Almanac Cricket: Never invite a prospective romantic partner to come see you play cricket!

A piece of advice to young cricketers – NEVER, under any circumstances, invite a prospective romantic partner to come and see you play. Here is my tale of misfortune.


In my early 20s (well before I met the fabulous Mrs D) I invited a girl I had been seeing for a few weeks to watch me play. What was I thinking?


Prior to that point (and for some time after it, it must be said) I struggled with the fairer sex. I was as awkward as a Curtly Ambrose bouncer and had the confidence of Darryl Cullinan facing a Shane Warne flipper. Despite a few valiant attempts, I hadn’t had a serious girlfriend to that point.


I met the young lass through mutual friends. We had gone out on a few dates and were hitting it off quite well. I even sacrificed watching a game of the 2003 cricket World Cup (I must have been keen) to take her on a date to Crown Casino. Why do 97% of country blokes think the Crown Casino is the cultural and fine dining high point of Melbourne?


She was a lovely country lass that had the ability to engage in chats about sport and was funny and attractive to boot. I was as keen as mustard. I think she liked my ability to spin a yarn and put a smile on her face. I doubt she was drawn to my dress sense of hanging onto wearing a chambray shirt about 10 years after they went out of fashion or my scent of Brut Aftershave (which appealed to about 0.002% of females).


The match in question was the final of the Victorian Turf Cricket Association first grade one day competition and was played on the Labour Day public holiday. As a result, instead of playing in front of a crowd of two scorers and a Labrador, there were 50 people watching – a suburban cricketer’s Boxing Day Test equivalent!


My Royal Park Brunswick cricket club were taking on our neighbours from Youlden Parkville cricket club. It was a decent standard of cricket and the chance to play for silverware added prestige to the occasion.


Somehow, in the back of my mind I thought she would love the day watching suburban cricket, rather than brunching with friends or going to the beach. I guess deep down I just wanted her to come and see me do something I was good (relatively) at and was passionate about. Stopping short of committing to the full day, she promised to pop in during her study break – she was a Brunswick girl so lived relatively close to the ground.


We fielded first. As a general rule I had the athleticism of Bruce Reid in the field (even then, in my early 20s). Every over I kept scanning for her. She promised she would be there. I was getting worried. Perhaps, I had been stood up? By the 34th over (of a 40 over innings) she had not appeared. I assumed she wasn’t coming. Next thing I know the striker creamed one in my direction at mid-off. I gave it the Sydney Harbour Bridge dive and hit the deck as the ball sped through me to the boundary. I knew I wasn’t going to get the ball, so the dive was really to show some false intent and also if I was on the deck, I knew some other bloke would need to leg it to the boundary to get it.


As I picked myself up off the ground the following conversation took place (loud enough for all 50 spectators and residents of houses within a 22km radius to hear) between myself and our aggrieved medium pace bowler:


Bowler: For F*** sake Doddsey, at least get something behind the ball.


Dodson:  F*** you, I wasn’t the one who bowled the half volley!


I never did embrace the 360 degree feedback model and was always ready to attack at the slightest form of well justified criticism.


As I trotted off to take up my position at fine leg the following over, it turns out a 51st spectator had arrived – She had arrived seconds before the above incident. I apprehensively waved mid unathletic stride (whilst running slower than Cliffy young in the final stages of the Westfield Ultra Marathon). She simply looked at the dirt – not quite with disdain, rather with enough embarrassment to not want the crowd to know she was loosely associated with me at that point.


During the innings break I went over and invited her to the clubrooms to sample the delux spread of ham and cheese sandwiches, lemon cordial, party pies and platter of BBQ shapes. She declined and continued reading her book in the glorious March afternoon sunshine.


The gentle snickering from nearby teammates, amused that their prematurely balding off-spinner had been able to entice an attractive young girl to the cricket, was hardly filling her with confidence to come in either.


I implored (begged) her to hang around for another 20 minutes as I was opening the batting. She politely agreed to stay, yet we both knew her heart wasn’t in it. I was hoping an innings of Greg Chappell like pure elegance would swing her vote back in my favour (even though I was incapable of such an innings).


When I inside edged the 4th ball of the innings onto my pad and it ballooned back to the bowler my display of supreme athleticism and masculinity was complete. There would be no ton and waving my bat in her direction today, all she heard was a cry of “f— me!” as the ball hung in the air for what seemed like 20 minutes, before being caught.


I strode from the crease to the sheds (trying to at least display some athletic form for the first time in the day), ripped the pads off and went over for a chat, hoping that she would be impressed that I owned a cable knit cricket jumper (that hadn’t been washed in 7 years).


She looked confused. Disappointed. Perhaps a little bewildered.


The nice young educated country bloke she had gone on a few pleasant dates with had turned out to be a white line fever ridden foul-mouthed git with all the athleticism of a pensioner recovering from recent hip surgery, when he set foot on a cricket field.


We lost the game.


It doesn’t need to be said that she didn’t hang around for the spread of ‘hot doggies and steamed dimmies’ after the match. Truth be known I think she was wavering about my credentials before coming to the cricket that day. I think my display was the final nail in the coffin. The last I saw of her was as she strode purposely from the scene of the crime with her study notes tucked under her arm. My moment had passed.


The next time I invited a partner to see me play cricket, it was Mrs D at the start of my cricketing adventure last summer. By that time we had been married 10 years and she was well aware of my limited strengths and abundance of weaknesses. Young cricketers beware and heed my advice!



FYI to purchase a copy of the book on my adventure playing 11 games or cricket for 11 clubs last season, while raising funds for mental health (books only $20 with profits going to charity), click HERE.



To read more from Craig, click HERE.



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About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.


  1. A good yarn, Craig.
    The young lady obviously had no appreciation of the finer points of local cricket (arvo tea, post-match beers etc).
    But as some people say: everything happens for a reason.

  2. Great yarn Craig.

    In my early twenties I thought chambray shirts and skinny leather ties were peak fashion and I’d wear both forever.

  3. craig dodson says

    Smokie, you are dead right.. It all worked out well in the end!

    Mickey, thankfully most of the photographic evidence of me in said attire no longer exists.

  4. Craig I got 70 odd one game and Emma didn’t even no I had batted I let her no that she wasn’t expected to have to come and watch again ( unfortunately her lack of love for cricket remains )

  5. craig dodson says

    Malcolm, I hope you at least provided a highlights summary of the sparkling 70 odd on the drive home!

  6. Craig Emma left well before stumps I may have had,70 odd beers at the club that night before being picked up and would have been speaking right arm swahelly by then

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