opening.

Stuart said...

I love these cricket stories.

Another quick one, similar lines to J-Rods. A complete dickhead in the opposition (his own team hated him as well) top edged my bouncer into his forehead. The ball went up, he went down. He jumped up quickly (blood pissing out of a head cut) and said that he hadn't hit it (as he thought it had been caught). I said not to worry, as it had actually gone for 4 over the keeper's head .He immediately changed his tune and said he did hit it. The umpire (from his team) then promptly gave him out (as our keeper had caught it). Only guy not laughing was him. Bastards still beat us though.

Tony said...

I used to play against a bloke who was also a complete dickhead. Once he skied a ball to short mid-on and as he was running up the pitch, screamed "DROOPPPP IITTT! AGGGHHHH!" while waving his bat around. Our bloke dropped it. But Dickhead tripped over where the two mats met mid pitch and fell flat on his face and was run out.