Author: Laurence Elderbrook (page 1 of 3)

Laurence Elderbrook warms up for action

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

Nerves are good. Nerves are a sign that a batsman cares, and a batsman with such passion is more likely to be sharp and effective when his moment arrives.

I, Laurence Elderbrook, am not by nature a nervous man, but the tempestuous nature of cricketer errantry has encouraged an exaggerated sensitivity which can only benefit my cricket. I welcome this development for it means I will be that much more effective when I take the field.

The nerves are, however, significant and one cannot allow them to take control. I have always found gin an excellent countermeasure and so dose myself carefully to maintain an optimal balance between performance-enhancing tension and relaxation. I take small glasses regularly throughout the morning, refilling only when necessary.

When I summon Darron-with-an-O, I inform him that there is to be a change in protocol for today’s match – he will be needed for directions only. In my sharpened state, there will be no need for him to enquire whether or not a club requires my presence. I will simply inform them of my participation, for surely no man on Earth would wish to deny the expression of genius.

I have already selected a team to grace. They are a rural side whose ground lies in the most exquisitely bucolic setting and upon arrival I see that the match is already underway. There is no time to waste. I park my car firmly against the pavilion and exit the vehicle to undertake my trusted exercise regimen. I essay twenty to thirty mad gambols followed by a series of naked frisks. Darron looks on in wide-eyed awe, anticipating the wonders to come.

The pavilion door is a trifle stiff, so I incline my weight towards it. My entrance is appropriately dramatic and the excitement among the onlookers within is palpable.

Whether they recognise me or just instantly comprehend that great feats are about to take place, enthusiasm gets the better of some of their number and they approach me in a state of some feverishness.

Celebrity can at times leave one feeling vulnerable and the exposure of one’s rarities serves only to magnify this sensation. This is perhaps what compels me to unfurl a series of cross-batted strokes in their direction, after which I hare towards a table of victuals to gain energy for what is to come.

Balance is the key to sports nutrition, so I endeavour to consume sandwiches of ham, egg and cheese, rather than placing too much emphasis on any one particular filling. I intersperse my feeding with further swishes of my cricket bat, demonstrating my full range of strokes to my advancing fans.

Perhaps it is the overwhelming nature of the transcendent state in which I find myself, but when I then attempt to round the table and make my way towards the pitch, I gently clip its corner with my hip. As I sprawl to the floor, I ask myself whether it is in fact possible to be functioning on such a level that one can no longer operate on this plane of existence.

I swiftly pick myself up and continue my journey towards my stage. The sward lies before me, but as I exit the building, the doorway strikes my cricket bat. I react swiftly but cannot protect my opposite shoulder from a collision with the opposite side of the door.

As I again journey towards the ground, it is clear what I must do. I must purge my body so as to return it to the terrestrial realm.

On hands and knees, I insert two digits and liberate the gin and sandwiches from my corporeal form. Shortly after this moment, my earthbound consciousness is replaced by something beyond comprehension; something which alas denies me any memory of the innings I played.

When I inform the officer of this later in the day, he is understandably dubious. My cricketing feats are now, quite literally, beyond comprehension. As such, I resolve that this shall be my final performance of the season.

More Laurence Elderbrook


Laurence Elderbrook fights and defeats nerves

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

I have concluded that it is irresponsible to open the batting. I am a gifted, match-winning batsman and to expose myself to the vagaries of the new ball is to introduce an element of chance to proceedings when a fair fight would always see me prevail.

This is why, on my next outing as a cricketer errant, I inform the captain that I will be batting at five. By side-stepping unpredictable early movement, I give myself the best possible chance of delivering for a team in need.

Ironically, today’s pitch is a flat one and the team quickly advances to fifty without losing a wicket. They are building a good platform for me; I mustn’t begrudge them that. However, my appearance at the crease may be some way off, so I instruct my squire, Darron-with-an-O, to purchase me a small glass of gin such that I might while away my time until I am needed.

The score grows. The wickets do not fall. I savour a couple more gins lest this interminable wait have some fraying effect on my nerves. Anxiety has met its match in Laurence Elderbrook and I conquer it easily.

