Monday, 14 August 2017

That catch...

Many years ago, your old idiot chum, Scrobs, played a few games of cricket with two clubs - one was the village, and the other was the Summer version of the Rugby Club, as they had a lot of serious drinkers, and at five-bob a head, the kitty wasn't that onerous!

To be fair, I was never actually going to get beyond Number Eleven in the batting (some suggested perhaps twelve, or even thirteen), but my fielding (apart from dropping a doddle at mid-off once) wasn't that bad, and when I was allowed to come closer to the bat than about four miles away, I'd shine like a beacon in a dull Sussex sky!

In the RFC Cricket section, we had a superb chap, who knew everything about the game, and was one of the best bowlers I'd ever seen. If I say his name (David Vale), someone might sue me, but who cares, I was only number eleven, so that's enough!

David always poked fun at me in a friendly way, and I usually told him to sod off, so that was that. In one particular game, however, he went all serious.

'Scrobs', he shouted, 'Get close to the bat at silly mid off'!

Bugger this, I thought! It was their number three at the crease, and he'd been clonking fours and sixes everywhere on the park!

David re-made the order.

'SCROBS, GET BLOODY CLOSER'...!

'Over by the far canal'! I was within about three inches of the batsman's glove and still being told to get even closer! A mild repost to David was met with disdain, a smirk, and complete bollocks.

So, down came the first ball.

Tap.  Wimp.

Vale sneered.

Next ball, a tentative prod to leg.

Vale snorted.

Next ball; a superb off-spin which turned almost ninety degrees, and left the batsman in a real mess, so he tried to belt it, missed the meat of the bat, popped up an edge which went about three feet away from his pads, then turned away.

Scrobs did the unfathomable. Being right-footed, and still in diarrheic fear of a smack right in the chops from either bat or ball, (or perhaps both), the ball hovered about a yard above the batting crease like a full moon does on - er - a batting crease..

Scrobs' full length of five foot seven and three-quarters leapt straight out and left-handedly grasped the ball an inch above the grass. It was the catch of a lifetime, and while I sit here, thinking about how great life is an' all that, I'll still remember the look on the bowler's face as he notched another wicket...

Bloody man, that David...


4 comments:

A K Haart said...

Stays with you for life doesn't it, that perfect sporting moment?

Michael said...

Possibly the only one, Mr H!

My Dad and my - then - girl friend were watching as well, which made it all so important.

Triumphs come few and far between, and just now, as the cricket season is overtaken by the awful bloody football stuff, I like to remember the five-bob kitty, a huge jug of beer, a lot of banter, a lot of chums, and above all that, some fabulous fun!

Good life really!

Things are marvellously on the up from the last post - sorry about that one, I wasn't at my best...

rvi said...

Think - think - think --->>

Nope, can't think of any greatest sporting moments except once playing left wing for the school football team. The opponents had a goal kick. Their keeper hoofed the ball towards little 5'4" me standing about three yards inside their half. The ball was in the air directly on route to where I was standing. I watched it come and mentally measured the distance and place it would land - about 2 feet in front of me. As it landed, I took one small step forward and caught it with a perfect half-volley. It rocketed back over the keeper and straight into the top corner of his net. That won the match for us and the following morning in Assembly the sports master lavished extensive praise on me - to everybody else's amusement and my undying embarrassment! Things like that tend to stay in the memory.

My only other longstanding memory dates from when I was 7 years old. I had recently joined a local swimming club to learn how to swim and three weeks later I mastered my first width of the pool. I then progressed gradually on to my first length (for which I received an embossed certificate signed by the then mayor of Mitcham which I still have!). A few weeks after that, the club organised its annual swimming gala and I was put in the one length for beginners race. Being an absolute 7 year old starter, I was on an outside lane and was told to go first when the starter blew his whistle. The whistle blew and I dived in and headed gallantly with my beginner's breast stroke towards the far end 33 yards away. As I progressed I heard the whistle go several times for older and faster swimmers. When they had all reached the far end, I was still about 10 yards short and the crowd were cheering me on. I got the biggest clap of them all once I had puffed my way slowly but surely to the end. Speed swimming was never to be my strongest asset!

Sen. C.R.O'Blene said...

Again, the best ones always surface don't they Reevers...

Meeting my old rugby chum recently, he reminded me for the eightieth time, of the day I fell down a hole at Lewes Rugby Club, and buggered a tendon in my knee...

He always laughed at that, the old sod!