September 15, 2010

Aberdeenshire cricket

Season-ending musings

Rene Van Oorschot
Aberdeenshire in winter: plan your vacations now  © Rene van Oorschot
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All good things must come to an end; Dutch dominance of European club football, Zimbabwe’s steady progression in international cricket (although an almighty comeback appears closer than ever), Aberdeen Football Club’s start-of-season winning streak (we managed to string together an imposing two victories), the glorious years of being able to consume lethal quantities of alcohol without suffering from a slight tenderness in the domal region the next day (how I envy those student scum). As distressing as those all are, the items on that list all pale in comparison with the single most miserable date in my annual calendar – the end of the cricket season.

The end of the cricket season is always a strange sensation for me. I generally look forward to it with some satisfaction, mainly due to my customary end-of-season dramatic collapse in form. It is usually when I start contemplating whether to buy the latest Predators or stick with the Total 90 boots for the coming football season during my run-up that I know I have drawn a mental conclusion to the cricketing period. In fact a neutral observer could probably be able to tell what month of the summer it is by judging my reaction to an edge for four through third man: if I aim a barrage of expletives and personal abuse at that bat-wielding scumbag, odds are it’s the start of the season, probably the first few weeks of May, but if I simply shrug my shoulders and whistle on my way back to my mark, it’s safe to say that autumn may rapidly be approaching. Those are the endpoints on “Rene’s Scale of Batsman Abuse”, which contains a large variety of manners in which to respond to being hit for a lucky boundary, each representing a different month of the summer.

Of course you will now be wondering why on earth I feel so sad at the end of the season if I seem so indifferent in the weeks running up to it. That is because, without fail, in the very last game of the season I, or any cricketer for that matter, will at some point have a moment of cricketing enlightenment that will make you remember why it is such a brilliant game. This moment does not have to be particularly significant in the context of the game; it does not require any personal milestone such as a five-for or ton or even a fifty. It could be anything, from a perfect cover drive that pierces the off side for four (or in my case the perfect chinese cut that pierces fine leg for four), a diving catch at slip, a single delivery that nips back and sends off stump cartwheeling, or even just a bouncer that the batsman wears in his ribs. Anything that would give a reasonable sense of personal satisfaction in any other match is significantly enhanced by at least several factors in the last game of the season.

These are the moments you will remember and cherish on those miserable, dark, cold, wet winter days (NB: the Aberdeen Tourist Board has “encouraged” me to add that Aberdeen is beautiful at winter time and offers, among other things, splendid views of the frozen rivers, stunning grey architecture, and death-traps roads artistically decorated with potholes).

It is always during the last game of the season that you realise you don’t need to score runs by the truckload or take buckets of wickets to enjoy cricket (although it obviously doesn’t do any harm). Rather it is those small, seemingly insignificant moments of personal satisfaction that give us amateur cricketers the ammunition we need to take enough enjoyment from a nine-hour session in the blistering cold to be inspired sufficiently to come back and do the same the following Saturday.

All is not lost however; there is a silver lining that comes in conjunction with the end of the British cricket season, and one that will undoubtedly have Cricinfo readers rejoicing. You will no longer be forced to sit through the ramblings of yours truly as I will be too busy hibernating next to my highly inefficient, and only sporadically operational, electric heating. I hope to be along wasting your precious time again next spring. Till then.

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Posted by Duck on (September 17, 2010, 11:09 GMT)

I will miss your blog immensely during the off season. If only I knew you in person.....

Posted by Nachiketa on (September 17, 2010, 6:51 GMT)

Hi Rene, You exemplify all thats good about amateur cricket. hope to see you when the next season beckons!

Nachiketa

Posted by waterbuffalo on (September 17, 2010, 5:27 GMT)

Cheers , Rene, till we meet again, if you are ever in Malaysia, drop by and play for our team, ball swings a mile here, you'd love it.

Posted by aritro on (September 16, 2010, 21:14 GMT)

thanks for the entertainment. come back soon, please.

Posted by NicStar on (September 16, 2010, 18:33 GMT)

thats edmonton cricket in canada... haha!! now that the winter is just around the corner, all you can think is what have done you throughout the season and what you gonna do next season... can't wait till the next summer... cheers mate... (from cold and foggy Edmonton, AB, CA)

Posted by Unmesh on (September 16, 2010, 18:12 GMT)

It is the end of the cricket season for my cricket club too. My team lost in the semi-finals and I was very sad (more because it would be the last match of this season!). Anyway, it was great reading your blog, Rene.

Posted by Talat Babi on (September 16, 2010, 14:54 GMT)

I hope to see you back at Chislehurst next year for a game or two. It was good reading your blog.

You can bowl fast ....when your action gets everything right. I did catch one in the slips in your bowling, boy does it hurt????

Posted by alam on (September 16, 2010, 12:59 GMT)

come to francistown,botswana, we are short of 5 players.

Posted by Liam Herringshaw on (September 16, 2010, 12:02 GMT)

Hibernation awaits all of us who have foolishly chosen to inhabit pot-holed Arctic localities. As we'll miss the cricket, so shall we miss your ramblings. Roll on spring!

Posted by Ashwin on (September 16, 2010, 11:40 GMT)

Looking forward to seeing you again then! Had great fun reading all your blogs! Particularly as we can relate to a lot of them...

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