At the fall of the third wicket, an onlooker has the temerity to ask whether I am able to bat. Does he not know who I am? I take the only option available to me in such a situation. I let fly a huge bestial roar and strike him on the side of the head with my gin glass.

One of the great challenges of being a cricketer errant is that in many ways one is always an outsider. Over the years I have grown used to members of the opposition taking against me for spurious reasons, but my fleeting appearances as the star player on a team can on occasion breed resentment among even my own team-mates.

That is what happens here as one of the dismissed batsmen – doubtless ashamed and suffering some sort of inferiority complex – sides with my foe and attempts to strike me. With cat-like reflexes I feint to the left, deftly upending a table in the process so as to distract him. Grasping a glass from another table, I instruct Darron to warm-up the motorcar and inform the room that they have forfeited their right to my presence with their boorish behaviour. To drive home the message, I launch the glass at my foe and exit the room.

Later in the week, I return to the ground. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I urinate on the clubhouse door with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

More Laurence Elderbrook


Laurence Elderbrook benefits from the gift of time

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

For once the normally laborious aspect of cricketer errantry was swift. My squire, Darron-with-an-O, secured a slot for me with a local club within minutes of our setting off in my motorcar. I had anticipated a long morning roaming from club to club and so this development was most welcome.

An added advantage was that early arrival gave me more time to properly prepare. I asked the captain to give me ten minutes’ notice of when the match was about to start. This would give me enough time to complete my exercise regimen, allowing me to be perfectly prepared for my innings. With everything in place, I now spent my spare time relaxing with a small glass of gin.

At the appointed hour, the captain gave me the nod and I moved into the car park where I embarked upon my standard routine.

As I was essaying my twenty to thirty mad gambols, a small crowd formed, doubtless keen to pick up some tips. They seemed a band of merry souls, but their mood unexpectedly turned when I made to embark on a series of naked frisks.

Several of their number appeared to take issue with my approach and when I attempted to explain that it was impossible to satisfactorily complete frisks without exposing one’s rarities, they refused to believe me.

A somewhat fractious debate then took place after which I took it upon myself to depart, for the good of all involved. After instructing Darron to deliver my immaculate cream flannels to the motorcar, I headed inside to claim some victuals before exiting the scene with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few.

Next instalment of Laurence Elderbrook

More Laurence Elderbrook


Laurence Elderbrook confronts a new challenge

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

Life as a cricketer errant continues to be wearying, but it is the path I have chosen and a path I will continue to walk. This week my squire, Darron-with-an-O, must have asked at more than a dozen clubs whether any team required a dashing opening batsman to make up the numbers before he found a taker.

I exit my motorcar and stride into the clubhouse. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. Darron points me in the direction of the captain and I shake him firmly by the hand. He seems pleased to have been gifted an eleventh player and thanks me for offering to help out. Sadly, the pleasantries end there, for he also informs me that my new team will be fielding first.

I take the only option available to me. I let fly a huge bestial roar and march back to the motorcar. When Darron appears, I instruct him to return inside to claim some of the victuals prepared for the lunch break.

As I make the most of this sustenance, Darron asks me whether I will be returning to the ground when it is our turn to bat. I give him a withering look and start the motorcar.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

More Laurence Elderbrook


Laurence Elderbrook refines his method

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbook

Chastened by my uncharacteristically ineffectual performance the previous week, I resolve to prepare properly. Before I depart to find a team in need, I carry out my exercise regime to get the blood pumping. I essay twenty to thirty mad gambols followed by a series of naked frisks.

Once this is complete, I summon my squire, Darron-with-an-O. I do this by repeatedly striking the wall that separates our two abodes while calling out his name. Within moments, he is at my door. I hand him my bat and we immediately depart in my motorcar.

After a long morning, we eventually track down a team that is a player short. I inform the captain that I will open the batting. Primed by my mad gambols and naked frisks, I am ready for action and do not want to let my body cool.

The opening bowler is a lanky sort. I assess his gait and examine how he holds the ball. Clearly he will bowl full and swing the ball away. I take guard and pick the gap I will penetrate.

