Clashes for Ashes stir the memories

CLASHES FOR ASHES: Win or lose, cricketers will always return home with stories galore.
CLASHES FOR ASHES: Win or lose, cricketers will always return home with stories galore.
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WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward

Summer brings many sport events to prominence and also into the public eye big time like it or not and the latest one in that frame has England stamped all over it as the England cricket team has won the Ashes on home ground and beat Australia bats down.

For starters I am not a cricket fan as I can never quite keep up with the sheer speed and excitement it generates but it does bring back memories of my father’s participation in the game in those heady days when it was a leisurely weekend afternoon event and people watching could drop off to sleep in their deckchairs watching but once becoming conscious could tell you everything that went on during the match – apparently.

Father played in various positions from wearing umpteen dozen jumpers around his waist standing in a milking gown or white smock and waggle his hand in the air at chosen moments to signify something or other to actually holding the bat and smacking the ball when the opportunity arose.

There were signs as to how the match had gone on his return back home as if he and the team won his bat was a trusty shaped willow weapon of the Gods, sleek in action and true as a die in operation plus a big beaming smile that I can picture even now but if he or they had lost, it was but a mere hunk of firewood with an expression of sucking a spoon full of rusty nuts and bolts.

There were other wonderful occasions that brought excitement to the game such as the now and again ‘away match’ where the team went to other venues to both entertain and amaze their counterparts in their league. One memorable time was when the team decided to use a newly formed local minibus hire company to take the team to a match twenty odd mile away and a clue that things were not going right was when the driver arrived at a central bus stop to pick them up and opened the door to allow them in and passed comment ‘It’s a fancy dress thing then?’ to which nobody bothered to enquire why he said it.

It was when he disembarked them at a horticultural show entrance that the penny dropped as meanwhile a party of gardening enthusiasts were slightly befuddled to find they had been dropped off by their minibus driver at a cricket ground with no discernable flora to see or judge apparently. Despite the rapid turn round and all aboard by the Men in White and onto the right destination they had lost the match by default.

In those days you couldn’t blame the now favourite standby of today being ‘it was the Sat Nav wot done it’ as this was just plain human error. With winning against a team from the land of the kangaroo perhaps father, now long gone back to the pavilion in the skies, would approve in 
some respects as at least they did manage to arrive in the right country if not by minibus.