Almanac Cricket Poetry: The Ballad of Bluey Jenner

 

Young Bluey Jenner loved it tough, he loved the open air

And when the school day finished, well he didn’t have a care.

 

In Blundstones, shorts and singlet top he’d head straight for the ground

His favourite sight a new red ball, and thwack! his favourite sound.

 

He carved them up in junior games across the plains out west.

Yet uninhibited senior games brought from him his best.

 

He played no junior rep sides, rather playing for his club

And by the age of 15 he could order at the pub.

 

A city delegation stood and drank from frosted glass

“Where is this young B Jenner? We have heard about his class.”

 

“Playing cricket in the country is not his lifetime’s test.

He should play in front of thousands; playing against the best.”

 

“He’ll be at the nets,” the barman said, pointing out the door.

“While the sun is up; or my feet aren’t standing on this floor.”

 

And sure enough the delegation found him in the nets,

Pulling, driving, cutting and all while servicing his bets.

 

At the city proposition Bluey Jenner flicked his head

And shrugged his strapping shoulders and then “Yes” is what he said.

 

He smashed the District records in the city from day one.

And lived with billets, ate from tins and never used his gun.

 

Selected for the State he smashed more records without care,

His game awareness growing like his ragged tousled hair.

 

“He should be playing the next Test,” and “does he have a brother?”

“We need him on TV” said the suits to one another.

 

So they picked him to debut in a poorly scheduled Test.

Calamitous top order bats gave zero time to rest.

 

Then into gloom walked Bluey Jenner; deviating deck.

He left his first four, blocked his fifth and played and missed his sixth.

 

“You’re too young, son,” said wicketkeeper and several of the slips.

“The outswinger will get you or the short one to your hips.”

 

But Bluey Jenner turned and winked to catchers there behind.

And as the thunderous bowler reached his delivery stride.

 

“You blokes are all the same,” said Young Bluey to his elders.

And swayed under the ball that was aimed between his shoulders.

 

And Bluey rode the bumps that day, with hope and desperation.

Though ill-advised spectators booed his very application.

 

He made a few, they won the Test and celebrated hard.

Coach said: “Son to be one of us; you need to play more cards.”

 

And someone handed him a schedule of the the next six weeks.

Five cities, ten plane flights; Bluey Jenner puffed out his cheeks.

 

The dietician took the drink can right out of his hands.

Plane tickets, hotel reservations and now diet plans.

 

Senior players flicked their towels and compared their physiques,

And laughed and looked in mirrors while they gave each other cheek.

 

And Bluey Jenner had the game, he’d proven himself well.

On the field he’d soared and swooped; but off field was a hell.

 

So Bluey Jenner said: “Know what? I’m packing up today.”

“I’m heading back to western plains, to cut and harvest hay.”

 

“I’ve lived your scene, I’ve climbed your ladder to the very top.”

“I’ve seen the view from up here and to me it’s not much chop.”

 

“Give me eucalypts and rusty nets and five blokes there in shorts

And utes and bikes and dust and snakes and young kids building forts.

 

“I’ve had enough of living like some piece of luggage shipped.

I’m heading back to western plains; that’s where my tag was clipped.”

 

Then Bluey Jenner turned and walked, and leaving his kit bags,

Walked out the gate and down the steps, and past the flying flags.

 

He caught the train at Central, caught it all the way out west.

Back to the spot, the very spot, where he had felt the best.

 

And to this day he trains and plays and has himself a laugh

Does Bluey Jenner, cricketer, mate; wheat amongst the chaff.

 

trumper

About David Wilson

Hit for a towering 6 by Mike Gatting at the Banyule Cricket Club, December 2002, theatrically attempting to reproduce the SK Warne delivery. The ball is yet to land. @e_regnans

Comments

  1. Ripper.

  2. Paddy Grindlay says:

    Beautiful stuff.

    A great read.

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    No flies on Bluey.
    Beautiful composition ER. Love the Lawson like flow and turn of phrase. We need more Bluey’s and poetry like this in Australian cricket !!

  4. Thanks all.
    I like Bluey Jenner.

    Thanks to Ian Bland and his “Manacunna” (posted today) for the inspiration.
    Poetry day at the Footy Almanac.
    https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/almanac-footy-poetry-manacunna-by-ian-bland/
    His is a seriously good piece.

  5. jan courtin says:

    I like it a lot!

  6. Superb OBP a few messages there as well ( accept and embrace differences )

  7. ER – this is a tale of olde Australia. The one where hard work and skill was rewarded. Not the one today which is a slave to agendas. Enjoyed Bluey’s ride.

    Can’t picture Bluey advertising TVs or posing on the red carpet.

  8. Thanks Jan, OBP, Dips.

    Does Bluey remind you of anyone?
    I’d like to visit those nets.

  9. Luke Reynolds says:

    Wow. Brilliant ER.

    I like to think those Western Plains Bluey hails from are in Victoria’s West.

    Can relate to much of this. Of course not the State and Test selection…

  10. Bravo, old mate.

    A rip-snorting read.

  11. E.regnans says:

    Thanks Luke, Smokie.
    Grateful.

  12. Nice one e-r, enjoyed the story!

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