As the bowler runs in, I am awash with confidence, but his delivery stride rather takes me aback. He is left-handed and I had prepared as if he were right-handed. As his arm comes over, I try and work out how the way he holds the ball with one hand will impact on how he bowls with the other. Just as I correctly conclude that he will bowl straight medium-pace, the ball strikes the stumps.

I take the only option available to me. I let fly a huge bestial roar and march off the field, whereupon I gather Darron and immediately drive home, snatching some victuals which have been prepared for the tea break as I walk out.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

More Laurence Elderbrook


Laurence Elderbrook embarks upon a career as a ‘cricketer errant’

Previous instalment from Laurence Elderbrook

It strikes me that if I am to become a cricketer errant, I will need a squire. I walk next door and ask to speak to Darron-with-an-O. When Darron appears, I inform him that he is my squire. We immediately depart in my motorcar.

We swiftly settle on a routine. I steer the motorcar and Darron directs me. Whenever we arrive at a cricket club, he exits the motorcar and heads inside to ask whether they are short of a player for the day’s fixture.

We try five different clubs before I am needed. Darron retrieves me from the motorcar and I introduce myself to the captain. I inform him that my name is Laurence Elderbrook and that I will be batting at three. He mutters something about gift horses and curses a man called Alan for dropping out at the last minute. You will not miss Alan, I tell him. You will not miss Alan.

My team is batting first and I do not have long to wait before I am needed. The cricket is of a relatively high standard and the bowler is both fast and accurate. His second ball splays the opener’s stumps. He cannot expect to experience such success with his third ball. It is time.

As the ground falls silent in anticipation, I emerge onto the field of play. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. I take guard.

As the bowler approaches, I ponder the morality of my situation. As a freelance batsman, is it right for me to play to the full extent of my abilities? Would such an approach embarrass my team-mates, highlighting their inadequacies, or is it my duty to deliver all that I can to those who are in need of my services?

Just as I conclude that it would quite simply be a crime to deny the world an opportunity to see what is possible in this great game, I realise that the bowler has released the ball. My lightning quick reflexes immediately kick in, but the area where a player of my standard transcends others is by picking up length early, straight from the hand. My attempted leg glance is therefore a fraction out and as the bat face closes, it evades the ball which sadly goes on to hit my stumps.

I am nothing if not reserved, so I take the only option available to me. I let fly a huge bestial roar and march off the field, whereupon I gather Darron and immediately drive home.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbook

More Laurence Elderbrook


Laurence Elderbrook finds a new way to share his gift

Several seasons have passed and I fear that if I leave it much longer, my skills might begin to wane. I could spend another summer at my gentlemen’s club, laying wagers and sharing brandies with other Renaissance men, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Now, while I am in the prime of life, I owe it to the world to exhibit my skill at the noble sport of cricket.

But how? And where? Relationships soured at my old club, where I transcended my team-mates to such an extent that jealousy became inevitable. When the framed portrait of myself I had added to the wall of the bar was daubed with an unpleasant slogan, I took the sad decision to leave.

It strikes me that gratitude and appreciation fade with familiarity and this thought indirectly gives rise to an inspired notion. I will become a freelance batsman – a cricketer errant. I will wander the land and bat at three for any pitiful group in need of a calm, undemonstrative, yet domineering top order player with an extraordinary eye.

I look down at my handsome physique. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. But clothes hide a multitude of sins and I am aware that I am not quite in optimum condition. This will not do.

I immediately launch into my tried-and-tested regime. I essay twenty to thirty mad gambols followed by a series of naked frisks. Once complete, I am ready for action.

Next instalment from Laurence Elderbook

More Laurence Elderbrook


Laurence Elderbrook imparts some wisdom

As the overseas professional (unpaid), my influence extends beyond the field of play. I am proud that I have brought a little something to my Australian club beyond my stellar on-field contributions.

I am not just the most important player at the club. I am a role model and mentor as well. I feel that the under-11s team could have benefited more from my expertise, but the youth team coach is infuriatingly closed-minded when it comes to my philosophy of liberated batting.

