Humbug's Blog - Pieterson Free Zone

Humbug's Blog - Pieterson Free Zone

Deep Heat

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Having almost packed away the 2016 season, what a brilliant day at the club when the resurrected Past v Present match groaned arthritically back onto the fixture list thanks to the efforts of Sonic.  Many old faces, typically from the all-conquering 1990’s re-trod the hallow turf. No less than 8 (I count myself one) of the 1995 Champions picture re-united. I missed the bacon breakfast, the swapping of medical histories and application of bandages and deep heat due to my report writing duties. What was astonishing was seeing Spear and Doc bowling at pace as the years and sweat fell away. Spear had earlier decided to bowl spin, but when he saw Doc’s jump-jet action once more, he was not to be out-done. Sonic was his effervescent self and the opening batsmen of Fred and Brian were as solid, and ancient as the English Plain Tree. Greener could not be persuaded to attempt a repeat of launching the ball over said tree but dispensed bear hugs instead. Beer sales went well despite the sumptuous lunch and tea provided by Val and donations from Mac; great to see Mikey T’s silky skills once more.

Having badgered Greg into posting a blog and read his view of a cricketer trying to break out like a scene from ‘Alien’, I might give a perspective from a scorer trying to get out of my self-appointed position behind the table. Ok, it might not be as challenging as facing a fast bowler intent on knocking your head into the cow field or being omnipotent like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but it is a story of what grinds my gears. I don’t ask much from the opposition and I understand not every team is blessed with a Rita or Humbug, (no sniggering at the back). All I ask from the opposition is a team sheet, a polite enquiry if I mind scoring on my own and a few names thrown my way by way of bowlers and batters, preferably not a generic first name. I didn’t get any of these in one specific game, though it is increasingly frequent. It is a trend scoring on my own. So when I got a little sarcastic with the opposition asking if they wouldn’t mind giving me a batter’s name they bit back. Unfortunately it was the one game we didn’t have an umpire so, grumbling they used that in a unique defence. It was a bit like Trump answering a question on being a sexual predator by promising to wipe out ISIL. I am not sure of the relevance. My wingman Gordon got involved and had a fatherly word with their skip and the message got across, but not enough for the return match. Still, it wasn’t as dramatic as when a disgruntled opposition batter threw his bat and almost hit me a long while back at Farley Hill. Sonic leapt to my defence and amusingly admonished him from an 8 inch disadvantage. I did want to find him a box to stand on. It does help to have a wing man when things go wrong, even if vertically challenged.

It was very frustrating and demoralising almost every week to struggle to field two teams on a Saturday. I’m not sure why with the facilities we have. The 1XI arguably picked up 4 new players on last year which should have relieved the pressure on 2XI; a packet of Polos, in mint condition to anyone who knows why. Of course I have my own theory. We need a box for all the mobile phones our players are addicted to, and when Rita retires scoring for 2XI we could ask her to secrete the key inside her voluminous, multi-layered summer clothing and see how that improves focus and who is brave enough to go hunting.

A word about our triumphant colts, in 2013 our U11 won their league, in 2015 our U13 won their league and now the U15 are all conquering so-called bigger clubs in 2016. The boys have stuck together and grown under the tutorship of the pugnacious Veg winning the all Berkshire U15 Division 2. In his haste to get home for his Sunday morning milk and Hobnob he drove off with the trophy on the car roof. The time, effort, organisation, dedication and especially catering should not be forgotten.  We have two graduates of the triumphant 2007 U17s, let’s hope that the 2016 vintage U15s form the backbone of future senior sides. Like garden peas, it’s so much more satisfying to grow your own than hope Ocado drop them through your door.

Orbes and I went to Lords for the Friday of the 1st Test v Pakistan, it’s our annual pilgrimage for healing and refreshment. The latter was more of the liquid and pork-based variety than spiritual. We gave Lardy a lift and collected him again, reportedly 2 bottles of red later. We also bumped into Legend, for those of you who remember Jez, still one of the nicest and sparky individuals to pass through our club. His stag was literally legend, luckily he cannot remember what was done to him in a comatose state with a box of matches and an evil intent. I think the day 2 golf was cancelled. 
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