Something of an inglorious start to the cricket season.
There is an unfortunate assumption in England that all Australians know how to play cricket. Fortunately for me the standard for entry into the Trinity Hall graduate cricket team is: “Have you eve caught a moving object?”
In the sense that it is vital a team have an eleventh man to be allowed to play, I am vital.
In fairness, I’m not a bad fielder. Not a particularly good one either. I can’t bowl, and can generally just about block a ball with a bat. My best contributions are probably made in close proximity to the score-board, or zealously guarding the boundary line from balls that slip past the inner ring of fielders.
Still, I like the standing about out doors, the occasional running, the ebb and flow of the game and the really devastatingly excellent afternoon teas put on by our MCR stewards and treasurer and usually billed as “as big as the whole world!”
Which would be true, if the world were made entirely of cucumber sandwiches, strawberries and cream and Pimms mixed according to our treasurer’s secret recipe.
So you’ll imagine things are looking a bit grim if I’m sent in to bat. In our first game Sunday against Churchill college, we bowled first and were set a chaseable target of 122 from 20 overs.
Unfortunately, we suffered a bit of a mini-collapse, and while the run rate was on target, we were going through batsmen.
When I was one of the last three on the bench I headed out to the nets for a warm-up.
Ludicrously, my legs were too thin to do the pads up with the Velcro and I had to tie the straps in a knot. Still, I had fun in the nets, and by the final over was never expecting to hear the call.
Then, on the third ball of the final over we lost a batsman. The score was 121. One run to tie, two to win, three balls remaining as I trudged out to the pitch.
Our penultimate batsman was facing the bowler. With three balls left, I figured anything he hit might require running. So I edged forward from my crease, sort of forgetting it was his job to call the runs.
A nice straight block sent the ball back down the pitch towards me, where a quick-witted fielder took it, saw me out of my crease, and pegged it at the stumps.
A lunge with my bat was, lamentably, not enough to save my ignoble 45 seconds on the pitch.
Still, at least everyone on the team – and I do mean just about everyone – was courteous enough to think the result close enough that it was some decisive personal contribution of their own that had sealed the defeat.
A good game though, and a great result for Churchill who were so short of players last year that I was sent in to bat for them …