Memoir: And how much cricket did you play?

“The Cricketer”
by Kate Birrell

 

 

In my years as curator of the Adelaide Oval Museum I was frequently asked two questions by visitors.

 

The first was ‘Are you Ashley Mallett?’

 

This puzzled me. Where was the physical resemblance except we were both over six feet tall. I’d cut the enquiry short, ‘Nah, I was a better off-spin bowler.’

 

The second question asked at the museum often came at the end of a chat.

 

‘And how much cricket did you play?’

 

‘Not a lot.’

 

My cricket began at around six years of age with a proper willow junior bat with a Sarawak cane handle on a cement pitch about eight metres long. My father would bowl underarm from a strip of buffalo lawn ten metres away. A fruit packing case served as my wicket and was placed in front of a wire screen back door.

 

While it was most important I defended my wicket it was even more important  I defended the door. We didn’t want the composition ball knocking holes in the screen which would upset my mother. ‘We don’t want to let the flies and mozzies in.’

 

On the off-side of the pitch ran a stone wall of the bathroom and a spare room we called a lobby. The mortar at the bottom of the wall was flaky and I was dissuaded from any off-side shots as we didn’t want any mortar knocked out.

 

‘Play straight, son.’

 

On the leg-side was a small square of couch lawn with a rotary clothes hoist in the middle occupying a short-leg position. Beyond the clothes hoist was a peach tree at mid-wicket, a sullage pit behind that, and an almond tree further back.

 

Dad mixed up his deliveries, varying his pace, length, direction and spin but it wasn’t a good idea for me to hit a ball towards the hoist if the clothes (and particularly the sheets) were on the line because we wouldn’t want to mark the sheets. It wasn’t a good idea to hit the ball under the peach tree either because we didn’t want to damage the peaches. And it wasn’t a good idea to hit the ball near the sullage pit because no one wanted to go near the sullage pit. And the almond tree was out of bounds too.

 

‘Play straight, son.’

 

Behind my father was a brush fence marking a boundary of our property. If he overpitched the ball I might drive it straight off the front foot, if he dropped it short I might drive it straight off the back foot, except that wasn’t a good idea either as the compo ball might knock holes in the fence, and we didn’t want holes in the fence. Result: I had no off-side shots, I had no leg-side shots, I had a great defence.

 

When I was twelve my father brought home three full-sized bats from a local cricket club. One was a William Warsop with a springy handle, one was a ‘Don Bradman’ Sykes, the third was a long-handled Gunn & Moore. I favoured the Warsop.

 

Apart from the size of the bats our backyard game changed dramatically. The pitch turned ninety degrees and was now turf – the couch lawn, the fruit packing case wicket was placed on the (former) cement pitch and behind it was the stone wall with the flaky mortar. I went from hard wicket to turf cricket at a stroke. At the same time Dad now bowled overarm, another ninety degree change and the ball was real leather with a seam.

 

The reorientation of the pitch meant there was no leg-side as the back screen door was at square leg. The galvanized iron wall of the laundry also prohibited any push or pull shots to or through mid-wicket, or wide of mid-on. We didn’t want to dent the iron. If the ball was pitched on leg stump my only option was:

 

‘Play straight, son.’

 

It might’ve been thought I now had off-side freedom. The rotary clothes hoist was now at silly mid-off, the peach tree at cover, the sullage pit a deeper extra cover, the almond tree at mid-off and the brush fence the cover boundary. However the same restrictions applied: don’t mess with the sheets, don’t bruise the peaches, beware of the sullage pit, don’t disturb the almonds, don’t knock a hole in the brush fence.

 

In fact, there was no danger of any of those things happening. I was intent on guarding my wicket, I was intent on guarding the mortar in the wall behind me. I played straight. I had a great defence.

 

My main cricket was played in the years I attended Murray Bridge High School. The school fielded teams in the local association in both A and B grade. In my first match against a bunch of fruit blockers from Mypolonga at the age of fourteen I opened the batting for the Bs with the headmaster who had the illustrious given names of Tristam Ronald George, kept wickets and captained the side. He kept wickets, captained the side and told me not to worry about scoring runs but simply to wear the shine off the ball. I wore shine off the ball for half an hour and then got out. For a duck!

