One of the traditional parts of lower grade cricket is the arguing about the scorebooks. You have two scorers, one from each side. And you can guarantee that at the end of the innings, the two scorebooks will not tally. This results in a long argument between the respective scorers regarding which is correct. The 7 for 181, which I believed we had scored, turned out to be 7 for 169 in “their” book. Luckily for us, we had ‘Prof’ on our side. Prof. used to be a university professor, and it was agreed that he would arbitrate. Eventually, the 7 for 181 stood as our score. I quietly asked one of our other players what subject ‘Prof’ had been an expert in. I don't even know what ethnomusicology is.
The tea break bore an uncanny resemblance to the drinks break. Tea was nowhere in sight, and instead both teams attacked the keg with great gusto. Heavy drinking is part of Australian cricket culture, but at my age, I have slowed down a little. I had a quick 5 schooners, and then decided to check my email on the laptop. Nothing new had come through, except for about 28 offers from some guy in Kenya who wants to give me $20 million. This sort of spam really bugs me – it is clearly a scam and after the fifth try I realized that it simply doesn’t work.
I also took the opportunity to check on the ‘net on how my erstwhile sponsor, the ‘Classic Bat Company’, was going. It appears that they went out of business. Their website says that they went broke “sponsoring too many crap cricketers”. Poor buggers – they should have taken more care in choosing their players. They made good stuff, but must have given their equipment away to too many English guys who didn’t deserve it.
By now, it was nearing 45 degrees in the shade. It was probably slightly cooler than that out in the field – the only shade was under a tin lean-to and it was stinking hot under there. I called my team together for a quick pep-talk prior to the game resuming. It took some severe yelling to get them away from the keg, and I think that it was only the fact that it was empty that allowed the game to resume. ‘Spotty’ seemed to have recovered from his dummy-spit during our innings, and was ready to play again. I was initially impressed with Jeremy’s dedication – he appeared to have overcome his disappointment at me giving him out and was doing some limbering up exercises. Turns out he was drunk off his nut and was just trying to stand up – thirteen year olds and free beer sometimes don’t mix too well.
We were ready – the opposition openers were ready, and once they finished arguing over who had to umpire, we could start the final stage of the battle royale. I said this, and Prof. told me that ‘royale’ meant “custard cut into shapes and used as a garnish in soups”. I told him where to go, and we trooped out.