It hadn’t rained overnight, but there were already rabbit tracks on the ground. The dew covered the perimeter of spruce and larch and was already starting to evaporate from the topmost branches when I set out on my expedition. Ahead were two piles of sticks on a flat shortly cut field.
The noise of the boys had faded and as I took my first steps, following a direct path to the middle, a squeak escaped from under my left boot. I hoped that would not distract me from my task, “thanks boys, do I need to rescue us again” I heard myself thinking. I had reached my destination and was now in that lonely place so familiar, so loved, so hated. Check for middle, look around, circle the shoulders, adjust the gonads, 13 balls to come 26 needed, concentrate Marek. The bowler started his approach…
When we turned up at 12:30 we did look a little like a rabble. Martin in yet another dreadful shirt with his jeans pulled up just enough to not require observers to use their imagination, Pinky – still drunk from the night before with his junior VCC trousers which stopped halfway down his shins and Aled wearing hot pants. We mostly continued this rabble theme when we took to the field with the three exceptions being Yves with his intelligent spin bowling, Pinky with his slow left arm (29 dots off 30 balls) and Mo’s first over which included 4 Yorkers. To be fair, Jonny (our token African) bowled a very good first ball, Pete only got hit for one six and Shujah looked great in his VCC uniform.
There were certainly positives, only 33 extras – 17 less than the previous week, only one missed stumping (Aled again), only one missed catch (Shujah), our captain (Sander) managed to set a good field for the first over and there were times when the fielders managed to stop the ball before it went between their legs. Then there was Martin’s bowling which wasn’t exactly a positive, not exactly German precision either.
So all in all VRA got 192 for 8, 25 runs more than they should have. 2 wickets for Shujah and 2 for Mo with one of their chaps scoring 85 before Pete cleaned him up. One of their batsmen, resplendent in his Top Gun aviators also displayed typical Dutch cricketing spirit by not walking after he edged it into the keepers gloves, good for him. I hoped he enjoyed his extra time at the crease and hope he doesn’t fall down the stairs when he gets home.
We went in for tucker, very well done it was too. Good on you Fritzgerald. No-one saw him use any sweaty body parts to mix the salad this week so we will just assume he didn’t.
We gathered around our president, who had been orally lubricating himself in the sun for a few hours, and one by one we went to bat. After a slow start JW (20) and Sander looked in complete control, Mark replaced JW and made 24 before being caught. At this point we were on 135 for 2 off 24 overs. Pete (1) and Sander (76) soon lost their wickets and the game hinged. Mo got out for 8 but more importantly the overs started to look a little thin. Aled bowled for a duck attempting to heave a straight one and the scene was set for Marek.
Each team had 12 men with one not batting and another not fielding. Marek was our non fielder and had been there for 5 hours, he faced 9 balls scored 4 and was stumped. Token and Martin scored 3 between them and the game was gone. The 2 rabbits showed us their fluffy little tails and returned to their bushes.
Both teams then went to the bar for a very gentle drink. Nothing more of any note happened at all. Nothing. All concerned were very well behaved and soon retired home to their beds in very orderly fashion. If anyone mentions any debauchery, nudity, swearing, wrestling, putting sticks up our noses or anything else then they are lying and should be ashamed of themselves.
Oh and if JW mentions he took 5 catches last week that is also a lie, he did no such thing.