Evening Strokes

Use your hands, stupid....

Use your hands, stupid….

Due to various ailments and agements, I don’t play much these days but mindful of the need to justify the extra £15 for a playing member sub, I’d boldly informed the skip, I could manage an evening game without total collapse. Looking at the current state of my physique, I’m not sure why I felt so rash. I don’t have a rash but my left leg sports and cricket ball sized gash, my right foreman is a splendid puce, my left ankle hurts more than my right and my shoulder aches. All from a 20-20 last Wednesday……

The Philanderers (a splendid nomadic club with a website to match our own) were the opponents and after the usual, ‘Is so an so coming?’, ‘Did you hear from xxxx?’, ‘Do you have your whites’, two reasonably complete sides took to the field. Wiz and Jerry had prepared a splendid looking pitch and I’d don’t my best to mark out a straight but appropriately curved boundary line. In rather splendid helmets the Philianderers started in fine style until poor old Chris was introduced into the attack. At this point their number three took a dislike to the ball and promptly smashed into the thickest part of the undergrowth over our newly installed fencing. The skip rallied us with a short pep talk. It worked like a charm aided by some splendid catching from poor ol’ Chris and Ben among others. Talking (writing?) of Ben he came steaming in and promptly announced he hadn’t taken a wicket for ten years…. Next over he takes two, prompting numerous comparisons (mine was the third, apparently) with London buses (you wait 10 yrs and then two…). One wicket led to another before their number 9 (acting for number 11 as well) managed to get dismissed twice in three balls for no runs.

white line 2120 odd (I don’t have the score book) seemed a par score as the outfield was smooth but large (with an expertly marked boundary, of course) and the pitch true but a little low at one end. Not admitting to my various fielding induced ailments, I replied ‘Of course I’ll open’ so Guy and I set off… Mobility is not my strong point these days so ‘No sharp twos let alone threes’ I muttered… OK was the reply and Guy promptly clubbed the first ball through extra cover for a boundary. Another followed and my attempt to steal a single from the last ball was thwarted. My first ball was a looping full toss which I completely mis read but managed to toe end back to a conveniently placed fielder. A few more conventional shots followed and GCC’s reply was underway. The next over proved to be a personal season (career?) highlight….. Not only did I manage a six (good boundary marking, I thought) but even more impressively we ran a three (not sure the boundary marking was so good any more). This will surely never happen again with me at the business end of the pitch. Unfortunately this did for my ankle and put me down at the end where the ball was keeping a bit low……

GCC continued scoring runs but also their generosity with wickets. A few increasingly nervous glances at our padded up but sedentary skipper were matched by a perceptible increase in the asking rate. ‘I hope he knows what he is doing’, I mused. It turns out he knew exactly what he was doing and the ball was soon flying every which way as boundary followed boundary although AP was un able to match my tally of maximums (clever boundary marking, I thought). But aided by Sam, Don and Ben, he brought GCC home and after a rapid Spring Lane deconstruction we retired to HQ.

Over a few beers, I realized the Philanderers helmeted and ball losing number three was an old friend from Camden (and Real Tennis) and that their opening bowler had been born in Grantchester and could remember cricket being played opposite HQ. He’d made a point of signing up for the game so his parents could come and watch!

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