This blog post will read better if you have a basic understanding of the inner workings of the glorious game of cricket.
It will read even better if you have followed the England cricket team through the ups and downs of the last 40 years, as have I.
It will read even better still if you have a screw loose..............as have I.
Apologies to my friends on mainland Europe.
Readers from Australia and New Zealand need not comment.
Those of you who know us down here in Patouland will be aware that Gus is cricket mad and has a growing talent for the game. As his father and being even more cricket mad I see it as my fatherly duty to help him as much as I can.
So yesterday we loaded up the trailer (also doubles as a wicket keeper) with his cricket kit and headed off to the only flat strip of land for miles to get in some training. Gus had already mowed the strip and the stumps were in place. The wicket is in the field currently containing 9 weanling females. We were accompanied by our two keen fielders, Josh and Kira.
Due to the unpredictable bounce from a very bumpy track and the potential for the out of condition bowler to bowl the odd beamer, Gus was fully padded up and ready for anything. Josh was ready to chase anything that moved and Kira, thinking we were going for a walk in the woods, was very excited.
We began with some gentle throw downs and were then surprisingly joined by 9 fielders at mid-off. Despite my request that they spread out a bit they refused, they were all going to field at mid-off. Fine, a bit odd and slightly selfish but fine, better than nothing. I decided to try and bowl to the very strong off-side field.
After a short while in which they proved to be of no use at all they decided, en masse, to move across to the leg side and field at short mid-wicket. Odd, very odd. Most of the time they weren't even watching the ball. Not only that but when the ball did go towards them they split like a shoal of fish and watched it go through the middle of them before reforming in front of it. Useless, absolutely useless.
I was bowling for most of the time and trying to set a field was very frustrating.
Josh was no problem, he would hare after the ball from wherever he was and chase it down quickly. His throwing arm (leg) is no good though so he would have to run it back to me at the bowlers end each time. Except when he got tired and then he would drop the ball, lie down and give it a quick chew. Very shoddy behaviour. It wasn't going to take long for the ball to go out of shape.
Kira was even worse, she would amble after the ball, pick it up and drop it less than a second later before wandering off in search of some alpaca 'snacks'. Just less than a second was all it took for the ball to become completely encased in a sphere of Newfoundland slobber. I tried to put her out on the boundary at fine leg but she wouldn't go. No respect for the skipper at all.
However, the worst of them all was the one fielder that was basically made up of nine separate muppets who couldn't field for toffee and completely lost interest in the game. Eventually they wandered off and fielded at long on, where they started to eat the outfield. A short while later they abandoned the game and wandered through the open gate to the next paddock. Very bad form.
Just as well really as a few minutes later the bowler blew up as his bowling arm fell out of it's socket.