There are some fixtures in the year that everyone gets excited about. Bodle St is one of these for so many reasons: the sun always seems to shine on this weekend, the isolation in the beautiful countryside, the dog the size of a horse, the amazing thai green curry tea, the expression on Biff’s face when the curry is not vegie-compatible, the cider that flows and flows and the fact that at some points during the afternoon there are “more cans of beer fielding than men” (Burgess, 2011). The only real downer on this fixture is that some of us have to drive. Luckily that didn’t include me this week. It also just so happened that this year this fixture was one of those days that worked. After the animosity of the last game against WG Gracefully (which we did win well in the end), this fixture was riddled with hilarity, camaraderie and damn good cricket. Here’s what happened.
Howling wind was what we faced from the beginning. Those enormous oak trees lining the beautiful estate did not stop swaying – much like our drunken opening bowler Rocky. Skipper Line lost the toss and persuaded the opposition skipper to let us bat first in a 35 over match. The shorter version of the game allowing for the 90 minute tea break and 35 minute drinks break. The wicket was awkward, corresponding nicely with the Shadow’s description of it as “mud with grass on it”. Dried mud that was.
In the warmup the signs were good. Biff’s new Newbery “Che” giving AlaGala the first golden shower of the season (oh wait no, EEO and Dave kicked that off last week at WG), crashing into his full pint of cider spraying him with its contents. But both openers went fairly early, with Jerry victim of a shooter and Biffo – well I don’t really know what happened – I was in the bushes giving nature back some of that marvellous cider. Apparently he was run out in the 9th over for 29. That left Tel (Shadooooowwwwww) Burgess and Del (aussie scum) Covill at the crease. Tel actually took 28 balls to get off the mark. Yes I now realise, this was 13% of our innings. A decent partnership followed, providing some grass to hold together the mud that was our innings, taking the team eventually to 3-70. Tel eventually fell on his sword of batting dignity by swinging, grunting and after a decent pause watching the ball plop into his stumps. As I said, the wicket was awkward. New greysman Dave Hadrill provided very stubborn resistance to some well targeted bowling from the Bodle St Cidermen, stonewalling the straight ones and neatly pushing around the wider deliveries to rotate the strike. The runs kept coming for TMGs, with the ciders bleeding sundries and Del riding his luck, eventually passing the 49 mark. When Dave fell on 106, Alex came to the crease for only a moment before a rather embarrassing runout (for both batsmen) sending him on his way without scoring. AlaGala (Alan, Alan, Alan, Alan, Alan….Steve!!) strode to the wicket playing some dashing strokes and avenging Alex’s wicket by running cheeky single after cheeky single. When the centre wicket chat turned to picking places to slog the ball to, Alan succumbed to the next full straight flat one, attempting to hoik, with cross batted glory. The appeal only got to “h…” before the finger went up. Then the wickets kept a-going, Del (79) with a similar charging glory hoik, only this time being stumped by the keeper who’d broken his ankle and let through 16 byes. Yet another hoik accounted for Double Dee Day and after a 35 minute delay waiting for Rocky Hoare to pad up he too fell with a hoik to Lee who eventually ended up with a well earned 3-27. All the while EEO paddled and stroked his way to a stylish 17 not out, including a marvellous cover drive (caught on camera!) with Ibu there at the end on a single. The final total 9-170.
As always the tea was delicious. In my opinion the best of the year. Biff was nowhere to be seen and the enormous dog tried to lick everyone’s plate or balls. The wind kept blowing chairs over and many pints of cider were sacrificed.
The second dig started oddly. Double Dee bowling a straight and good length delivery only to be smashed on the up straight back past him. It had 4 written all over it. The umpire, with his pint of cider between his legs was slow to move, think, react, know what happened – and the ball careered off his ankle, eventually dribbling to mid off. No run. Alo – this should be interesting! Then things changed. Davey and Rock bowled superbly. Wicko fell for naught and Davey’s fielding off his own bowling was superb. The ring was tight, but the cidermen continued to play their shots with full value. A dismissal which mirrored the shadooooow’s (see above) to remove the second opener Green (18) started a chain of events and some sublime cricketing moments followed. Alex with a super diving stop at gully, complemented nicely with a throw that went nowhere (literally nowhere, it dropped at his feet). Then the moment that certainly changed my afternoon – through both glee and pain. Rocky, bowling just short of a length, on-driven/hoiked ambitiously on the up by Williams – he didn’t quite get there – ended up smashing it a long way in the air – it hung – it swung – around the mid-on mid-wicket area, not a chance- or was it – my god did it sway and hang in the air (like this description), like a drunken student I wobbled, side stepped, it came down, not anywhere near me, one last attempt to restore dignity by at least getting a hand on it, diving to the right, and well there it was. It stuck. Only a few inches off the ground. I felt like a seeker with his snitch. A seriously good, seriously lucky catch. Then it continued. We kept catching. Despite the cider. Despite the wind. Despite our reputation to not continue catching catches that are hit to us. Biff took 2 in quick time, one of them really superbly, diving forward at long-off. Ibu bowled a treat. His flight unprecedented for such a youngun. He’s learning, it was marvellous to watch. We waited for more catches like drunk, hungry cricketers at a fixture where they serve amazing thai green curry and cider for tea. But they didn’t come. Ibu bedazzled them with his flighty guile, and knocked over 4 in his wonderful spell into the howling wind ending up with 4-18. EEO finished it off in style, Pecker falling for 1, another solid catch for the skipper. So that was it, another fantastic fixture at Poodle St, ending up in the constant for some yummy Harveys. Del (me) winning the PSM for that catch at mid-on. After a whole 100 minutes of typing I still have the scars to prove it!