May 23, 2010

Aberdeenshire cricket

Blade of glory... or not

Rene Van Oorschot


Hopefully my new blade will mean I spend less time doing the batsman's walk of shame and more time hanging about in the middle, but I doubt it © Rene van Oorschot
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Well, my cricket season has started off with customary exhilaration; Chelsea won the premiership, Aberdeen avoided relegation and FC Twente were the surprise champions of the mighty Dutch Eredivisie.

Yep, you guessed it, same old Scottish story.

“Game called off on account of rain.”

Spent all day watching footie in pub instead.

“But wait!” I thought, “all is not lost! I still have my Tuesday night 20-over bash in the celebrated Aberdeen Evening Cricket League with my team of tax-dodging rogues, the all-powerful Aberdeen University Unicorns.”

As it turned out, all was indeed lost. My optimism was as misplaced as a Scottish Tory. Despite the beautiful weather (only a few scattered sleet showers and not-quite gale force winds) the university decided that the designated pitch could not quite handle the sheer strain of hosting barbaric events such as gentle evening cricket matches. The pitch, understandably, needed to be maintained in mint condition for proper British sports like lacrosse and Ultimate Frisbee (i.e. sports that form the core of our athletic culture). Needless to say we were in full agreement with the University sports union, exchanged some cordial pleasantries and then departed to go our separate ways with a new-found respect for one another. The bastards.

In the meantime, having partaken in the wonderful national pastime (cricket, not Ultimate Frisbee) for just over half a decade, I have decided to make an outrageous, yet undeniably bold, move. I will finally take the decisive step that has the ability to reduce even the most robust, handlebar-moustachioed opening bowler to a pitiful heap of shuddering nerves. I am going to buy myself a cricket bat.

In the past I have just picked up whatever plank has been most proximal when I make that fateful walk to the middle. Long handle, short handle, heavy, light, pick-up, wood grain etc. None of that even lights the remotest spark of interest in me and every time I have attempted in vain to make that fateful purchase in the past I have been blitzkrieged with eon-long sales pitches that torture my uncomplicated bowler’s psyche. I usually end up leaving the shop in a light-headed daze not dissimilar to the state of mind experienced by American tourists in Amsterdam.

My cunning plan is simply to order my bat online. This will allow me to bypass any geriatric shop assistants lecturing me on the various different types of willow with a dreamy, and occasionally mildly erotic, look in their eyes. Any advice from team-mates shall also be dutifully ignored (the only guidance my captain gave me was to make sure I buy a bat that doesn’t deteriorate through lack of use).

My sudden interest in batting has come about due to the steady deterioration of my bowling aptitude. I am worried about losing my place in the team, and although my captain (an 18-stone giant gracefully named Buck Eskobar Woodman – he has roots in both Columbia and Idaho) is a cynical, awkward and downright abusive character, the thought of playing in our third XI, ruled with an iron fist by a paranoid Glaswegian fishmonger, fills me with a sense of fear and revulsion. Therefore I desperately need to add an extra dimension to my deprived cricketing abilities to justify my place in the side.

“What about fielding?” those of you who have caught wind of my previous batting exploits might ask. Sadly I have the poise and grace of a rabid hippopotamus. It’s bat or bust for me. I have been considering asking the pro for some tips on batting, but for some reason his manner towards me has become a little frosty recently. I cannot imagine why.

If my fortunes do not change soon, I shall be forced to use all my cunning, and the already existing political tension within the team, to encourage an Aberdeenshire 2nd XI coup. I could then take it upon myself to fill the (very large) void left by Buck Oakman. Being in the seat of power will at last allow me to live the cricketing dream: open the batting, field in slips, and bowl the moment the sixth wicket falls, for some tail-end vacuuming.

Not far from what my current captain does, now that I come to think of it.

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Posted by One of the many editors on (May 29, 2010, 20:39 GMT)

How many infinitives is it possible to split in the course of two paragraphs?

Posted by Author Who Realises It Is Poor Form To Pre-Judge But Can't Resist Thinking The Above Comment Is Writ on (May 28, 2010, 12:13 GMT)

If you must know Columbia, among other places, is a neighborhood in Washington, Tyne and Wear County, United Kingdom. Thanks for pointing out the unforgivable spelling error that I am sure mislead legions of confused readers. I'll make sure to severely punish my many editors.

I think the point, quite clearly made, is that Lacrosse and Ultimate, although I am sure very physically demanding, are not in fact even remotely British. Therefore it was odd to discover that a national sport like Cricket should be prevented from taking place so as to not ruin a patch of grass (which in itself would be quite a feat) for those sports whose popularity this side of the atlantic are less than overwhelming.

Oh, and next time consider resisting

Posted by Pedant Who Realizes This Column Is Meant To Be Funny But Can't Resist Being Pedantic on (May 26, 2010, 17:27 GMT)

Where is ColUmbia, exactly? Lacrosse and Ultimate are far more athletic sports than cricket.

Posted by AP Rick on (May 24, 2010, 18:51 GMT)

There is always the wicket keeping dream edwin, I think you have potential.

Posted by Silly point on (May 24, 2010, 13:56 GMT)

I think this picture deserves a caption competition.

Posted by Deep square leg on (May 24, 2010, 11:08 GMT)

You can tell he hasn't batted for very long because his whites are still immaculate. Obviously can't field either, for the same reason.

Posted by P.Satish on (May 24, 2010, 9:45 GMT)

"What about fielding?" Actually the point is not about your grace or poise. As you so wisely pointed out in an earlier blog, if you are looking at fielding to save your position in the team, you are not batting or bowling hard enough. Your bowling has taken a temporary dip in class(remember Class is temporary, Form is permanent :-p) so batting is the way to go!!

Posted by P.Satish on (May 24, 2010, 9:41 GMT)

@Opener, agree with you. Also look how exhausted the tailender...er...batsman looks. It seems a marathon innings and because he is never satisfied he is unhappy about getting out!!

Posted by The man that stares at goats on (May 24, 2010, 9:35 GMT)

i like this Buck guys style, bowl at only the tail. Reminds me of an overseas player that played for Aberdeenshire - Jan Stander the most expensive bowler in Scottish international history (oh yeah and the player who hates to throw every delivery).

He cant bat either!!!!!!

Posted by Opener on (May 24, 2010, 8:27 GMT)

Are you sure the batsman in the picture isn't walking off to thunderous applause following a glorious unbeaten ton? The look of admiration tinged with despair on the fielder's face seem to indicate as much.

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