24th January, 2014

I have really tried hard to write about birds this week.  I really have.  But when a rumour of global proportions does the rounds, what can a boy do, especially when it’s about cricket?

It appears (as the actress said to the Bishop) that a local farmer and businessman has the healthiest of obsessions with red balls and white caps.  In short, he has the most laudable of ambitions: namely, to bring civilisation to Clarens by building a world class cricket pitch on his farm, thus liberating it from the lowly role of feeding the people and boosting the economy.  Well, he is a farmer, so maybe that’s not strictly true.

The point is that this farm, in the shadow of a mushroom rock, could soon be heaving to mammoth fours and sixes at the behest of tall, chisel-featured cricketers of every make and persuasion.  Yes, it may indeed be true.  Imagine, if you will, dear reader, the visiting Australian cricket team taking to the field and bowling cabbages back and forth – all to the rapturous applause of both Australian residents of our own dear village.  And imagine the opposition, the Clarens and Country Districts All Stars, gearing up in the nets, in the shadow of one of the village’s premier wedding venues?

Picture Bruce Weyers, trim in skin-tight Teflon strides and size 59 pads, leaping gymnastically to his left and right, demonstrating the fine art of wicket-keeping.  Conceive, if you will, of the Sector Police Forum Chair lying crumpled on the turf after receiving a vicious bouncer from Les ‘body-line’ Thake.  Picture Ollie  ‘the kilted catcher’ Esplin at silly mid-on and Greg ‘the prowler’ Mousley at silly mid-off, taking profane direction from team Captain and star of the third-worst batting line up in the world, Brad ‘one off the wrist’ Goldblatt.  Imagine!

And imagine the start of play, following the toss with an elderly Kruger Rand.  Crowd tense, cameras rolling, television viewers around the world aghast at the cattle grazing contentedly at third-man.  An expectant hush as a three-metre Australian ultra-fast bowler sends down an ultrasonic bouncer, missing the scalp-hair of Clarens All Stars opener Chris ‘expresso’ Pefanis by millimetres.  Minutes pass and the All Stars are 3 (extras) for 9 and wilting badly in the summer sun.  All appears lost, but wait: Last man standing (well, sort of) is Ray ‘the postman’ Meyers who fends the spinning ball away with alacrity.  The unnamed four-metre Oz spinner rushes down the track and glares down at our Ray with intimidating Antipodean fury and snarls, “Mate, why are you so fat?”

Ray glares back, sparky as ever, and replies, “Because every time I bonk your wife, she gives me a biscuit”.

The match is drawn, due to the visitors being incapacitated by laughter.  That aside, gear up, dear readers, with floppy white hats and cases of the bubbly stuff, because this halcyon vision may soon be a reality.  Just imagine!!