 

Having transferred from St Joseph’s Convent School in Intermediate (Year 10) I was impressed to be opening the batting with the headmaster. I was also impressed by TRG’s triple initials which were rare in my experience and put me in mind of English Test batsmen PBH May and MJK Smith although his plain functional style befitted a Methodist. While he was University man it was Adelaide not Cambridge or Oxford and he certainly didn’t exhibit any flair at the crease. Nevertheless, he did make a few runs, 25 or thereabouts, a respectable total out of the team score of something under 100. Not much shine had been worn off the ball when our innings closed.

 

There was, of course, bowling. The clothes line had upset my flight when we switched the direction of backyard pitches. I had to push the ball through with my leg breaks and wrong’uns. Dad told my mother I had a good googly which was hard to read. I could be Richie Benaud but could I get a bowl?

 

We played the fruit-blockers on our well-watered clover ground with a malthoid pitch while our As on the ground above us dealt with a treacherous turf wicket that was ever a bowler’s paradise. We must’ve been fairly competitive in our first game despite the efforts of one of their middle-order batsmen who scored 60-odd mainly through a succession of cross bat heaves over mid-wicket. Our sinewy left-arm fast bowler, who should’ve been in the As, bowled twenty overs to take 3 wickets for 21, another left-arm medium-pacer delivered fifteen overs for 3 for 40. I was given five overs to ply my leg-spin and wrong’uns and was happy enough to take 3 for 35. I thought my strike rate bode well for a successful season. There appeared to be a lesson there but it depended on how it was read. Little did I know the conservative impulses of Tristam Ronald George.

 

The second Saturday of the opening match remains blank except for my ingloriously brief second innings. On this occasion I was determined to make some marks on the scorecard and, allowed the luxury of dropping to the middle-order, went into to face a sixty-something Friar Tuckish slow slow off-spinner with the curious name of Tom Shakes. Having seen the rewards for lofted cow shots by Mypo’s leading run-scorer in their innings I decided to attack from the outset. Looking back I now think maybe my whole cricket future hinged on that one ball.

 

I knew Mr Shakes from my golf club as a man who found it difficult to swing his driver around his gut, the result being that he operated with the shortest of short short swings, taking the club back to little more than hip height and propelling the ball a mere 120 metres down the fairway.

 

His weight, his age, his relative immobility were all factored into my equation. So much so that I danced down the wicket and drove his first delivery straight back over his head. It had four runs written all over it. Their leading scorer would’ve recognised a kindred spirit but what did the bowler do? Leapt, of course, how he did so was beyond me, got his finger tips of one hand to the ball, knocked it up in the air and caught the rebound. Out for a pair! Batting, life itself, would henceforth be a serious business.

 

Because he was left-handed and made a lot of runs on the 1961 tour of England, Bill Lawry became my hero and role model. I even learnt one shot from Lawry, a leg glance which became my only shot; the dashing strokes by other left-handers were outside my repertoire. The previous summer I saw Neil Harvey crack 154 against England in the Test match at Adelaide Oval. It was a brilliant innings after the three simple chances he gave in reaching 11 had been spilled. Time and time again he smashed square drives past point but it never occurred to me to try the same shot. I also saw Bob Cowper make 156 for Victoria against South Australia. Over after over he belted short of a length balls through the covers off the back foot with a cross bat. This was not on. Play straight, son. Alternatively I shouldered arms and watched the Kookaburra fly through to the keeper.

 

I enjoyed these games. The two Murray Bridge town teams, Imperials and Ramblers, had the same names as the football clubs and a large proportion of their players were footballers during the winter. Otherwise we played against  railwaymen from Tailem Bend, and wheat and sheep farmers from Monarto. The dairymen from Jervois boasted a strong football team but never supplied a cricket side.

 

The next match at Monarto I remember for four reasons: the state of the ground, the driver of our mode of transport, the deleterious effect of the enthusiasm of one of our fielders, and my first runs, not necessarily in that order.

 

The ground consisted of a paddock next to a church and a cemetery going to seed. There was no other sign of settlement, simply more paddocks and patches of scrub. The paddock was flat enough with a concrete pitch in the middle. There was no grass as such, merely weeds munched down by cows during the week leaving their pats behind. Perhaps one weed the cows didn’t savour were three corner jacks, a sharp three pronged bur which covered the field in abundance. Cow pats and three corner jacks made for a rare combination and possibly a unique home- ground advantage.

 

The school team comprised mainly students but staff could also turn out. If short, husbands of female staff members and other assorted ring-ins might be co-opted. We were far from pure. Ted Wardle was the husband of the bespectacled chemistry teacher. He was hardy-handsome and we wondered what he saw in her. Men didn’t make passes at women who wore glasses but maybe she was something else when she removed those glasses. Maybe she had body chemistry.

