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July 10, 2006

Cricket

Mrs Tony Bloke is on the answerphone (and I'm going to resist the temptation regarding 'and then she jumped off' jokes); she is asking me to go and play cricket. As it's Tony Bloke's birthday.

A good time is had by all. Our team wins. For some incomprehensible reason to do with Mumbling Nige's shoulder, I am promoted from keeper to opening bowler, and he vice-versa. Considering I once bowled a 13 ball over in a league match, this is an ill-advised selection decision. Edited highlights: amongst a mixed bag which contains a beamer but amazingly no extras, I bowl to the Grey Poupon, a local lawyer, who edges, and Nige drops a piss easy catch and I bellow "NIGEL, YOU CUNT!" at far too great a volume and close a proximity to several small children, who are respectively fielding at mid on, fielding in the slips, and umpiring at square leg. I apologise, and then I get the Poupon in the ribs next ball, ha, that'll teach him to try and pull, and then, softened up, he chips one to cover point who can actually catch, and does so. Hoorah.

One of their lower order batsmen gets a Graham Poll like series of decisions, and only leaves the field when he is out for the third time. Hit wicket once, stumped once, stumped again. And even then he lingered. "Glad to see the ethics of the game being upheld", and "Wonderful to see such sporting spirit" we chorus sarcastically from the close field. It is pointed out that while he was occupying one end their scoring rate was zero, so no bad thing he stayed on really.

Beers are brought out, which comprimises the fielding somewhat - we discover it's difficult to stop a hard hit cover drive one-handed without spilling your pint.

They are all out for 108 (or about there, I forget).

I am batting six. I dither about wondering whether to wear my helmet: I'm not afraid being hit by their bowling, I am afraid, however, of hitting the ball into my own face. I decide to leave it.

We each bat until we are out or until we've faced two overs and are then retired. Just so everyone gets a go.

I am facing Grey Poupon, so hostilities resume. He bowls a sort of medium pace loopy 'Military Medium', but I know from previous encounters that he does bowl straight, so I have to take care. First ball, a bit short, a bit on leg, sitting up, pull, four. Woo. Second ball, sitting up on off stump, try and cut, miss it low, it misses the top of off by at least an inch. Third ball the same - except this is perhaps half an inch over. "Left it on length, knew it was missing. Free hit, really" I announce, tongue firmly in cheek. Hoots of derision.

It all becomes a bit of a blur after that. I remember wanting to play a nice high-elbow straight drive or cover drive off the front foot, but they keep bowling shortish and on leg, so a series of agricultural hoiks through square leg is all I get the chance to play. I do get one off leg-and-middle to go straighter: off the sweet spot but a fraction early so what ought to have been six goes too high and dies and ends up as a scampered two.

I am called in, 18 not out, with three fours. I am chuffed. My season average last time I played properly was one and a half.

I manage to cobble together appropriately sized pads and sundry equipment for Child One to go and have a bat, once we've already won. He's never played before; we have a quick practice and then he goes in, brave as anything, in front of everyone. He faces an over against Tony Bloke's middle son, same age. He tries his hardest to reach a series of wides, with good natural technique, and is finally undone by a straight one. Match over. I am proud of him.

The LOML has got herself a pint but not me. Child One and I go over for approval, congratulation. She has been gossiping with her mates, and was entirely unaware that either of us had batted or bowled at all. She apologises, but I can tell she doesn't mean it.

2 Comments:

  • it's a real skill, being able to apologise when you don't mean it and yet have it some over and totally sincere. . .

    By Blogger I, like the view, at 11:22 am  

  • Now if Child One had piped up reedliy "Daddy bowled a maiden over..." ;-)

    By Anonymous Stu Savory, at 3:10 pm  

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