• The Specialist Fielder

7 Signs You Are Playing Village Cricket

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Village cricket is similar to my ex-wife. It was once the love of my life, it is now my arch-nemesis. Fortunately, village cricket hasn’t taken the kids as well.

I will be alerting you to the 7 signs that you are playing in a village cricket team through my personal experiences!

1. Availability Problems

At the start of the cricket season it looked great. Some fresh new faces and some old ones returning. A young lad coming up through the youth ranks who was ready for senior cricket and former first-team star Barry, wanted an excuse to get away from the wife and kids due to marital issues.

Oh how this changes when the season starts. The 1st XI begin the trickle down effect when they have drop outs and player availability collapses worse than our middle order.

The young lad doesn’t like it when the captain bats him at 8 and doesn’t let him bowl- he’s stopped making himself available. Unlike me, Barry patches things up with his wife so he holidays at the same seaside town every other weekend with the family, or so he tells us.

2 . Unreliable Self-Umpiring

“Sorry lads, I would umpire but I’m scoring with Barbara”, “Piss off John” I mumble under my breath in return as I walk out to the middle where I’m faced with many a lose-lose decision. You are definitely playing in a village cricket team if you are umpiring your own matches.

The captain’s on strike, it hits his pad. Pitching in-line? Yes. Hitting in-line? Yes. Will the umpire give it out? No! Why would a player give his captain out, especially when your team is bowling in the second innings and you have been working on your latest pie to dish up to the batsman.

The only time this is worse, is when you have a qualified umpire amongst your ranks. They are not only likely to trigger you, they will smile and visibly enjoy giving you out. Watch out. See the perfect example below.

3. Hungover Players

They’ve looked at the forecast the day before and they’ve played the rain card. Even the group chat the day before suggests it’s probably not going to be on.

Fast forward 24 hours and 8 pints later they’ve rocked up to the ground looking worse than Monty Panesar’s forward defence. They try to disguise it at first but the skipper has a nose for these things and he knows who has previous. Being hungover whilst playing cricket is village.

4. The Cricket Teas Will Be A Highlight of The Day

Only in village cricket, can sandwiches, scotched eggs, and slightly above average snacks make the day come together.

Maybe it's because it's a time of reflection, and a break from the sport that is causing so much pain and agony. I'm 45 years of age. I bat 8, I don't bowl, I pay £10 subs to stand in a field all day with people I don't like. That sinking realisation can only be soothed by my mother's fantastic teas.

5. Your Team Will Have A Questionable Dress Sense

The elders in the team will rock the three quarter length trouser and polo shirt combo to show they mean business. Younger players will be wearing outdated representative cricket stash to try and gain the upper-hand in the psychological warfare within the team.

There will be a few lads who have forgotten their hats, and half the team's whites will still be dirty from the week before. It is not uncommon for the wicket keeper to wear a short-sleeve shirt despite it being unpractical.

The stand-in player from someone's work will misjudge the occasion all together and wear a buttoned-up white shirt. Oh well, thanks for turning up mate.

6. The Wickets You Play On Will Be Poor

The wickets and outfield you play on will be described as poor at best. "At least it's not an AstroTurf wicket this week" says Malcolm, optimistically trying to raise morale despite the fact we've played on one Astro in the last 3 seasons.

At least an unreliable wicket provides a fantastic opportunity to blame something else other than yourself. My last 7 dismissals have all stayed low. What are the chances!

7. Your Team Will Have Terrible Chat

"Let's send those bails to Wales! More leaves than a tree! More misses than Henry the eighth!" I say to the fresh faced 13 year old batsman as the match become closer and I refrain from swearing.

Your Village Cricket Team will also have terrible chat. This is not something to be ashamed of, cricket is a tough endurance sport and it is hard to resist such temptations when entertainment can be rare.

If anything, you should be proud of your terrible chat. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, terrible chat can be described as overly sarcastic, unfunny and most importantly unnecessary. The jokes and digs that take place throughout the days play are essential to winding up a batsman. If you can get a nibble from the batsman, you've hit the jackpot.

Well, unless he goes on to score a ton and you end up getting hit into the car park but I'm sure I'll bowl better in next year's charity game!

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Does your cricket team fit the criteria? Want to see who made it into my all time test XI? See the Blog HERE!

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