Cricket-Destroyer of the Soul
Posted on August 20, 2012
After deciding not to see the Royal return of Reading FC to the Premier League on Saturday I embarked a marathon of cricket this weekend, playing in heavy defeats for Oakley on Saturday and Sunday, both games being great examples of my calamitous nature and general ineptitude towards a game that requires a cool and calm head under pressure rather than the Stan Laurel guide to cricket that I served up to the general amusement of everyone except my good self.
I arrived at Amport Cricket Club on Saturday full of confidence after making a score 19 last week that startled everyone including myself, an innings that featured one front foot drive for four that turned the pavilion in to a place of stunned silence as I pinched myself to ensure that I was not stuck in a vivid dream. However, in my case, class is temporary and (poor) form is permanent and this brief window of looking like a cricketer rather than a windmill in a force nine was soon greeted with a timely return to the chaotic, panic stricken disasters that have proudly built my unenviable reputation.
When I arrived at the crease, my captains instruction was to get Tommy (who was bludgeoning sixes and fours) on strike as soon as possible, so on the third delivery I faced, I jabbed the ball in to what I thought was a little gap and proceeded to run like fuck. It was only when I heard the words “NO, NO, NO…GET BACK!” I realised that there maybe a slight problem and it was at this moment I went into cartoon mode, putting the foot brakes on as if I was trying to stop myself running off the edge of a cliff, which I guess, metaphorically speaking, I was. Goodnight Vienna. Being the good loser that I am, I walked back to the pavilion and threw my gloves at the wall, abusing myself with an eclectic string expletives as I did so, it was an ugly scene that did not need to be witnessed by a lady scorer who looked like she had just walked out of an advert in the Sunday Telegraph magazine.
So, instead of catching up with old mates, having a few beers and watching the football, I spent about two minutes batting and the rest of the afternoon watching some arrogant public schoolboy smashing fours and sixes all over the place, one that smashed in to the sole of my foot at a fearsome rate before gleefully trickling over the boundary. However, at least all was not lost, yet another game the next day would allow me the possibility of redemption because, if nothing else, I am the master of eternal optimism and delusion, always assuming that one day it will all come together and I will score the fifty runs I so dearly crave.
A sunny day at Oakley: Little did I know the sunshine would conspire against me
My Sunday didn’t start well when I took a swig of bubble bath, mistaking it for mouth wash, but with the sun shining brightly again, I had a feeling this might just be the big day. However, I was not to know that Mother Nature and a cunning opposing captain were going to viciously conspire against me, because my dear friends, as I walked out to bat I looked along the wicket straight into the sun. I literally could not see the bowler, let alone the red shiny hard thing he was about to hurl at me. Now, one man’s definition of bad sportsmanship is another man’s definition of good tactics and I am undecided in this particular case, but the fact is, the opposition decided that a clever way to get me out was to toss the ball in the air at just the right height, therefore blinding me and turning me in to the equivalent of Stevie Wonder holding a stick of rhubarb.
I had already been teased at the crease by some fat bastard calling me Brigadier Blockaball (presumably in response to a turgid seven I had scored against them in a Saturday game earlier in the season) when I picked up a cheeky single from the other end, but when I came to face this guy again, the game was well and truly up. He misjudged the first ball, which turned in to beamer that I saw about a millisecond before it hit my head but the second was flighted beautifully into the sun as I metaphorically sat at my piano playing Ebony and Ivory. I tried to look up but instinct made me pull my head back out of the direct sun rays and look down just in time to see the ball land on my off stump; I could have vomited on the spot.
So, this weekend, I spent approximately fourteen hours on or around a cricket ground in exchange for about six minutes batting action that featured one run scored, a bruised foot and humiliation aplenty. Maybe western governments should introduce cricket as a form of torture to administer on terror suspects as an alternative to water boarding, the Taliban would be singing like canaries if they had been put through the public ordeal I have just experienced.
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