Match report of garden cricket at the Frangipani Tree near Galle

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Ged writes:

On arrival at the Frangipani Tree, we couldn’t help but notice the cricket bats and stumps mixed in with tennis equipment and swimming gear. “Oh yes”, we are told, “the staff are always up for a late afternoon game of cricket if any of the guests request it”. “Where do they play?” asked Daisy. “Over there.” A vague wave of the hand indicated the direction of the tennis court and several villas.

The next day was the start of the World Cup. We requested a game of garden cricket and the staff seemed delighted. There was another English family around and they expected that the young man of that family, Chris, would also be up for a game. He was. “Do you play?” I asked him. “A bit,” he said, which turned out to mean, “a hell of a bit more than you, Ged Ladd”.

The field of play was a little unusual. One side of the tennis court was basically the pitch. You could only score in front of the wicket. A villa provided significant fielding cover from square leg through midwicket and you were allowed only one run if the ball failed to clear that villa, six if you cleared it.

Frangipani cricket

Clearing the villa required a near-perfect combination of direction, upward trajectory and some power. The straight “V” was relatively normal, apart from the tree hazards, with the swimming pool making a very natural boundary. Apart from the net of the tennis court, the off-side was pretty hazard-free, with the perimeter wall of the resort designating the boundary.

The playing conditions were also a little unusual. Five players a side. Eight overs per team. Eight8, I’m thinking of calling it. It’s a terrific marketing idea, because it eliminates those rather dull, formulaic overs between over 4 and over 17 that seem to me to be blighting conventional cricket these days.

Chris and I opened the batting for our team with a respectable stand of 40-odd, of which I contributed about 15. The pitch had tennis-ball bounce, which makes sense really, considering that the pitch was a tennis court and the ball was a tennis ball.

It did make it possible for me to time and place my shots for once in my life. I mostly placed them in the direction of Daisy, who was playing for the oppo (once she put her camera down), as you needed to go aerial to avoid the hazards but also needed to avoid getting caught.

Our team managed 89-3 in our eight overs, which seemed like plenty until the oppo’s secret weapon, a big left-handed waiter named Sanjay, demonstrated the use of an asymmetric field designed to force off-side shots for right-handers but which allowed full-heaves to leg for the left-hander. Daisy scored a run off my bowling, which I’m still hearing about.


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  1. Most cricket should be played in this vain. Home ground advantage isn’t what it used to be.

  2. Superb, Ged.

    Can I ask – do you have a book coming out? One of those comedy books based on an unusual and somewhat pointless premise, like that fridge one? It’s just that you seem to have played cricket against the staff of at least thirty hotels. “Around The World In Eighty Cricket Matches Against Hotel Staff Teams On Somewhat Less Than Ideal Pitches That Require A Series Of Special Local Rules With My Wife”, or something pithy like that. If you do, can I have the first copy, signed by the author’s wife, please?

    1. Yes, Bert, I do as it happens have a book coming out IRL. In October. Coincidentally, I’m meeting the publisher’s PR wonk tomorrow.

      Sadly, it is not quite the sort of book you are after. More a serious thing about real commerce, wicked problems, better decisions, the price of fish and that sort of malarky.

      Daisy and I aren’t married but we have been together for nearly 19 years which is a better longevity return than most marriages these days.

      Still, Daisy could probably be persuaded to sign the odd copy or two of the new tome.

    2. I can’t see you selling many copies of a book called “Around The World In Eighty Cricket Matches Against Hotel Staff Teams On Somewhat Less Than Ideal Pitches That Require A Series Of Special Local Rules With My Significant Other”. It’s just too long an unwieldy.

      Best of luck with your real book, though.

  3. Outrageous, blatant mentioning of the cricket going on here KC. He even mentions the score. Are editorial standards slipping, or have you changed the rules?

    1. Good point well made.

      It is obviously the standards of readership that are going downhill fast.

      I profoundly apologise.

  4. I see Ged also complied with the Rules of Cricket requiring that players wear ‘shoes that are predominantly white in colour’.
    We did get ourselves in a spot of bother one year when our opening bat came straight from work and had to pad up in his steel cap work boots. They were not ‘predominantly white’, but in fact all black.
    Fortunately this did not bother the opposition, especially since the man at square leg was beer-in-hand.

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