Village cricket is meant to be the purest form of the game. Everything about it quintessentially British, 22 cricketers with no other ambition than to enjoy a good game of cricket played in the right spirit, but that’s not always the case. Here’s 11 characters you’ll meet somewhere along the line.
The Slow Opener
This man refuses to believe that the year is not 1964, and that going at a run rate of 0.6 an over is no longer acceptable. Often seen in a state of delusion, rambling about putting a value on your wicket. Will often be ‘accidentally’ run-out by his partner once he’s seen off the new ball.
Lower Level Bully
Playing seven leagues below his standard, his entire self-worth is defined by the amount of runs and wickets he can rack up in a village friendly league. He has no qualms about bowling bouncers to 12 year-olds whose stance is closer to square leg than the stumps.
Right Arm Slow
He’s not an off-spinner, nor a leg-spinner, he’s a… well, nobody really knows what he is. The last time this man turned the ball, Margaret Thatcher occupied Number 10 and the Falklands war was raging on. Despite this, he’ll still get wickets, after which he’ll put down to his ‘deceiving flight and length.’ The reality is the opposition’s batsmen get so bored of him they try to smash him into next week.
The One Who Can’t Let Go
Entering his 37th consecutive season for the club, this man holds all the batting and bowling records at the club, achieved through sheer longevity, rather than talent. He should have retired at least 10 years ago, but always convinces himself to have one more season, assumingly to fill the void of nothingness that his life is without cricket. It’s strange that he continues to play on, because as he’ll mention several times: things were better back in his day.
The Keen One
Is there anything this bloke won’t do for the club? He’s there half-hour before meeting time to help open up the club, he’ll coach the club’s junior sides. His wife makes the teas and he’s the first to volunteer for a stint of umpiring or scoring when required. Nobody quite knows why he does it, but without people like him, the club wouldn’t exist.
Nobody is quite sure whether or not this bloke actually likes cricket, or if he is merely using the guise of team sport to conceal his mild alcohol problem. He’s the last one to leave the clubhouse and he single-handedly keeps the club’s bar in business. He’s known to pester his teammates for “A quick pint or two” throughout the entirety of winter, but it’s never just one pint, is it?
Speed Bump Keeper
It’s rumoured that ‘Village Wicketkeeper’ is Latin for ‘The Only one who owns a pair of gloves’ and this man personifies that. Known for merely slowing the ball down rather than stopping it; his success is not measured by how many catches or stumpings he takes, he qualifies success as “Only letting 30byes past” a game.
Usually a 12 year-old who’s been called upon to make up the numbers. He’s content to field at fine leg, despite taking 3 throws to get the ball in from the boundary, mainly because he’s too terrified of the ball to field inside the ring. But he’s better than a gap in the field and all he costs is a can of coke at the end of the days play.
All The Gear
He hasn’t batted above 7 since he was 8 years-old, but that won’t stop him buying a new £400 bat every season, and it would be rude to not buy the matching pads and gloves. Is devastated to find out that re-mortgaging his house to buy a new bat can’t solve the fact that he can’t drive a ball.
Strangely vocal for a man who averages 8.2 and bowls half-trackers. It’s been 4 years since he said anything vaguely witty and there’s only so many times you can hear “ More leaves than a tree “ before you want to wrap a piece of willow round his head yourself.
Bats 11 Doesn’t Bowl
He volunteers to play every week despite not being able to hold a bat, nor possessing the ability to bowl a ball. Is content to waste the best years of his life running around a field all day during the summer, like a Labrador.