Guest author: Charlie Naseweis
I played in my first 'official' game of cricket yesterday. (For our American cousins, cricket is a bit like baseball, only better ;-p)
I've always enjoyed watching cricket. Not as much as football, but if there's an England game on I'll try to watch it. When I was growing up, it seemed to be on the BBC all the time. I still vividly remember watching Ian Botham & Bob Willis tearing apart the Aussies in the 1981 Ashes Series. I always found the statistical part of the game quite fascinating....maiden overs, bowling figures, wagon wheels..... Later on, I recall watching Phil Tufnell's exploits, whilst I was supposed to be revising for my Finals. It's amazing how much time can be swallowed up watching an absorbing Test match.
Just recently, cricket has had a bit of a renaissance, in no small part due to the advent of 20/20 cricket. I still prefer the traditional full test match - call me a traditionalist. Last year I watched my first test match 'live' at Headingley (England vs West Indies); next week, I'll be going to the 1st day of play at the Oval for the final test between England & South Africa. I hope there's still something riding on the result!
Anyway, I digress. This Friday afternoon, my work is having a game of 20/20 cricket at Harefield CC, between UK & Europe divisions. As preparation, Europe had a practise match yesterday at Pinkneys (no seriously) Green CC near Maidenhead. The opposition were quite decent - in fact we were quite concerned when they all turned up in whites! We looked like a rabble in comparison, with our t-shirts, shorts & tracksuits. Luckily we have quite a few handy players within the ranks. Our skipper & opener is an Aussie, so he's bound to be good! Further down the order are a few guys who either played at school, or for clubs when they were younger.
We lost the toss and were put into bat first, and achieved a fairly respectable score of 104-8 (our captain had to declare at 25 n.o. to give everyone else a chance to bat!!). I was down to bat at #7 in the order. When I went out to bat, my targets were: (1) to avoid getting out first ball, then (2) avoid getting out for a duck. My boss was umpiring and he gave me the helpful advice "get your eye in first", which I did do, building up a good partnership with Batsmen #6. I found it a little bit intimidating in the middle due to the other team's banter around the wicket. In particular, their wicketkeeper was doing a running commentary of the game.... "they don't like your pace"...... "next ball, he's a goner" ...... "Oooh, I can smell a wicket coming!"..... not quite sledging, but it did a good job of distracting me. It's a lot harder than it looks, batting. I had to concentrate quite hard as each bowler I faced had a different bowling style, and varied line & length.
In the end I knocked up a respectable 7 not out, working my way through 4 different partners (fnarr). I'm not a big hitter, so left it to the other batsmen to hit the boundaries and build up our innings score. As it was 20/20 I took a few risks, and unfortunately ran out bat #8 in the process (ooops, it's just not cricket).
The other team tried in vain to chase our total, but fell well short. We had a tasty bowling attack, and rattled through their top order batsmen. Fortunately I wasn't required to bowl - in practise I was so bad that my team mates actually stopped taking the mickey out of me, they felt sorry at the number of wides I was bowling!!
Looking forward to Fridays game - I'm hoping for another solid score. One of me, eleven of you? I think it's Pimms O'clock!