 

Ted was also an enthusiast. We saw evidence of his enthusiasm on our well-watered clover ground in our first match when one of our opponents played a ball defensively towards the gully only for hardy-handsome Ted to make a spectacular dive from third slip causing his smart cream shirt and pressed flannels to be smeared in green. We raised our eyebrows.

 

Ted tried the same trick at Monarto only this time he came up brown and red, the brown from the dusty paddock and the pats, the red from the blood trickling down his forearm pricked by the three corner jacks. We now wondered what the chem teacher saw in him.

 

Stuart Brown was another member of staff, a Catholic Scot with a tribe of eight kids and a man with a late-blooming love affair with cricket. The fact that he had no idea about either batting or bowling or the game’s conventions not to mention its Laws mattered not a whit. A place in the team was duly found.

 

Stuart also had unconventional methods of driving, a fact not readily understood by those of us who accepted a lift in his 1938 Ford V8 (complete with running boards) in preference to a trip with TRG. The windscreen wipers on the Ford were out of action during a light shower on the outward journey causing Stuart to open the driver’s door, stand with his right foot on the running board, poke his head through the window, polish the windscreen with his right hand, hold the wheel with his left and maintain power on the accelerator with his left foot. It took a certain amount of manual dexterity to accomplish this manoeuvre but no one was looking forward to the drive home.

 

I batted down the order at number ten in this game so that when I turned a ball to square leg off the middle of the bat to register my first competitive score that was as far as I got. My partner at the other end took a wild swipe and I was left 2 not out and gaining great satisfaction from ending up with my name in red ink. Because I batted so low I imagined I would be doing a lot of bowling, imagined that my role in the team had been recast. Unfortunately I was sadly mistaken as I was only tossed the ball when the last Monarto batsman entered. After he walloped one ball over the mid-wicket boundary I duly had him caught at slip from a flighted leg break. An analysis of 1 for 7 from one over maintained my strike rate but I couldn’t fathom TRG’s game plan at all.

 

Consistency was severely lacking in our team performance and it could be argued that the reason for this started with the headmaster at the top. TRG chose the team and, as captain, naturally decided the batting and bowling order. The trouble was no one knew where they would be batting, bowling or fielding from week to week. It was all very confusing.

 

In our third match Imperials batted the first week. I was surprised and chuffed to be introduced into the attack at something like 3-130 with both batsmen well set. I delivered two (I thought) tidy overs in which I deceived each batsman with well-pitched wrong’uns only for two simple stumping chances to be missed. With figures of 0 for 5 I removed my white-washing hat for my third over but instead found myself banished to deep fine-leg. Not only was I being spelled, that was it for the afternoon, and, indeed, for the season. Plainly TRG couldn’t read his side’s only wrist spinner so it was better I didn’t bowl at all.

 

The effect of this was that thereafter I simply strove for accuracy, lost my spin, lost my flight, pretty much lost my wrong’un, lost anything or everything that might’ve made me special.

 

A couple of matches later I batted at number three and was told to ‘occupy the crease’. ‘Occupy the crease’ is another phrase that has gone out of fashion but it suited my main method which was to avoid being dismissed at all costs. Shot selection didn’t come into things because there were no shots to select; balls that were pitched up I blocked to silly mid-off and silly mid-on off the front foot; balls that were short of a length I blocked to silly mid-off and silly mid-on off the back foot; balls outside the off stump of any length I left; balls on my leg stump I turned to square leg or glanced to fine leg. It took me a long time to wear any shine off the ball although I had one advantage. Our well-watered home ground had an underground watering system and half way down the pitch was a wet and muddy spot where the pipes could be attached. I had a fair degree of success in knocking the ball into that spot, leaving it wet and slimy.

 

In two and a half hours I must’ve received sufficient balls on my leg stump to negotiate my way to 27 runs. Unknown to me my father had come to watch but sat in his car in the street beside the ground so that I was unaware of his presence.  It seems he was much taken by batting of a slight boy two years younger than me who came in an hour later and left half an hour before with 45 runs to his name from deft cuts, elegant drives and savage pulls. I was proud of my effort but Dad said, ‘You didn’t hit the ball, son.’

