There we were just ticking along through the winter months, moving towards the start of a new cricket season, the world though is falling apart with countries being torn apart by a new virus. On the 23rd of march Britain’s prime minister announces we must all stay at home, don’t go to work, don’t see anybody other than your family and certainly don’t play cricket. Our world is now torn apart also. We zoom our committee meetings and discuss what it will all be like in the future but frankly no one knows, when or how or how hairy we may end up. The 100 club draw is now the most important thing on the agenda and we thank god for Hucky. On the 8th of May our queen reminds us of the good times and in the words of our Vera tells us “We will meet again” she’s not sure where or when and neither are we. Fast forward to July the 18th and cricket lockdown is broken. Armed with disinfectant, hand sanitizer and a stack of new ECB rules we gather at our Alma Mater for the inter club challenge plastic beaker. It is a hot sunny day and very un-Belfairs like. The pitch is good but the ground around it resembles a world war 1 battlefield where the Pipes of Peace video has been filmed on it a million times. But who cares this is cricket and we are back.
The sides are drawn (by Kev and his spreadsheet wizardry) and Team Palmer bat first. The opening partnership of Mitchell and Leonard promises much. It promises dib dobbing from one end and smash the arse off it from the other. As it turns out we are wrong. Boycey with a 69 ball 21 including 2 fours of the like never seen in the thirds is the star. Their challenger is Drabs who to be fair has had a bit of practice so is on the money from the word go, no tantrums, no self reproaching, just bowling. And he claims Mikey as his victim. Nadesh opens from the other end with not much happening as Boycey sees him off. We turn to a new star Prushant who is pretty good and is fizzing them through to keeper Pondy who is ringing his hands whilst trying to remember exactly what a keeper is supposed to do. He soon sees through the haze of temporary Alzheimer’s and body still willing takes a couple of stumpings. Team Palmers top batting is from Yousaf 59 retired followed by Boycey (I know) and then the skipper himself. 149 in the bank.
We leave the field after 36 overs of being broiled and the Sanitiser in that sparkling clear bottle is looking very good to drink. Despite Trumps recommendations we stick to water.
As we are not allowed to have tea any more, shower, have drinks breaks, put sweat or saliva on the ball, pass the ball around the field back to the bowler, hug, kiss or drink Kronenbourg we turn round fairly sharply and Team Bartlett bats. Bill and Pete open the innings with some fancy foot work being shown to avoid running at all costs. Bill whilst facing the shear pace of Alaric breaks his bat in half and goes all droopy. Pete eventually out for 10 Bill scores 51 using his wedge shot and another bat. Nadesh runs himself out calling wait and then haring down the wicket whilst Raj leans on his bat and smiles. A near 6 from Junior Patel scores nought as no one bothers to run and we cruise home with a few overs to spare and lots of marks in the no balls column.
And so the best bit, we are able to sit outside enjoy the warm sunny evening (a first for Belfairs as a result of global warming) drink beer and recount tales of lockdown and furlough (where did that word come from). Too much Gin, dodgy wife haircuts and Jigsaw puzzles. Bored kids and bored home schooling, Zoom parties (more Gin), waiting for holiday refunds, blaming china for closing the takeaways and watching Trump make a dick of himself. Trying to work out what bubble and whose bubbly garden you can go in to get a bit of cricket practice or drink more Gin. Watching Creasey videos, stock piling bog rolls, getting 3 weeks to the gallon out of your car, online shopping and hand stitching face masks to save the NHS. Its great to be back.
She was right our queenie we did meet again and it was at Belfairs on July the 18th.