Monday 27 May 2024

Herding Cats through the Rain

 Sunday dawned wet and grey, and I awoke to a chorus of messages on my phone asking me if the game was going ahead. 

The guys at the Legion said it was dry, and yes we were going ahead.

As the rain here continued to hose down my team-mates didn't believe me, quoting the forecast of thunderstorms, lightning and other meteorological disasters. But I had already got to the ground and indeed found it reasonably dry and not raining, and relayed this information back.

Players then agreed to set off, with much harrumphing and questioning of my sanity. 

I negotiated with the Legion skipper that we would bat first, in a 30 over game based on the fact that it was near the one pm start time and our team consisted of entirely two players; myself and our second team all rounder, heir to a formidable local cricketing dynasty of three generations. 

Probably not enough to make match of it, to be honest.

But the others arrived, in various moods, and we got the game underway, with just 9 players. A good day was not on the cards. 

As it turned out, we only really needed three. 

The game began with heavy black clouds skirting the ground, with thunder rumbling from both the east and west, with our two youngest players opening the batting. The rain stayed away, and they stayed out there. 

When I went out to umpire after ten overs they will still there. They were still there at drinks. And they were still there after 23 overs, when they raised a hundred partnership after one of the young lads had slammed a four, and then a six over my head into the sightscreen, bringing up his own 50 in the process. Remarkable. 

It looked like we were going to bat the whole innings without losing a wicket, but alas both the young lads fell soon after, but they had done an amazing job, raising the run rate too after a steady start. 

We went on to post a competitive total of 143 for 4, with me umpiring for twenty overs despite a rain shower at the end of the innings; we just played through it. 

"Tell me that wasn't worth it" I said to the others as we left the field. 

We went out to field overlooked by the very splendid Sir Julian Cahn pavilion, a reminder that many many years ago this rich cricket benefactor had hosted games against Australia at this very ground. Us plebs aren't allowed to use it though, we are stuck in the municipal changing rooms. 

The Legion started at a brisk pace, but lost a couple of early wickets. I thought I would come on to bowl and take wickets, but it was an utter confidence shredding disaster. I got some sharp turn, but it was all too short and I got flogged. The harder I tried the worse it got, the ball would just not come out right, not helped by the fact I was bowling about a metre behind the crease for some reason. Never felt comfortable.

I was whipped off after three overs and banished to the boundary, although today I saw a bit more action in the field and didn't mess up once for a change. I felt absolutely terrible, and ready to give up cricket.

For about half an hour. 

As it happened my replacement, the young all rounder who opened the batting, came onto bowl some flighty turning legspin, and took five wickets, much to everyone's delight. There were catches behind, and stumpings for one of our other juniors, who is normally the first team opening bowler. Six dismissals for him.

We won by about thirty runs in the end, although I was still very grumpy and not seeing the bigger picture, i.e. a fantastic day out for our young players. On a day people didn't seem to want to play. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 27.05.24

1 comment:

  1. A good win. And I have to ask why is that man pouring drink into a box on the wall?