 

My most dismal effort was when I opened the batting in A grade on a treacherous home turf wicket against Ramblers, the leading side in the association. When we batted second I was told not to bother about scoring. The theory was that I would wear down the attack so allowing our stroke players to build innings on the back of tired bowlers. When I was eventually dismissed an hour later for a duck our score was 8-11. We recovered and some late hitting enabled us to reach 26 before being forced to follow-on. In the second innings my second zero was comparatively spritely. I occupied the crease for 85 minutes in the two innings. Without scoring!

 

A couple of years later I captained the school team but by then regarded myself as little more than an occasional bowler. In one game I did bowl the opposing captain with a top-spinner and returned figures Benaud would’ve been proud of – 8 overs 6 maidens 3 runs 3 wickets – but by then my idea of being Richie reborn had waned. Scores of 59 in three hours, 65 in four hours and 87 in a mid-week match showed I had stickability but class … that was something else.

 

When I moved to the city the following summer I joined the Adelaide District Cricket Club, practising on the No. 2 ground at Adelaide Oval. For a couple of months I tried combining golf and cricket, playing eighteen holes on a Saturday morning at North Adelaide and cricket in the afternoon. Rounds in the seventies provided satisfaction but gritty tens did not. Picked in the fourth team I batted near the top of the order but didn’t get a bowl and fielded at fine leg. Unless you made 20 or 30 it was an afternoon wasted. I think my best effort was to score 18 in an hour and a half on the small back oval at Prince Alfred College where I was far more impressed by the afternoon tea spread than any cricket. If I had a highlight from that truncated season it was when club coach and former state left-arm fast-medium bowler Ken Horsnell bowled one ball to me in the nets. It was a blur swinging late on to my leg stump and somehow I got the middle of the bat on it as I turned it backward of square leg. ‘Fine shot, Bernard’, Ken said.

 

Persistence is a virtue so I guess is being a good team man. I didn’t drink, I didn’t drive so there was nothing to enjoy at the end of the day. Years later I thought how I might’ve reinvented myself as a pace bowler. I was nearly six feet four and while I might not have become an express bowler surely I could get the ball to lift. Instead, I quit.

 

Five years later I had another try with Adelaide and my one magic moment again came in the nets after I’d been experimenting with Johnny Gleeson/Jack Iverson flick-finger spin bowling. Former Test leg-spinner Rex Sellers was now the club coach and he was watching when I was bowling. I tossed up the perfect leg break, a lovely flighted arc, landing on leg-stump, drawing the right-hand batsman forward, the ball turning and catching the edge of his bat, giving the lightest of nicks to first slip. ‘Beautiful ball, Bernard’, Rex said. Alas! The next half-dozen deliveries were all half-trackers the batsman mercilessly plundered through mid-wicket. I played two or three games, didn’t get a bowl, didn’t make many runs and if I graduated from fine leg in the field it was only as far as square leg. I hated leg-side positions and fancied myself as a cover point where it was easier to read the batsman’s movements and anticipate his strokes. I might not have been Norman O’Neill or Paul Sheahan but I did have a decent throwing arm and enjoyed pinging the ball into the keeper’s gloves to effect a run out.

 

I was in my mid-thirties by the time I was persuaded to have a further go. Filling in for Scotch College Old Collegians against Postal Institute I elected not to open the batting but went in at number five for the easy pickings. Easy pickings!!! At the end of the first day chasing leather our opponents had declared at something like 5-320 and we were 3-16. Going in for the last over I was 0 not out.

 

Play continued the next day and we advanced to 27. All Out!!! Actually we were one man short and you had to feel for Postal’s opening bowler who took all 9 wickets for 3 runs. I was the one wicket he didn’t get – 3 not out. Naturally we followed on. And to make life easy – for whom? – I kept the pads on. It was another progression and when I was given out lbw for 15 to a ball that pitched half a metre outside my leg stump we were 5-51. Then dismissed for 57. No easy pickings with this team.

 

I lasted two more games. A plodding 10 at number three against St Peter’s Old Collegians – my sort of specialty – and back to opening against Pulteney Grammar against a quick who was just too quick.

 

Worse, I forgot to put a box on when I went in – that’s paying real attention to detail – but remedied the situation at the end of the first over. Just as well. In his second over the quick struck me twice on the said box, jammed a finger on my front hand against the bat handle, and struck me on the leading toe with a yorker. At this point sharp images of a bleeding, crumpled me being carried off on a stretcher presented themselves. A medium-pacer bowled at the other end. A back-cut for two and a glance for another couple brought me to 4 but I had no intention of sticking around for the quick. I had a dip and was (as they say) comprehensively bowled. Never was I so happy to be dismissed, to feel safe and secure in the dressing room, what a joy it would be to field at fine leg the following week and then retire. Anyone for tennis?

