Today's cricket adventure took us out to Ellerslie, a rather more charming locale than yesterday's grim fight club at Stapleford as it was in West Bridgeford, near the Trent Bridge cricket ground.
The "Little Bounds" ground - cute name! - was a green oasis surrounded by large Victorian terraced housing, protected from having their windows smashed by a very large fence. It was also very small - even I could reach the keeper from the boundary with my feeble throws - and so a run fest was always on the cards.
Again we bowled first, and as with last Sunday, the skipper let me open up the bowling with his far more able than me brother, who was running in practically from the boundary. We both bowled a good first over, but then the gulf in ability opened up like a Grand Canyon on amyl nitrate - he carried on bowling well, while I lost my head a bit and got thrashed by a first team batsman who plays in division A of our league structure; I have played mainly in division J and frankly division Z would probably be too good for me.
Banished to the field, I then made a horrible, ground-please-swallow-me-up misfield and felt the familiar rising panic that I was indeed totally rubbish and an utter embarassment and should probably impale myself on a stump while pleading with the skipper for forgiveness.
Then the sound of steel drums and carnival music started up from the Victoria Embankment, the sun came out, and I resolved to stop being rubbish and get my head together. Cricket is supposed to be enjoyable, and I decided that even with my renowned mental fragility I would do so.
After that I was fine. I fielded well despite having so many muscle strains I feel like an enormous blood clot, and was able to enjoy watching our youngsters and older hands bring us back into the game against superior opposition, although my suggestion that one our less athletic players should get into the festival mood by putting on a head-dress and nipple tassles didn't go down so well.
I was even allowed to bowl again at the death, and this time did far better with the star batsman, by now 130 not out, unable to hit me into the Trent as he wanted to. I bowled straight and full, and all was well.
The real fund occured in the last over, when one of our "less heralded" players responded to suggestions that we should put fielders in the surrounding boroughs, got the big batter out, nearly had another one, then finally off the last ball a quick single resulted in our diving wicket keeper sending a batsman flying as he ran in, only for his partner to call for another single, realise all of a sudden that the guy at the other end was trapped under 13 stone of keeper, enabling us to run him out as he stood stranded at the wrong end.
We were still laughing as we ate our very hearty teas. Hot potato wedges for the win!
Sadly the carnival was too far away for me to explore when we went out to bat, but a sparrow-hawk flap flap glided over the ground in that characteristic fashion of theirs. WHen I say "we went out to bat" I mean of course our proper batsmen. I wandered off to see what I might see, ending up talking to an Ellerslie bowler who like me is interested in photography but rather than nature compiles books of photographs of graffiti from all over the place. I then explained the importance of our youth policy to another friendly chap, who no doubt understood that I was subtly making excuses for us losing.
All the while it was getting darker and darker as wickets fell, until as an echelon of geese flew overhead to roost, this number 11 batsman realised that I was going to need a searchlight to bat with, having already explained to various team-mates that the red marks on my bat were from killing moles rather than hitting the bat. Indeed when I did go out to bat, I asked the umpire for a headlamp, before making the usual dreadful shot and getting out second ball again, just before the rain started to fall that might have got us off with a draw.
So we lost, but it wasn't cataclysmic against a much stronger team, and I had a great day out there against a nice bunch of lads.
Last game of Sunday cricket this season. I shall miss it.
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.08.16