Seasons in the Sun (Part 4): Slogging, slagging and sledging

 

 

L - R: Maestro, The Benevolent Leader, Trav, The Charmer, Wellsy, DK, Nashy, Caro, Captain Grumpy, Bronty, Huddo

L – R: Maestro, The Benevolent Leader, Trav, The Charmer, Wellsy, DK, Nashy, Caro, Captain Grumpy, Bronty, Huddo

 

Cricket is a tremendous game of ‘Wot If?’

A dropped catch, a stolen run, a rejected lbw decision… all moments gone in an instant.
The game moves on, but it has been changed.

There are 420 balls to be bowled today on an average sized ground. If Diamond Creek can get a run off 205 of them, they’ll win. Simple, as the Benevolent Leader tells us.
“I’m looking for intensity in the field today, boys,” he orders. “Backing up, encouraging, taking our chances. No extras.”

Because you never want to be playing ‘Wot If?’ at the end of the day.

As we’re doing our fielding warm-ups The Charmer taps me on the shoulder.
“Y’know how you finished that piece last week saying I was playing with my daughter?”
“Yeah…”
“I don’t have a daughter. I have a son.”
Oh.
Captain Grumpy sniggers.
“Good facts, Caro.”
And so I am Caro for the day. I’ve had worse nicknames.

For instance, Captain Grumpy and DK have been trying to extrapolate Maestro’s old nickname of Sirra onto everyone. I would be Tall Sirra, Bronty would be Bald Sirra, the Leader would be Captain Sirra and so on.

“I have a dream,” declares Captain Grumpy, sounding like a mischievous Martin Luther King. “We shall have a team full of Sirras and none will be actual Siriannis.”

“Alright, boys, let’s get out there,” the Leader booms.
“Nashy, which end do you want?”
Nashy looks briefly over his shoulder.
“The road end.”
“Why?”
“It’s closest.”

As Nashy warms up for bowling, Captain Grumpy stands at slip warming up for what he does best.
“I’m gonna give it to ’em today,” he hisses excitedly. “They’re gonna get the double-barrel…”
I move from third slip to gully. I don’t want to get in the way of his sledging spell.

He’s off from the first ball: a reasonable leave is questioned, a prod down to fine leg is degraded and a delivery that hits the batsman on the thigh pad is “bloody lucky” to not be lbw. At the end of the over, the batsman actually turns and glares. Captain Grumpy is delighted; he’s got a bite. Unfortunately, the batsman wildly skies the first ball of Nashy’s next over and I hold a simple catch. No other batsman is stupid enough to acknowledge the seasoned champion’s barbs for the rest of the day.

At the other end, DK bowls in vain, despite his best, limb-flailing efforts.
“Looks like he’s trying to swat flies,” opines Maestro as another half-volley is sent on its way.

The Benevolent Leader is pleased at our fielding intensity: communication, hard work and discipline are saving us Wot Ifs. Maestro makes an excellent diving stop, his fro sprawling over his head as he lands. Off the very next ball, the batsman miscues a slog and Maestro holds the catch.

That’s what we want,” booms the Leader. “Maestro, you stopped a boundary and he got frustrated and went the slog. We make our chances.”

The Wot Ifs are in our favour. We bowl straight, force the batsmen to drive and pick the ball up cleanly. Bronty shows the way as he dives to cut off a boundary.
Or he would have, had the ball not gone through the area where his carcass now lies ten seconds prior.

The only Wot If that goes against us is a rejected edge off Huddo. Huddo shakes his head, walks back past the umpire and shrugs: for him, it’s an expressive display of emotion.

The Benevolent Leader prepares for his stint at the bowling crease, setting his field like a General.
Bronty calls out at slip.
“D’you want Caro a bit straighter – ?”
“No,” barks the Leader and he continues to stride out his run-up.
Bronty and I exchange a wry smile. He’s not surprised – it’s a family joke that the best way to get the Leader to not do something is to suggest he do it. It’s why his barbecue has remained isolated downstairs from the living area for ten years.

We’re doing well at lunch. Unfortunately…
“Where’s lunch?”
“It’s at the main ground over the road.”
So all 22 of us troop across the crossing like the world’s oddest Abbey Road impersonators.

One of the best things about lunch is that it gives you a chance to chat with the opposition players.
“Conspicuous lack of middle-of-the-road players with you blokes,” grins Two Steps.
He’s got a point: after the Elder Communion there are six student aged guys.
“We average out to be middle-of-the-road,” replies Wellsy.
“Are you guys a bit short?” Trav asks them.
“Two of our blokes’ll be here soon; one’s sitting a police exam.”
You learn something new every day.

I finish my spell with a couple of wickets – the Leader’s plans are working well. But even at 8/101 we can’t relax.
Wot If Diamond Creek figure they have nothing to lose and go the slog?
Wot If the guy who is now coming to the crease after sitting his police exam is in fact David Warner?
He’s not David Warner – in fact, his moustache is more Charles de Gaulle. DK bowls again and de Gaulle unleashes one of the most stratospheric shots in Diamond Creek’s history.
Unfortunately, it looks like it hasn’t gone too far.
“MINE,” I bellow, but it’s a lost cause long before I get there. I wobble, zigzag and backtrack, trying to find where the damn thing will drop, but it eventually bounces off my palm and I hit the ground hard.

I think of apologising. I will.
“Sorry DK, but if I had taken that catch you’d have four wickets and I want the best figures.”
And I walk off feeling better.

Nonetheless, I’m a little uneasy. Wot If my dropped catch costs us? But Nashy takes a catch off the next ball and the balance is returned. Two overs later, Charmer runs in, cuts off a shot and throws it in. Unfortunately, de Gaulle and his partner have had a mix-up of catastrophic proportions and it’s all too easy for DK to neatly bump off the bails. And that’s the game.

Captain Grumpy and DK grin at me as they drive off.
“See ya at training, Caro!”

They’ll be away for the next match. I ponder who will run the Coterie of Nicknames now.

NB: Apologies to Mrs Charmer for last week’s inaccuracy.

Lower Plenty 204
Diamond Creek 117

DK 3/21
Caro 2/9
The Benevolent Leader 2/23
Nashy 2/28

 

About Callum O'Connor

Here's to feelin' good all the time.

Comments

  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Entertaining as always Callum. I mean Caro. Keep ’em coming.

  2. Great stuff Callum.
    Don’t feel bad about the mistaken identity. I spent 15 minutes talking to a homeless street kid with a bad haircut in a shapeless tracky. After a long time of sympathetically asking questions; offering help and saying “mate” – I got asked “do you think I’m a boy?”
    Don’t think she trusted me. But at least she thought I was too old and stupid to be a predator.

  3. The artist formerly known as Bronty says

    Peter I find your comments very funny and a great foil to Cal’s. In his defence a two year old child with curly hair and big eyes can (and did) look like a girl.

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Entertaining as always Caro . How bout some more comments from your team mates ? As Luke said keep em coming

  5. Well played, Caro.
    Are you up for a trot on the international stage..?
    https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/calling-all-cricket-thinkers-second-test-writers-step-up/
    Pick a day; any day.

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