 

Most certainly.

 

A decade later two friends (twin brothers) asked me to fill in for St Ignatius Old Collegians. They warned me they played some real animals in their competition – the Abattoirs and all. We were playing the Abattoirs – Pooraka Cricket Club as it turned out. But it wasn’t Pooraka who were the animals: it was the Iggies.

 

One twin fielded at cover, the other at mid-wicket, and when there was an lbw appeal they were the vociferous leaders of a howling pack. When the umpire turned down one appeal the twins scissored him with their demand – ‘What was fuckin’ wrong with THAT ump?’ As I was fielding at mid-off I felt obliged to tell the official his decision looked OK by me.

 

I’d been out of the game too long. When I returned for this match the cricket was so noisy. Constant urgings from the wicket-keeper, the slips, the entire field yelling support for the bowler every ball, and when the opposing captain came in there was none of the good old ‘Captain, chaps’ and a round of polite applause I remembered from my youth. More like, ‘Let’s nail the bastard’ or worse. ‘Let’s bury the prick.’

 

I bowled a few Iverson deliveries, mainly off-breaks, picked up a wicket but was hit for two or three sixes. My figures were something like 1 for 25 from three overs. We batted the second week and I went in at number six. The runs began to flow: a couple of well-placed cuts – where did these off-side shots come from? – a couple of glances and I moved to 7 off 10 balls, an unbelievable scoring rate, perhaps this would be my day. Not so.

 

I was at the non-striker’s end when my partner struck a ball straight to cover point and ran when there was no hope in hell of a run. I could’ve stood on principle and sent him back but he’d committed too far. Or I could remember that I was a guest, do the gentlemanly guest player thing and make a sacrifice. I could also hope. Hope that the tufty ground would come to my aid, that the ball would veer this way or that, that the fielder would fail to gather it cleanly, or throw wide. Any of the above would conspire to help my cause. None did. The ball ran true, the fielder picked it up clean as a whistle, and his throw was over the top of the bails into the keeper’s gloves. I was out by half the pitch.

 

The dressing room beckoned for the last time.

 

© Bernard Whimpress

June 2018

 

 

 

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About Bernard Whimpress

Freelance historian (mainly sport) currently writing his 20th book. For the previous 15 years was Curator of the Adelaide Oval Museum and Historian for the South Australian Cricket Association. Will accept writing commissions with reasonable pay. Most recent books - The MCC Official Ashes Treasures and The Greatest Ashes Battles.

Comments

  1. I played three seasons of cricket, one in Intermediate at School, two at university and cannot remember a single statistic. I think I got a five-for once.
    How do you remember all those details? Either it is all fictional, or you must be a historian and keep detailed records!

  2. bernard whimpress says

    Hi 6%
    Yes, I’m a historian – check me out on wikipedia. Cricket stats was my main hobby in a not altogether misspent youth. If I’d taken a 5 for I’d certainly remember it. The records are remembered and the events are 99.94 per cent true.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Geez, the museum visitors got their money’s worth Bernard. Did anyone try to sneak out before you gave them the whole story?

  4. Bernard Whimpress says

    Not much, Swish. They usually got ‘I.was a much better golfer.’ Easier to deny I was Ashley Mallett.

  5. “… two simple stumping chances …” both apparently off wrong ‘uns. Were the batsmen both left handers? If not the deliveries must have travelled between bat and pad. Hardly simple chances. Distance down the pitch does not a simple chance make if the batsman’s feet and bat are virtually masking where the ball has pitched. It’s a universal characteristic of cricket correspondents that a stumping missed is “the easiest of stumpings” whereas a stumping taken is described as the batsman’s having been “brilliantly stumped”! Great reminiscences nonetheless Bernard.

  6. bernard whimpress says

    Thanks Bish
    Well, simple to the bowler who suffers. And I didn’t get another bowl for the season. I played one more game of cricket after this account ends – night before the Lord’s Test 2009 – in a T20 match at Blackheath where everyone bowled two overs each. My figures 0 for 14 and two stumpings missed.

