Almanac Cricket: Kew v Power House – The Spirit of Cricket

I love the game of cricket. I have a full set of Wisden, The Cricketer, Cricket, A Weekly Record of the Game and the Lillywhites: all the usual things that lovers of the game tend to collect.


I have played and umpired the game in the Merks all my adult life. Teeth are my week day job so you can imagine what it is like wearing gowns, masks, using sterile equipment, giving people bad news, etc but leaving the surgery at noon on Saturday and spending the rest of the day on Oval 2 at Fawkner Park and having a couple of beers at beer o’clock.


The Merks are a lovely place to put up your cricketing shingle. The parks we play in are beautiful and we have umpires in all our games, down to our eleventh grade, something that is unique in the world of cricket. There is  positive feed back going on here as players who play in competitions that don’t have umpires below their top grades, umpire the games themselves (a remarkable thing in itself. Try a soccer game without umpires) and they behave poorly as a result. When these players get promoted into higher grade they do not know how to behave and they crucify umpires, who then give umpiring away.


This does not happen in the Merks as all games have neutral umpires. Well nearly neutral as I particularly dislike….. Merk player’s behave well and we retain more umpires, and better umpires. With better umpiring, behaviour improves yet again.


So, what really makes the Merks a place that I cherish is not really the picturesque parks but the people who captain, play and umpire in this competition and on Sunday we had another example of the Spirit of Cricket and/or the Mercantile Vibe. Cricket played the right way.


Here is the situation. Kew has put a development team in a lower grade of the Merks consisting of a few dads and some gifted youngsters.  They came up against  Power House who have not had a reported player in recorded memory of the association. There is another team (Nationals) that can boast of the same thing. Those of you who know me will immediately realise that I find this a challenge, and I now go on record that I will not retire until I have reported a player from both of these teams!


Power House slaughtered the young Kew side, winning after batting for sixteen overs, but our one-day games are not single innings games. You can get outrights and so Power House were planning to send Kew back in to bat for a second time. The Kew captain thought it ridiculous that his team of kids were going to ‘have their faces rubbed in it so to speak’, but that is what our rules allow. He was going to refuse to play on and simply walk off the field.


I went to the Power House captain and explained the situation. He was within his rights to insist that the match continue in an attempt to get extra points for his team but he thought that the spirit of the game was far more important than Sunday’s game and ladder positions come final’s time. He, with the good grace that we expect from Power House, agreed to end the game.


It is people like this that keep me umpiring in the Merks.



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  1. Colin Ritchie says

    Played with Kew CC late 60s early 70s. Two teams in Sub-District (1sts & 2nds) and 3 teams in the ESCA if my memory serves me well. I mainly played 4ths & 5ths. Fond memories.

  2. Nice yarn, Phil

  3. Good to see Phil.

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