Monday, October 22, 2007

My Cricketing Diary 2007/08 - Part 7

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.

12 comments:

SixandOut said...

This is funny, Stuart, but I am not sure if you were in a very good mood when you wrote this.

Six

Stuart said...

Hey Six,

It is fictional of course (although largely based around people and events I have seen in around 25 years of cricket).

A friend on the main message board I post on started a thread about his 2007 season, so I couldn't help but be a smart-arse and rip it off.

I hope that people don't really think I am as big a tosser as I portray in the diary.

SixandOut said...

Stuart, you are a good storyteller. You could write a novel out of your experiences, just like your Gregory David Roberts aka Shantaram.

Btw, I like your selection of books. Like you, I am always juggling with five to six books at a time. Not a good habit by any means, but I just can't help it.

David Barry said...

I used to love scoring. It'd always annoy me that after I got out, I'd go back to the scorebook and see untidy handwriting and scores that didn't tally.

It's a pity that there aren't usually many vacancies for state cricket scorers....

Mark said...

Good stuff. The joys of club cricket eh?!!

We've got a player in our club who relgiously counts his runs, and will argue with the scorer if the two totals do not match when he's out. He'll even dispute umpire decisions on leg-byes once he's out, and ask for the runs to be added to his total.... especially if he's out on 49!

Stuart said...

Thanks Six. I always have about 5 or 6 books on the go at any given time (depending upon what sort of mood I am in). I have a very low boredom threshold (30 minutes of the Simpsons is just perfect), and I think it bugs my wife immensely when I start reading a book five minutes into a movie cause I've lost interest in the plot.

David, from reading your blog, it makes sense that the purity of your scoring would be compromised by others getting their dirty little mitts onto it :) .

Stuart said...

Hi Mark,

Just noticed your comment (was posting at the same time as you).

I remember a guy who would go back after the game and re-write the scores in the book so that it tallied with what he reckoned he got (he was always robbed of a few runs, even if he was run-out without facing a ball). Funny thing was, no-one caught on until the end of the season when the run aggregates were being totalled.

Mark said...

We played against one side every year. They had two good bats who were very competitive - always comparing each others averages, and having personal bets as to who would score most runs.

At the end of one season, Batsman A was ahead by about 20 runs. He happily went off on holiday a week after the end of the season, only for Batsman B to arrange another game in his absence (in farcical cold/wet conditions) just so he could score the extra 20 runs - which he did.

Another club we play have a bowler who MADE UP a game in the club scorebook at the end of the year to ensure he got over 50 wickets!

Soulberry said...

I hate spam too...never did trust those mails either...but what the heck! Additions never hurt.

I keep the score these days, umpire, substitute in the field or am a last-minute vacancy inclusion to complete the eleven. Mostly, I motivate from under similar lean-to's. Hey, I even get to take pictures man!

Excellent, and I'm keeping up with you...Classic Bat Company handing out bats indeed! (laugh) I was wondering how the English would enter an Australian cricket story...they have to. But that's a classic piece of statement...we never will know for sure if they went down for handing bats out to the Englishment or...

Stuart, just in case you write a book, please do mail me the ISBN number. Thanks.

Let's breach the next keg...it's a bloody art you know?

Stuart said...

Hey Soulberry,

As I said a bit earlier, this is a fictional diary, but largely based around things I have seen.

In real life I was sponsored by The Classic Bat Company. It was an English brand, and they made beautiful handmade bats (I've still got two floating about in my kit). Chris Broad and Gary Sobers were directors of the company, and they also sponsored a number of lesser West Indian players for a few years (Nixon McLean amongst others).

They had been around for a decade or so, and yet they went broke within a year of starting to sponsor me. I always wondered if I was the catalyst for their demise ....

Soulberry said...

Oops, That was rather close!

I'm sure there must have been other reasons. Not many cricketers make good businessmen...at least not the older set. Today, fellows are much savvier.

I'll wind up the night with the rest of your diary. It's good enough to be printed you know...

Stuart said...

Thanks for your kind words Soulberry - I appreciate them. I've just stuck up part 13 (basically the conclusion). I think I've run the humour well dry now, and will go back to writing historical stuff.