Slipping back to cricket

Joel Peterson | Bendigo Weekly | 01-Dec-2017


The pages of history are littered with triumphant comebacks, moments remembered for their against-all-odds outcomes.

In sport they have brilliant names: The Music City Miracle and the Greatest Comeback On Ice to name a couple.

In history, there’s Mandela, and they tell me some bloke with a cross was relatively important, too.

Conversely, there’s the Farnham. When there’s no reason for you to do it, but you grandly announce a return regardless.

My cricketing “comeback” is certainly more Whispering Jack than anything involving disciples.

It has been floating around in my head for a while now, having caught the bug of wanting to play again while watching games for work.

Not that I was a good cricketer by any stretch – my pace wouldn’t have worried a morbidly obese snail and I couldn’t even hit the ball attached to that bit of string tied around a tree branch in the back yard.

So I attended a training session at a local club, Bendigo United.

I picked the wrong week to go. Their A-grade side had just lost the opening match of the season and the warm-up – no, we haven’t even gotten past the warm-up  – was brutal.

Needless to say I was moving like an arthritic tortoise for the next week or so.

After a few weeks away from training due to “work commitments”, I got the call up. The thirds were short, and they needed a fill-in.

Day one got washed out, so we were set for a one-dayer on day two.

We lost the toss and got sent in on a slow pitch. Not good. I always hated batting. 

Luckily we had 12 players, meaning I wasn’t required with the willow.

As our fielding innings started, I found myself scoring for the first few overs. 

If you’re wondering why the BUCCs v Golden Square thirds game isn’t up on MyCricket properly, I’m pretty sure that’s my fault.

I picked up the scoring easily enough, but bolted for the field when given my chance after six overs. My first deployment came at the prestigious position of fine leg. 

I pottered around the field for a few overs before receiving the customary non-verbal signal to warm up to bowl. Yikes.

After a single off my first ball I tightened things up and miraculously only conceded just the one run off my first over, and two off the second.

I also managed to grasp one of the more nervous catches you’ll see and in an attempt to throw the ball up in celebration, threw it about 30 metres away in the wrong direction. Something to work on.

As we lined up for the post match handshakes, I realised what cricket is all about.

Sure, fun and friendship are important, but more so is asking your mum how to remove grass stains and repeatedly saying “good game, cheers” to 12 blokes you don’t know and may never see again yet shared this seminal, three-hour experience with.

Next on the list is to stumble out to the crease with the bat. I suspect then I’ll remember why I quit in the first place.


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