Sunday, July 01, 2007

"It's just not cricket, is it?"

"It's just not cricket, is it?"

"Pub or cricket?"


Because it is perfectly normal to be playing cricket in drizzle whilst wearing a collection of Brideshead Revisited inspired clothing. In fact it is totally normal to be wearing such clothing. On a Sunday afternoon. Whilst tourists take your photos. And since I am here, it should probably also be said: I am wearing a wig. Again.

We pack up our picnic - glasses, china plates, champagne bottles and all, leaving out only the cake stand which - with its jam tarts and pastries, is carried out for mid-game snacks. Sunday afternoon cricket is civilised after all.

There is some debate about who are to be Team Captains. On grounds of self preservation Director Boy refuses to go head to head with Dean. History Boy - who has already paced out a properly sized cricket pitch and demonstrated that he can bowl over-arm and everything - has no such qualms.

With touching disregard for my inability to play sport Dean picks me. I skip behind him.

"Because he's the only boy - [Director Boy]" History Boy says. I make noises about blatant sexism.

It ends with Director Boy, J and Val on History Boy's team and myself, Cat and Old Friend on Dean's. I am not exactly sure if there is an advantage on either side. Other than possibly the fact that on History Boy's team no one is wearing a wig.

It is decided that we shall field first.

"Can any of you bowl?" Dean asks.

The silence is deafening. Needless to say it is left to Dean to bowl (underarm, naturally).

History Boy steps up to bat. Since he brought the cricket set I suspect that he has done this before.

He is - not bad. In as much as he can hit the ball and run whereas I can do neither. He scores runs. It is not looking good.

Then, with something that approaches being not-entirely-rubbish at cricket, Dean bowls History Boy out. I am really too excited. Especially since I am wearing a dress which keeps popping on account of my breasts being bigger than the actress's whose dress this was.

Director Boy steps up to the crease. If we were worried then it seems we shouldn't have been. No runs are scored before he is caught out. I could get used to this.

Unfortunately J cracks on to the fact that if she bats the ball in my direction I will not be able to catch it. It is a tactic I can only admire, especially since I get to demonstrate that I cannot run.

Dean takes the only action that can be taken, stepping up his level of concentration. He makes a move to bowl, then -

A noise rips through the air that can only be considered to be one which would not be out of place in a BBC sitcom. I know what has happened before I even look up to see Dean's face.

Still bent over he moves round slightly, revealing that his cream Brideshead trousers have split right along the seam, revealing a pair of black Calvin Kleins which most certainly aren't period.

I am laughing so much that I can hardly stand. It is safe to assume that the England cricket team do not suffer in such a manner. There is a general debate as to whether J should get further points for making Dean do this, or that Dean should get them for the indignity of being forced to spend the rest of the day with a cricket jumper wrapped around his waist. In the end we play on.

Dean and Cat engineer a situation where J is most definitely out. Director Boy and History Boy protest loudly. We, indignant in our righteousness, are louder and J is therefore proclaimed out. Obviously.

Cat catches Val on the second ball and, suddenly, it looks like we might be able to scrape a victory. We troop off the makeshift pitch, Dean with his split trousers, Cat having popped a button on her 1920's tennis dress, Old Friend with soggy shoes and me with my rapidly slipping wig.

Bowling, predictably, falls to History Boy. Cat steps up and makes a rather good show of it in the face of what can only be described a proper-boy-bowling, not at all in the spirit of Sunday afternoon costume wearing cricket.

"Stop being mean" I yell as History Boy bowls Cat out. Which should probably be read as - stop trying to win.

"He is mean" says Cat as she gives me the bat.

"I know. I don't like him any more" I say.

I arrive at the wicket and realise that this is not going to be pretty.

"Be nice!" I yell, wondering what level of threat I should profer if he isn't.

Once. I miss the ball completely. Director Boy laughs and mimics me weilding a bat.

"I went to a girls' school! We didn't play cricket!". This is not entirely true. Some people did play cricket. I was probably off taking part in extra maths lessons or something.

Two. I miss the ball and hear the clunk of the wicket.

I am out for a duck and it is History Boy's fault.

"I really don't like you any more" I say. Competitive sport that it is, History Boy is unmoved. I make a mental note to return such meaness at the earliest possible opportunity.

With a deficit of over 20 runs I pass the bat to Dean.

It starts well, in as much as Dean manages to make contact with the ball. We start clawing back runs.

Then - clunk!

Somehow Dean has managed to knock his own wicket off. It probably sums up the fortunes of his team.

Old Friend manages a few runs before J catches her out. It is over. We have lost.

"Second innings?" someone says.


1 comment:

Nik said...

i used to be quite good at cricket [obviously the whole broken light, advent wreath and plaque thing during one game of cricket at school had nowt to do with me] but as a general rule we are usually not allowed on the same team. damn, why didn't i come? i would have been on the winning team...