  7. A great yarn, Bernard.
    Most enjoyable. Thanks.

  8. bernard whimpress says

    Cheers, Smokie

  9. Above all other sporting memoir there’s something for me that’s utterly compelling about personal cricketing stories and this one is excellent Bernard. Maybe it’s because the game is a team pursuit but the individual is constantly at the centre in all their triumph and failure. And in no other competition are the statistics so alive and invested with narrative. Thanks.

  10. bernard whimpress says

    Thanks Mickey
    The individual in the team game is, indeed, at the centre of it. Like when you make a duck and you’re supposed to be happy for your team-mates who make 50. Somewhere in many souls lies that terrible thought if I make a duck I hope everyone makes one.

  11. My earliest memories of playing cricket were lunch times at St Morris Primary School. I don’t think I was particularly good but I certainly enjoyed it. Moving on to Norwood High my friend Wayne Butcher organised games to be played on the footpath out front of his house (in Yeronga Avenue) and onto the road. Fortunately there was little road traffic in those days. Our “Test matches” became quite famous with lots of the local lads (and a few girls too ) coming over to play

    Wayne loved to bat, Raoul insisted on keeping wickets, Brian was the only blocker (he hated getting out). The Searle brothers, the Knutsen brothers and the Stevens brothers were also regulars. . Whilst I enjoyed batting, I fancied myself as a bowler. Other lads from around the area often came over for cameo performances. We played without an umpire, everyone knew when you were out even with LBW’s. If the ball was going to hit the stumps, you were out. Those were great times.

    The last game I played in was a Reserve Bank v Commonwealth Bank picnic match. I bowled just the 1 over , taking 1 wicket for 1 run. and made a second ball duck. After that effort I retired to become an arm chair critic.

  12. bernard whimpress says

    1/0/1/1 is a nice analysis to bow out with Fisho. I expect your street games were played with half fruit-cases for the stumps. Very liberal minded of you allowing the sheilas to play.

  13. Bernard, the pitch was on the footpath and we used tree trunks for our stumps. No bails and you couldn’t send a stump flying (obviously). One thing it taught us was not to hit the ball in the air. No one ever broke a window. Two girls in particular were pretty good also. Over the years Wayne and I have kept in touch and he often drops in for a visit. In our reminiscing those cricket matches always get a mention.

  14. A whole career in one article, Bernard. Classic. Mine, similarly. A social game at Deakin. Everyone bowled and batted. Can’t remember any runs. Last to bowl, one over. 6-6-4-6 wicket-wicket. Retired on a hat-trick. Still inviolate.

  15. bernard whimpress says

    1/0/22/2, that’s some over Roy. Your’e obviously an entertaining bowler. Deprived of a hat-trick too – that’s the problem with single-innings matches.

  16. Luke Reynolds says

    Bernard, really enjoyed this. Your pitches at home strike a chord, systematically over a few years destroyed an iron gate by bowling composition balls at it for hours on end. The end paddock on our dairy farm contained a concrete pitch from the local club that had folded a dozen or so years earlier, and that’s where I graduated to bowling my off breaks once old enough to bowl on a full length pitch, 6 at a time, then retrieve. No net.

    Love your recall of your matches, reckon many cricketers are the same, I know I am.

    Your tale of forgetting your box is chilling, it’s one thing in my 28 seasons of playing I’ve never forgot!

  17. Bernard Whimpress says

    Thanks Luke. Bad luck about the retrieval, everyone needs a fox terrier dog like Clarrie Grimmett. Yeah, forgetting that box often gives me nightmares.

  18. Bernard enjoyable read our backyard was next to the garage so it was basically off side shots
    I do remember getting a set of metal stumps for Xmas and I bowling my dad who said not out didn’t knock the bails off.The games with my brother in law,Peter Tisato were v competitive he is 6 foot 6 so bounce was always a problem I remember being hit one day think there was some claret so went inside but soon came out to continue batting the rain gauge at cover was our gun fielder.I scored for,Kensington as a kid sub fielded a few games but never actually played a game for the browns after all I did go to a public school.
    I then played for,Payneham like,Luke can basically remember every game played in a couple of flags had some individual success along the way life member and coached both,Payneham and Pembroke and unlike the majority a regular attendee of Shield games.The friendships made from sport are the best part

  19. Peter Tisato says

    We had a lot of fun in backyard Malcolm. I remember we smashed the cover rain gauge probably twice. Ray not impressed.

  20. bernard whimpress says

    Thanks Rulebook, Peter
    Glad to know my story inspires backyard memories for others – so loved the rain gauge reference. And you’re right about friendships.

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