Under-11s match report

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Bert writes:

While the opening weeks of the 2012 County Championship season have brought continued glory for champions Lancashire, in the Ted’s Roofing (All your roofing needs met, by Ted) Mid-North Cestrian Third Division Championship League West, Old Filchonians Under 11s have made a somewhat less impressive start.

Bert Junior was an U9 player last season; this season he is in the U11s. And that is very, very different. Hard balls, pads, gloves, helmets, and what Bert’s younger brother Ernie likes to call a Willy-Saver, plus actually being out when you are out – all combine to create a genuine step up in difficulty. Add in the fact that some of the bowlers have been playing at this level for a year, and the fact that some of the opposition had beards (and one drove the team minibus to the ground), and you can see the extent of the challenge facing the young man.

Bert opened the batting and was the eighth wicket to fall, only four runs short of being top scorer.

I can tell you’re all impressed. Sadly however, the rest of this match report does to that statement what Madagascan Toilet Weevils do to a beautiful mahogany loo – eat away at it till only the shit remains.

Bert started at the non-striker’s end. After the match I explained to him the advantages of non-striking, about how it was the duty of every good batsman to get to the non-striker’s end at the first opportunity. And stay there. Especially against bowlers whose first ball is a head-height beamer and whose second ball sends middle stump cart-wheeling over the boundary. 1 for 1 after two balls – not the best start, but a fabulous position compared to the 1 for 3 we were by the end of the over.

But now it was Bert’s turn to face. The bowler turned at the end of his run up, still too far away for Bert to actually see him. As the thunderous roar of his footsteps grew louder, Bert stood, small, motionless, peering over the top of his pads, bat held tightly, helmet hiding whatever expression was set on his face. As it turned out, the expression was probably boredom. The ball thudded into Bert’s pads, plumb in front, but no umpire in the world is going to give a little lad out on debut with the score 1 for 3. Especially not if the umpire is the Filchonians’ coach.

The rest of the over progressed along similar lines. Some hit the bat, some hit the pads, but all didn’t hit the stumps. By the end, with the score still on 1 for 3, Bert was something of a hero among the crowd. Steadying the ship, they said. Something of Boycott about him, they said (I had words). Just what we need at a time like this, they said. When he was out for nought ten overs later, ‘score some bloody runs’ is what they were saying. You just can’t please some people.

But Bert didn’t care. The smile on his face when he took his helmet off would have left even a Yorkshireman with nothing grumpy to say. He had gone into battle and had returned in triumph. Unlike almost all of his more experienced teammates, he’d batted for more than one over. And to top it all, with the opposition needing only 12 to win there was every prospect of an early lunch.

“Cricket’s brilliant, Dad”, he said, and I couldn’t help but agree.


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  1. The boy’s got a future. Not sure what kind, or if cricket plays a part in it, but dammit, he’s got a future. This much I know.

    1. Yes, I am afraid I was withholding information. I don’t know how to break it to y’all, but Bert Jr. is….well will be….well what I mean is that everyone chooses a path, and we should let them walk on it and what not. You know, he could’ve done worse. He could be snorting coke in Thailand touching himself while a nubile young one asphyxiates him. Or something worse than that. Well, my point is, shit happens. We should make peace with decisions or something like that. Buddhists say that. Or someone else. Don’t really know.

      Yeah, well, at any rate, little Bert Jr. is destined to become the future IPL commissioner. Sorry you had to learn it this way.

  2. The worrying thing is that it’s actually not that hard to believe that the IPL would appoint a 13-year-old commissioner.

  3. Didn’t we have a rule here of match reports not mentioning any of the cricket?

    A good tale nonetheless. Maybe we should have another category here for such reports…

  4. Reminds me of my first ever game. I opened as the non-striker, too, and we were 0-2 after three balls.

    1. I once came in at number 11 in a college cricket match (I was playing as a specialist third-man fielder), and was told by the “recognised batsman” at the other end that I should block everything, run when I was told to, and let him worry about scoring.

      When he was finally out lbw thirteen overs later, we had advanced our team’s score by a magnificent five wides (a rank leg side ball which the opposition’s keeper and slips refused to chase and the bowler had to retrieve himself).

      I believe my heroic 0* from 39 balls is still fondly remembered today by those who were there.

      The five extra runs our partnership added neatly cancelled out the five penalty runs we later conceded in the field when the ball knocked over our wicketkeeper’s pint.

  5. For a very brief time, that report made me want to have a son.

    When I say brief, I mean 2 seconds.

    1. Just be careful, Dan. There’s no guarantees with that sort of thing you know. Last season I was sat in the evening sunshine with another dad, watching the lads play cricket, beer in hand, when a mate of this other dad who lived locally turned up and sat with us.

      Dad 2: Hey, pull up a chair, grab a beer.
      Mate: This is great
      Dad 2: Yeh, isn’t it.
      Me: Have you got kids?
      Mate: Yep, two daughters.
      Me: Cool. What sort of thing are they into?
      Mate: Ballet.


      Dad 2: That must be quite good, though – watching them doing their… ballet.
      Mate: Mmm, yes. Yes it is.


      Mate: Yes, it’s really good.


      Mate: Really good, very… nice.




    2. Not since the passing of Harold Pinter has pithy dialogue and pauses been used to such effect, Bert. Well done.

      Also very commendable is your article itself, although I think health and safety should go mad at several aspects of the situation you describe. Bearded men bowling bouncers at nippers? It would never have happened in my day. Those men would have been made to shave for a start.

    3. Wise words bert. Price and I have a friend ‘the so called will’ who has two children. His first a daughter, his second a son.

      Now I’m not suggesting that he’s been far more excited about the prospects of having a son over a daughter. But he has called his son Jonty.

    4. Don’t get me wrong, Dan – I’ve nothing against daughters per se, as my father-in-law would testify. It’s the activities that a disproportionate number of daughters tend towards that is the problem. Get your mate Will to take his daughter down to the local cricket club. They’d be delighted to see her.

  6. Great report Bert and very heart warming! Pleased that cricket has gained another acolyte.

    Especially pleased however that he clearly hasn’t succumbed to the wiles of 20/20 and the unnecessary scoring rates that go with it…

    1. I love the way that article links the collapse of his entire fraudulent empire with the failure of his English T20 cricket plans.

      English domestic T20 cricket is big business by domestic cricket standards but not by multi-billion dollar Ponzo scheme standards.

      “After” does not mean “directly caused by” but the juxtaposition does infer it.

      “After the dismissal of Bert Junior in a gritty but ultimately runless innings, Greece and Egypt descended into post election chaos.”

      See what I mean.

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