The team was as tardy dribbling along to the game as they had been last week. We took the field with just 8 present and correct at the start of play.
With Son2.0 joining is as a super-sub, this was a momentous occasion for me, taking the field with both the boys, and feeling rather smug because at least I’d coached them into being players that were significantly better cricketers than I ever was.
Jimbo took the field against medical advice barely able to walk. He took up residence at first slip, hobbling up and down the pitch between overs. Bobo was late again, so Son2.0 eagerly took the gloves, while Son2.0 took hold of the ball to open the attack. I’ve been watching him in the nets, and it seems that the bowling coach has sorted a few things out and he’s upped his pace from last year more than a little.
The captain directed that I take my dormant reflexes into second slip. I didn’t see the first ball before it whacked into Son2.0’s gloves, so it was some relief that over the next half dozen overs none of the batsmen were good enough to get an edge. I felt like wearing a helmet on the off chance that something came towards my head and hit me before I had a chance to duck, but I thought that might embarrass the offspring just a little more than even I was prepared to do on account of my personal safety.
The afternoon wore on with me managing to stop the the balls that came in my direction, and not have the misfortune of a catch coming my way. The runs mounted regularly, not in an embarrassing way but in a relentless “we’re going to win by tea” way.
The Captain came over to me and asked “How much notice do you need before you have a bowl?” with a big grin on his face.
“Two, maybe? Or maybe none, so I can’t thing about it,” I said.
“OK, you’re on in two from this end,” he said, pointing to the end where an over was about to start. I looked at both ends – the boundaries that had seemed impossibly far away as I’d been patrolling them for two hours now seemed impossibly short.
I took a well hit drive on the ring finger of my right hand two balls before I was due to start – typical, I thought, I won’t be able to hold the ball when my turn comes.
The first over was not bad, with only one full toss – although this was efficiently dispatched over the mid-wicket boundary. The last ball of the over was a pearler – it gripped the air about half way down the pitch and swung in nicely.
The second over continued surprisingly well. Another ball took flight, and swung onto the pads and onto the stumps. I wasn’t too offended by the momentary stunned silence that proceeded the celebrations, or the pained look on the batsmen’s face. Three wickets to fall today, one each to the family.
The Captain them made a terrible error of judgement and offered me a third over. I’ll spare you the details, but as I finished with 3 overs 1 for 36, you get the picture.
It was all over just after tea, and we were off as fast as we could to see Son1.0’s favourite team in the Grand Final – only trouble was the game was effectively over by the time we got home – they got flogged.
Read the next entry in Dad’s Cricket Diary here
This work of fiction © Dave Cornford