The weather was good, the outfield, square and wicket were well prepared although on closer inspection Elliot had driven the heavy roller over the wet popping crease then rolled the wicket. We were left with a beautifully manicured grass Zebra Crossing with 18 white stripes along its length!
Paul Wordsworth arrived in good time bearing some fine home grown runner beans, from his allotment, which he presented to the skipper with an obsequious bow.
Presumably the skipper had eaten the courgettes Paul gave him on Friday. Presumably Paul would secure an elevated position in the batting order for his generosity, who knows?
As one who is mostly invited to bat at number 8 or lower these days I am now attempting to secure an allotment of my own in the village. If the waiting list is too long I might just buy him some veg at Bicester’s excellent Friday market.
At precisely 1.30pm we took to the field and did a bit of much needed catching practice. The keener observers amongst us had noticed that not one single member of the opposition had arrived. Maybe they thought it was a 2pm start? Sadly that was not the case so a rethink was required.
We decided to have a “Pairs Competition” amongst ourselves. Teams were randomly selected based on height and battle commenced. Richard Lumb, resplendent in a new white hoodie, umpired, Chris Greer scored and Tim Riley kept wicket throughout.
We all had good fun including quite a lot of skulduggery and banter. Jason “Flight and Guile” Williams and Jamie Lumb were hot favourites. (Mainly because Jamie’s dad was umpire)
At 4.15pm we left the field and enjoyed a fantastic Cricket Tea supplied by the Morris Family. This included several different high quality freshly made sandwiches, brownies, cakes and cream scones. It was an absolute masterpiece!
After tea Rob Barton and I (Simmo) played against Jason & Jamie. Someone who did vaguely understand what was going on explained that if we beat Jason, Jamie (and the umpire) we would win overall, so we did.
So that was that. A good day was had by all and we left the field to have a well-earned drink with our bemused spectators.
Learning Points for Pairs Competitions (and cricket generally)
- Batsmen - Hit the ball into gaps and run hard. Punish any wayward deliveries. Getting clean bowled/stumped whilst playing an enormous wipe across the line is unhelpful.
- Bowlers - The deliveries that pitch on and around the 15th Zebra Stripe on the wicket proved to be the hardest to score against.
- Try to get a family member to umpire and bowl from their end. Don’t be afraid to protect your stumps with your pads whilst batting.
- Arrange to play against opposition that can raise a side and will turn up.
- Provide a superb tea. Future selection guaranteed.
- Provide free vegetables for the Umpire as well as the Skipper.
- Have your inhaler (asthma) insulin (Diabetes), Atropine auto jets (Gas Attack) Lolly pop sticks (ED) close at hand. Inform team mates of your condition.
- Enjoy it.