Sunday, February 20, 2011

THE cricket match.

Last time the cricket was scheduled the weather was too 'ordinary' for the players to take to the field.

An hour before the start today, there was a wild squall that came through, with hard rain blowing almost horizontally. But the meat was all defrosted, and the beer was on hand, so it was decided to gather at the field and see what happened. And the wind blew steadily, with occasional harder gusts, but the rain stayed away, and there was even some weak sunshine at one point, and the game went ahead.

I should explain that it is a fiercely competitive match, Flinders Island town dwellers against the ones who live on the farms, or in outlying villages. It all started 8 years ago, when the Island had a fire that burned for 10 days, and it is a fundraiser for the Volunteer Fire Service. Despite the unwelcoming weather there was quite a good turnout, and everyone bought delicious lamb chops, sausages or saveloys to put on the slices of white bread. I am always stumped as to what to do with the chop bone, as I finish my bread, but today there was a really well behaved whippet who came to my rescue.

The play was fun to watch, with enough happening out on the field to keep even the noncricket lovers happy. All ages were playing, from junior school boys, to retired men, but everyone gave their all, some even risking their beer.

The player of the day got a prize, as did some of the others, to encourage them to be back next year, but the Country boys won handsdown, so I am sure the others will be back next year to avenge that.

There were raffles going, and at the end, all the left over lamb was auctioned off. It had all been donated by some of the farmers, but having already been frozen, it had to be eaten without refreezing. So I hope the firemen got somewhere close to the target they were expecting to raise, despite the weather.

There were many laughs and jokes all day, but there was a serious side to the gathering as well. At half time they handed out 'service pins' to the volunteers, who had completed 5,10 or 15 years with the service, so acknowledging them publicly for what they do for the community. Thanks given with a laugh, and a joke, but wholeheartedly meant.

(For those of you who were not reading the blog last January, or who do not remember every word we write, I am re-inserting the explanation of the rules!)

"All the batsmen batted for a set number of overs, and the whole team had to bowl a certain number of balls. Then the number of times they would have gone out were deducted from their run total. Fielders were strategically placed to protect some of the parked cars, but the game had to stop occasionally so that the ball could be retrieved from the bushes, and the rest of the fielding side could have a little sit down while they searched."

As a cricket lover I had a wonderful day, knowing more and more of the islanders I chatted a lot while watching the play, although I did wish at times for an instant replay feature as I missed some of the action while talking, I will happily be back next year.

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