Nice Weather for Ducks

Mystics versus Clackmannan County at The Arns, 29th July 1998

The Clackmannan fixture has two connotations for me. No actually three. Firstly, smashing the cricket tea etiquette (not playing and beating both teams into the clubhouse and helping myself in the mid 90's), epic finishes and hunger pangs.

This year had an added ingredient as I realised that in some fixtures it was proper to do a strange ritualistic dance on the strip (if this is the correct term). On arrival a hardy team (led by Ollie) dashed from the relative warmth of the minibus and began poking sticks into the ground, talking in code and generally appearing to enjoy themselves. Me and Freddie were going to offer our services, but we were busy planning other key elements of the tour (where would it be without us I hear you ask!)

Anyway, the outcome was a personal dissapointment as I learned that we were to use the artificial wicket, which tends to hamper my natural pace and swing, still, never mind.

One of the things I remember about the game was, " excellent slip catch to remove Chris Healey ...", (cheers Jim).

Also, "...Sid and Windy batting well and edging us towards an improbable victory...", (cheers Jim).

At one point during the game Ernie (the captain) invited me to bowl. Like all up and coming bowlers I listened with glee to the request and said , "no!".

"Why not?", said Ernie. "Because I'm starving!", I said. So Ernie told me to take the next over from "that end" and I wasn't quite sure what he meant. To let you into a secret, one of the reasons I didn't want to bowl was because my opponent looked as though he had played before, and that he had practised recently. His name was Ashok Malhotra, (he had a mate called Harry Sodhi). Anyway, I worried the first bloke by chucking the ball straight at his head. That wiped away his grin and some of his obvious and nauseating self-confidence. The umpire recognised my talent and kept offering me some sort of towel to wipe the ball with as he had enjoyed my previous delivery so much.

Looking back on it we were always chasing the game, but the last two bats in were me and Jim. Let's face it if us two can't turn the game around who can?

I would put some cricket details into this review but I lost the sheet that Jim gave me with details on such as, who played, what the scores were, some bowling details etc.

As a young man my favourite hobby was drinking to excess. Now, in my more mature years, I have taken to reading. Through this I have encountered the notion of the "dubious" or "doubtful" author, and I feel that certainly in a cricketing context I fulfill both of these criteria.

By the way, did I say that we lost?

Neil Hadley

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