Not raining. Check.
Not too hot. Check.
Early signs were good. I checked the time and location of the game twice, and programmed the ground into the GPS. I was nervous enough without having to rely on the mumbly communication of a directionally challenged teenage nagigator when driving cross-town at midday on a Saturday.
We managed to make it to the ground in good time, but we were alone in that. As the starting time approached there were only six of the team present. Unable to put it off any longer, the Captain attended the toss and returned with the news that we were batting.
The obvious choices for opening the batting were present and correct, but the run scoring heart of the team – the elegant Number 3 and the big hitting Number 4 – were nowhere to be seen.
“Will you pad up at 3 in case a wicket falls before they arrive?” I knew he wasn’t talking to Son2.0, so there it was. It all happened in a blur – the openers were out there, and I was padded up ready to go.
There wasn’t even time for a nervous wee.
The attacked looked pretty sharp, but the openers were solid enough, negotiating the first over and then the second with straight bats and no backlift.
Still no sign of the cavalry coming to save me.
The openers rolled on for another few overs, and the middle order duly arrived looking casual and relaxed. I tried not to give away my lack of cool by encouraging them to GET PADDED UP NOW!
Crisis averted, I was inked in to bat at 5, which I thought I could probably cope with.
The first wicket was followed by Jimbo blowing a hammy is spectacular fashion. He’d hit a nice one out to mid-off, and took off for the run out of politeness to the fielder – he was never going to haul it in before it got to the boundary. Jimbo turned for the second just as the umpy signalled four, but his left hammy gave up the ghost, and any connection to his bum-bone, right there and then. He fell in a screaming heap (literally) right there on the spot.
He had to be chaired off the field in the end after a lengthy delay. I was pretty dark with him, as he was looking good with the bat and now I was next in.
My hopes for sitting watching some runs flow from the premier bats in the team were short lived as the No 3 got knocked over by a rather handy inswinger.
“Here goes nothing,” I thought.
BoBo, the big hitting plumber, was all smiles when I joined him in the middle. “Have fun! I’ll do the scoring. And don’t forget. . .”
“No quick singles,” we said in unison.
I scratched around for a while, missing and edging most of the offerings from the attack. Meanwhile, somehow we managed to keep the strike with BoBo, who was in the zone. We put on a partnership of 38 before the inevitable happened – I missed a straight one that hit the stumps. Bowled for 2.
The only consolation was that Son2.0 came in after me and got a duck. He looked out of his depth, but he’ll step up next time he plays with the adults.
All out for 150 something, with 7 overs left for the other team. We snared a wicket, which probably wasn’t going to turn the tide next week, but it will leave them thinking.
Spending those overs in the field late in the day took those off what I’ll have to endure next week. The only trouble was that my left leg was starting to hurt – it looks like I’d taken a cork just above the knee, again as a result of the failure of protective equipment.
Surely I won’t have to go the the cricket shop again!
Read the next entry in Dad’s Cricket Diary here
This work of fiction © Dave Cornford