The Secret Cricketer: It takes all sorts in this game (2024)

Transfer struggles in the world of Devon cricket

One certainty about cricket is that it accommodates all shapes and sizes and despite some fields of thought, contains a rich diversity of human lifestyles.

Old, young, fit, unfit and those who just turn up, catch everything at slip and live to devour teas.

When two teams at elite level are engaged in combative contest, it’s a thing to behold and the only break in play might be to replace a damaged helmet or a concussion break.

In sharp contrast we recently had two hold ups, one for a player to take his Parkinson’s medication and another who was hit in his colostomy. Whilst it’s laudable for players to overcome personal challenges, it did make one or two of us think we’re getting on a bit.

When there are more good days than bad was the tipping point at which many of us felt we should carry on. We also have that reassuring presence of Doctor in case of sudden collapse!

We also determined that the alternative of not playing cricket was much worse. The dreaded ‘shopping on a Saturday afternoon’ was mentioned, as was ‘taking out my mother-in-law’.

The overriding worry was that many of our wives, it seems, have a narrative of ‘payback time’. This is an ‘unfair’ rebalancing of all the Saturdays they’ve spent undertaking the above tasks alone. Most of us would rather put flatpack furniture together for a month than engage in anything remotely inter-familial.

On the pitch, we were soundly thrashed again. With 15 overs left, we were 200 adrift when the 15 year-old dasher I was batting with asked ‘are we going for these now?’

Clearly, he had never heard of the losing draw. In this situation it is often the relationship between the two teams that determines tactical direction. If they are irritating or there’s a bit of history then it’s a given that you block the proverbial out of it.

If there’s a chance of extra time in the bar having a daft laugh, then obviously you go for it and go down in a ball of flames. Last week, we chose the former, solely on account of their wicket keeper repeatedly asking in an aggressive manner ‘come on, are you going for these or what?’

The batters also came up with an innovative way to make life hard for bowlers by insisting they really should have to give a card to the umpire informing him of how they intended to get the batter out by what delivery they were planning.

This, they felt, would discount fortunate dismissals. The bowlers countered this by trying to ban runs off the edge and dropped catches. It’s this type of collective navel gazing that men need at least once a week in place of alternative therapeutic interventions.

It’s been a bit awkward at times this week since the club received a transfer request from a neighbouring club when the player involved hadn’t informed anyone. The deadline is the end of July, so it’s always at this time of year that people jump ship in a panic.

In a hysterical reaction, the committee members have held a meeting, because that resolves everything, and have magnanimously decided to allow him to continue playing, even though it’s not cricket and there is a way to do things. I’m sure the fact that he’s one of our best players had nothing to do with it.

The looming transfer deadline has made us think about how we can arrest our plummet down the table. It has been mentioned that there is a ‘gun Aussie’ that someone knows touring the UK on a gap year we could sign.

In my experience, this is often an overweight IT student with limited ability unmatched to his burgeoning enthusiasm. More often than not, someone ends up putting up this guy for free while he stays in his locked room surfing the dark web, only emerging on a Saturday lunchtime before getting his customary duck because he’s finding it hard getting used to English wickets.

Unfortunately, the answer to our survival is in our own hands at the moment.

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The Secret Cricketer: It takes all sorts in this game (2024)
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