From left to right: Spectatoro, Suaveo, Kiddo, Wrencho, Tayloro, Gavo, Johnsono and Stowo

From left to right: Spectatoro, Suaveo, Kiddo, Wrencho, Tayloro, Gavo, Johnsono and Stowo

You wouldn’t believe how great it is to play a game of crucket. Having not played in quite a while – I’m never available and so never get picked – but I did practice in the nets and I have also been watching a lot of crucket on Sky Sports, so I think I know what to do.
 
So, I got to play against the Cricket with Balls’s Code of Conduct XI. I made sure I got there real early, and went to the local pub for a pint of full-fat Coke (not Pepsi) and a ciabatta. I did ask for a side order of chups, but the owner of the Red Lion looked at me all gone out like I’d just insulted his daughter. I guess I should have asked for “sauteed root vegetables”, but how should I know? I’m just a boy from Waltone, Chesterfield, and let me tell you – that’s a long way from Barnes (153 miles exactly!).
 
Anyways, after lunch I strolled back to the Barnes ground, shook hands with Jrod, and went for a net. It was 31 degrees, which is quite hot. I made sure I warmed up good and proper. The net was some good work, I really tested out my body and got into the groove of bowling full and straight. It was lovely. That excercise means that I’ll probably be able to get into an even tighter pair of jeans from now on.
 
I also had a bat. First with the 2lb7oz ‘The Dogs’ from Stick bats, and then with a Mongoose bat that Jrod had borrowed from Mongoose Crucket.
 
I have to admit it, even for a boy from Waltone, the Mongoose was a bit strange. First up, you are very much aware that your hands are a long way from the blade. Second, it felt like a cross between swinging a great big Big Bertha golf club and a ball and chain. I’ve never swung a ball and chain, but I’d image it would be quite similar. I managed to get some good bat speed out of it, and when you nailed one, it went.
 
We won the toss and batted first. Reason being was that it was a bit hot and we fancies putting our feet up. It was a fun afternoon and we had a small crowd there. I batted at five, after a couple of wuckets, and also after Craigo had retired for making 30 and hitting a lady in her garden down the street with a magnificent drive over wide mid-off (Craigo’s such a talented crucketer, I reckon he could be a Kiwi).
 
Hendo and Stowo also batted really well.
 
I was a bit nervous. The crowd was excited and Alex Scott, the Aussie’s leggie had got the ball to talk a bit. I started by driving Jrod for four through covers – he’s such a talent that Jrod, he even managed to make a face at me when he bowled. I then cut Scott for four through gully (was a bit top edgy) and then slog-swept him over mid-wucket for sux (that was a bit top edgy too, but ‘The Dogs’ from Stick bats has nice big thick edges).
 
Also picked up a few singles, but was bowled trying to nerdle the leggie behind square on the legside.
 
Millo got a bit excited with the Mongoose and blasted 17, and big respect must go to Hortono and Wrencho – who batting at 10 and 11 respectively pushed the score past 200.
 
The Aussies had a few real good crucketers, and Hortono and Wrencho, opening the bowling for the English, had a tough challenge keeping it tight against them. One opener spooned a tough chance to Philo, who snaffled it over his shoulder. Another of the Aussie stars smashed a full toss from Hortono to my left at mid-wucket and I grabbed it.
 
With a couple of the Aussies then going on to retire on 30, we brought on the spinner. Kiddo from The Times looped some up. Some got smashed, others didn’t, and some more good catching meant he had snaffled three and the middle-order had crumbled. Good catches from Craigo, Tayloro and Suaveo helped.
 
I came on to bowl to try and tie up an end and stop getting wuckets, because that would mean the good batsmen would have to come back.
 
I marked out my 17 pace run up. First ball was straight, back of a length, defended. Second ball, right foot, left foot, usual right foot left foot combination. The arm came over and yorked the batsmen middle stump.
 
It was good reward for a flukey delivery, and confirmed my theory that on this deck I needed to bowl cross seam.
 
In came a new batter, Uncle Jrod. I sent square leg to the boundary and made like I was going to bounce him out. Jrod was confused because the keeper was still up to the stumps. Bowled a delivery, straight, just back of a length, and it kicked nicely and moved a mile, nipping between bat and pad, over leg stump, past Stowo and four byes.
 
Suaveo – who really took to occasion, wearing a Jardine style shirt and silk scarf – came on at the other end and snared Jrod, caught on the deep mid-wucket fence off a big full toss. Jrod wasn’t happy, it was possibly a no-ball, but it wasn’t given. I thought about it a while, considered calling him back. After contemplating what Jardine would have done I decided not to.
 
Taking all these wuckets was starting to be a real problem as it meant the Aussie star batsmen would be able to come back in with plenty of time to get the runs they needed.
 
They soon added another 20, so I whipped off the spinners and went to an all seam attack. We need two big wuckets, they needed 30 runs off seven overs.
 
The 23rd over of the innings was defining. The Aussie number 10 pushed a single and I managed to bowl two dot balls against the young opener who was then on 50. Fourth ball I tried the two-fingers-running-across-the-seam slower ball, bowling full and straight at middle-and-leg. The leftie went for the money shot over long on, hit it high and handsome, and Hortono snaffled a catch on the boundary. Game on!
 
Next ball was against the other returning batsman. He’d made a lot of runs earlier gliding the ball behind square on the offside. Decided to bowl it full and straight. It tailed in and clipped the top of leg stump. What a result.
 
A great result for the England and a great result for the boy from Waltone.
 
Written with much admiration and respect for the work of the boy from Petone.

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