Ansty 27th July 2014.
Dear Del, Alex and Jerry, Doncha just think it’s fab the way we talk to each other every week, with the rest of the world looking in on our witty banter? Maybe one day some of them will be brave enough to chip in too! Anyway, all the talk when I got to the Constant last week was about our loss at Streat and how everyone had got caught at Square Leg off Stan Spiegel. Eh? I never hit the ball anywhere near Square Leg! I don’t remember any of this, I sat there thinking, until it dawned on me. I didn’t play this game as I was hiding from the rays in Spain! I blamed my first pint of Harvey’s for a while and tried hard to get focussed. Maybe a second pint will help. Just in time, Biff helped with my loss of orientation by suggesting that I should take Ian Sewell and his son John with me in the car to the ground. That’ll really help clear my head and get me zeroed in. Me: “You didn’t write that match report the other week, did you? John: “No” Me: “You haven’t even read it have you?” John: “No”
Great chatting with the yoof of today. Was I that garrulous when I was that age?
Me: “Is your kit still at your house Ian?”
Ian: “Yes” Ian very helpfully suggested a large number of short cuts as we made our way to Ditchling, and although we left first, we arrived sometime after everyone else, feeling even-tempered and stress free. However could I have got there without the help and advice of Brighton’s leading taxi driver? Needless to say, Biff loss the toss – he really is a hopeless tosser these days – and Ansty decided to bat first on a used, dusty, rock-hard pitch. Alan, bowling with pace and bounce, had their opener caught at Cover by Jibbering John and Robbie, back off his full ten paces, used the facilities this time to get Ansty down to 34 for 4. A fifty partnership between Butler and Mundy was skilfully broken by Yours Truly’s doosra and Robbie’s bucket hands, and E.O bananaed away to remove Mundy, Patel and Martin. Ansty were 118 for 8 and we were all thinking that we’d be chasing 130 at the most. As more and more loose runs were conceded, our wicket keeper became more and more frustrated.
“Don’t let them get in your hair, Gel”, someone said, helpfully.
Ten overs and 60 runs later Guy bowled Palmer middle stump in his first over and Ansty were all out for 178 with two overs unused. How did that happen?
Chasing about four and a half an over, Tresemme Brasher and Biff were always behind the rate when Jerry fell LBW in the 9th over with the score on 19. Carrying on his recent run of form, Biff batted well for his 31 until he was bowled trying to crank up the rate and Guy, batting more circumspectly than usual on a lively pitch, chased a wide one and was caught at Point for 25. All eyes were now on Double Dee to see us home, although even he faced twelve consecutive dot balls. Runs weren’t easy to find and Dave, too, was eventually bowled for a pugnacious 33.
At the other end, Hatrick Flynn continued to establish himself as a fine emerging all-rounder for the Greys, having run about 4 miles in the field earlier, throwing in fast and accurate returns to the stumps from all parts of the boundary. Now, as he grew in confidence, he pulled out some cracking PSM-nominated drives and a quintet of boundaries before he was caught behind for 34.
Walking to the wicket in the 76th over of the day, with 32 needed off four overs left I had only one thought on my mind: the games nearly over and, thankfully, I won’t win PSM as I’ve done fuck all so far today. And I’ve done enough of this writing of unacknowledged posts recently. Talking of which, in previous posts (e.g. Luppitt) I’ve offered advice on key aspects of the game such as catching. This week I want to talk to you three about a rarely discussed and frequently misunderstood aspect of the game:
Running between the wicket: do’s and don’ts
- Try and twat the ball to the boundary as hard and as often as possible. Cuts out all the need for all that tedious running, helps you keep up with the run rate and win the game.
- If you really do have to do that running thing, run the first one hard, turn immediately and look to see if there’s a second run. Just like you’ve seen me do.
- In the absence of appropriate attire, shove a box a box down your Calvin Klein’s and try and run with a bat in one hand and your bollocks in the other, with your box starting its journey down your trouser leg and onto the pitch.
- When there is a Yes-No Interlude, publically admonish your batting partner in such way that not only the opposition but everyone watching in front of the Pavilion, Brunswick Village and Kemp Town on the other pitch and the kitchen staff in the White Horse can hear you. Wait until the ball is dead, walk to the middle of the wicket and have a quiet and respectful chat with your batting partner. Like they do on telly.
- Shout “Good running” when someone runs a quick single when they could just as easily have smacked it to the boundary. We are a team of tonkers. In a run chase, close your eyes and twat it.
- Get over-enthusiastic about backing up as the non-striking batsman. There is a danger that you will arrive at the other end before the ball and get hit instead.
Attack of the Killer Red Ants!
When EO joined me at the crease 32 off 4 had become 29 off three. Nevertheless, Ken, captaining Ansty for the day, decided that he wouldn’t take the risk and, pulling a silver box out of his pocket released its contents on my head. For the next ten minutes I swatted anything red in front of my eyes, hoping that one of them was the ball. Luckily a full toss from Jarvis turned out not to be a flying ant and I despatched it to the Square Leg boundary.
No-one really believes what happened next. An agricultural club through midwicket towards the long boundary on the on side. . Run EO run! And again. Fielders shouting contradictory instructions everywhere! Bowler! Keeper! Incoming ball. Run again. Ball flies miles past everyone backing up at the bowler’s end. Buzzers! What’s EO doing? Seems to be looking studiously at the sightscreen. Run EO! Scamper scamper. Five runs! 100 yards in 8.4 seconds! Oxygen! Why Oh why didn’t I just twat it to the boundary?
I managed to club one more through midwicket and then got run out. Anticlimactically, TMG managed only seven runs off the remaining twelve balls and we lost by nine runs. Somewhere in the last ten overs of their innings and the last five of ours, we had lost the game.
Anyway, must dash – can’t miss the post!
Your ever-loving Shadow.