Waiting to go into bat

As a bowler, I cop grief from non-cricket fans and batsmen alike – how easy my day is when we bat. So I noted my day on Saturday, to show it’s not all just sit in the shade and read the paper. I should point out this nervousness is not a one off – I’ve played in the top grade at my local club for the best part of a decade, and we are on top of the ladder after a big win in round 1. If anything I should be quite relaxed.

1pm Openers walk out to bat – stay in the rooms pretending to clean cricket bag, half-heartedly trying to avoid watching the first over. Torn somewhere between being too nervous to watch, and the superstition of everyone being seated watching the first ball
1:05 2 close LBW shouts turned down in quick succession
1:06 Can’t sit still any longer. Walk half a lap of the ground – I swore we left a ball down here in the warm up
1:07 3rd LBW shout sees opener given out despite the fact it hit him on the hip. Lesson here is never be the bloke to cop the 3rd appeal
1:15 Take over scoreboard duties
1:20 Realise how annoying doing the scoreboard is and delegate to youngster
1:30 Already 2 wickets down. Not going to be a relaxing day
1:40 Youngster isn’t doing a good enough job. Re-take over scoreboard duties
2pm Full lap of the ground
2:20 Organise drinks break.
2:30 Check phone for 2s and 3s scores.
2:40 Go and check on the freshly painted lines in the nets to see if they are dry (its 30 degrees of course they are)
2:50pm Chat to the association committee reps, get scores from around the grounds and complain about the local council
3pm 4 wickets down not long before tea, force one of the young blokes to give me throwdowns in the nets until we safely get to tea. Inside edge first one onto shin…great start
3:20 Tea.
3:40 Players go back out, “clean” bag out until the first over is done.
3:50 Grandpa arrives and parks his car on the far side of the ground, sit with him and discuss important topics like politics, religion and why I’m not going and playing on turf this season
4:20pm Lose 2 quick wickets – paralysing fear I’m next in and nowhere near ready as I run back to the rooms.
4:30pm Stretching, pacing up and down. Repeat ad nauseum
4:35pm My bat grip has lifted a bit….do I take the risk and try to fix it…batsman nicks one through the slips for 4, decide against it
4:40pm Check I’ve not grabbed 2 left gloves
4:45pm Undo and redo all the screws on my helmet
4:50pm Organise a drink for the batsmen, even though they’ve not requested one.
4:55pm Need to use bathroom but I’m in next….caught and bowled chance gets dropped and I forget about going to the bathroom
5pm Double check I’ve not grabbed 2 right gloves
5:05pm Maybe I do have time to fix the grip…..but then again maybe not
5:10pm Re-do shoelaces even though they were fine
5:15pm Yell at youngsters for not keeping scoreboard up to date. 10 overs to go (can’t believe these two have lasted this long – might get to have a slog at the end!)
5:25pm Triple check I’ve not grabbed 2 left gloves
5:30pm 17yr old second gamer tells me to “chill out”
5:35pm Organise a second drink for the bats, even though they’ve still not called for one and there’s only 4 overs left in the day
5:45pm 2 overs to go and its 8/150, opening bowler knocks over our keeper with a great slower ball and I’m in.
5:45pm Realise I’ve left my helmet in the sun and it’s roasting hot under the lid….great. Advice from 5 different people as I walk down the stairs “hit straight down the ground” “lower your back lift” “give the strike to Leeroy” “$50 if you hit a 6!”
5:46pm Take guard. There’s a single to mid on and a bloke on the fence at midwicket. As a leftie, I take a cursory glance at best at the off side
Bowler runs in all the advice is going through my head – it’s fast but full on leg stump, I shape to hit through the leg side, it tails away a fraction and hits the bottom of middle stump.
……….f***ck. That was too good for me.
Why do I put myself through this every week.


  1. Brilliant Luke. I haven’t played serious cricket for nearly 30 years, but I recognised everything except the helmets bit.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Luke you have described so many people down to a tee ! Myself included as a coach now days it is the scoreboard or walk laps
    Thanks Luke you definitely struck a chord

  3. ridgey – that’s a beauty.
    Thanks for the laugh and for taking me back to a ~15 year stretch of my life BK*.
    You’ve nailed it.

    * Before Kids

  4. Peter Schumacher says

    As a bloke who struggled to get into any sort of cricket but who had at times looked “promising” my last stint was coming in at number eleven and having been told by the club captain, an opening bat still in at the other end to “hang around” was stumped first ball trying to hit a spinner out of the ground, having misread the flight, the drop of the ball, the fact that it was a googly, you know, all of these things, what ever it was, I missed the bloody ball. Anyway that was my last appearance. I was basically too thick to go through all of the trials and tribulations that you have described so well

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Luke, can well relate. After 14 years of opening the batting for my club I was demoted to the middle order at the start of last season. The sitting around waiting does my head in. Still better than the alternative of opening in the 2s. As a bonus though, I’ve found middle order players get more overs with the ball, apparently you bowl better when you bat at 5 than you do when opening.

    Youngsters really are bad on the scoreboard aren’t they?!

  6. “…and complain about the local council”
    Isn’t that one thing that all cricketers do!

  7. All the waiting and the lamenting…

    I love wandering around the nearby ovals with the dogs and/or kids watching the locals for a while, taking me back to a previous life. Part of me would love to get back out there.

    But then I read this. A timely reminder why I gave it away.

  8. Glen Potter says


    I opened the batting for years and in the last few years there was (quite rightly) a suggestion I’d be better placed in the middle order. Now that I’ve hit my 40s, I called time on the 1sts and was really happy playing 2nds last season – as long as I batted at the top. The waiting around is a killer. The up-side to opening is you get the field up, hence plenty of gaps; you’ve got all day to bat therefore you can bat for as long as you can stay out there; there’s no buggerising around scoring or square-legging if you’re still out in the middle. The flip side of opening is when you get a good one early, it’s a long day off the field..

    I see now that a certain phone company has an app to update live local cricket scores. There could be a useful way to pass the time.

    I don’t follow the GGs like I used to but they’re a useful way to kill time on a Sat. arvo when things are going well. The team will invariably have a quaddie.

    Great piece, well done.

  9. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    I love it Luke. Why do we do this to ourselves?

  10. mickey randall says

    As a proud number 11 for much of my career, I thank you for this brother! One of my captains once said to me, “You really are a number 11, aren’t you?”

    Like the funniest things in life, so true! Looking forward to more from you.

  11. Thanks everyone for the kind words. It wasn’t really ever intended as a piece for the almanac, more so trying to explain to my mates what I go through each week. Nice to know I’m not the only one that goes through this. Here’s hoping we get an unprecedented 4th Saturday of good weather this weekend.

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