His loss, but unfortunately theirs too. Offers of private one-on-one tutelage have been firmly rebuffed by several of his brainwashed charges as well. More’s the pity.

But other than that, I have been a shot in the arm for this club. I have revolutionised their ways. As a measure of how far they’ve come, they used to have just the one bottle of gin behind the bar at any one time. Now they keep seven.

Feeling that my work here was all but done, I accepted the offer to sit out the last dozen or so matches of the season to allow some of my protegés a chance. I opt to assess their performance from the clubhouse, still resplendent in my cream flannels and looking immaculate, gin in hand.

In the last match of the season, one of our bowlers is ruled to have delivered a no-ball. As I rain blows down upon the umpire, I wonder whether the message is really going in. I take the only option available to a man in this situation. I throw back my head and let fly a huge, bestial roar.

Another valuable lesson imparted, I stride back from whence I came, pausing only to vomit onto the parched grass with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few. The players are dumbstruck. They admire my restraint. They admire me.

More Laurence Elderbrook


Laurence Elderbrook gives a lesson in opening the batting

My memory of last night is a tad hazy. My knuckles are wrapped in bandaging and I think I must have thumped a table in delight when the captain announced that I was to open the batting today. For his part, the captain is missing this match after some sort of accident incapacitated him.

I compose myself in front of the mirror. Resplendent in my cream flannels, I look immaculate. I look the part.

Striding out to the middle, I quickly gauge the conditions and size up the opposition. Having watched the opening bowler deliver a couple of warm-up deliveries to a teammate, I can tell from his action that the first ball will be full and straight.

As the ball is released, I get into position and the ball strikes me in the chest. Perhaps I should have been even further forward. Clearly my movements are being impeded.

I disrobe.

The stand-in captain suddenly feels that I have already blunted the new ball and therefore asks several people to escort me to the dressing room.

I disagree with his assessment and take the only option available to me. I throw back my head, let fly a huge, bestial roar and slip from the men’s grasp.

I evade everyone for 10 or 15 minutes, but eventually I trip and am carried from the field by four men who take a limb each.

The under-11s team practising in the nets adjacent to the ground survey the scene solemnly. They admire my restraint in not admonishing the four men for their impertinence. They admire me. They recognise a great man possessed of the serene dignity afforded to only the very few.

More Laurence Elderbrook


Laurence Elderbrook: all-rounder

Since being in Australia, I have once again been working on my bowling. A prodigiously gifted spinner in my youth, I shamefully neglected my art being as batting was my stronger suit.

However, the hard pitches here lend themselves to my wizardry and it pleases me to see batsmen perplexed by my variations.

Midway through the opposition innings, a partnership has developed. The captain has been trying to encourage some of his younger bowlers, but this is a man’s work.

Handing the umpire my cap, I smooth down my cream flannels. I look immaculate. I take the ball and eye the batsman. I have been analysing his game from my vantage point at deep square leg and I have identified several weaknesses. Now I will exploit them.

I take a couple of paces and deliver the ball, spinning it ferociously. It will pitch, beat the bat and strike the stumps. I can already see it in my mind’s eye.

But I have misread the pitch. Clearly it is much slower than I thought. The batsman leans back and cuts the ball for four. I let fly a huge, bestial roar. The game is on.

A bowler’s duel with the batsman is a chesslike game of cat and mouse and whoever blinks first gets to roll the dice.

I deduce that the quicker ball is what is needed here. I may be a spinner, but I have an arm like a runaway locomotive. I narrow my eyes and execute my plan.

It is a peach of a delivery and onto the batsman in a flash. His reflexes are too slow and the ball strikes him in the face, bringing forth a crimson gush of blood. I may not have his wicket, but I have his number now.

Criminally, the umpire rules it a no-ball and asks that I be removed from the attack on the grounds that I overstepped by 20 yards.

I kick the stumps at him and exit the field of play with the serene dignity afforded to only the very few. I feel I am a role model for the younger players, who, to a man, admire my restraint. Without question, they admire me and want to be me.

More Laurence Elderbrook


Older posts

© 2017 King Cricket

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