- Nowadays the old knees aren't what they were and I restrict my cricketing appearances to few and far between. But in the past I played for and ran a local league side . Surprisingly we won far more than we lost, I say surprisingly because our main raisons d'etre were
- a) to enjoy ourselves,
- b)to give every one a chance to do something regardless of ability,
- c) to talk about it in the pub afterwards and
- d) try and win.
Unfortunately after several seasons the club eventually died a death due to dwindling numbers attending the pub after matches. But out of the blue the name is to be revived. Following a conversation on twitter ( concerning attempts to Save Benno from his sacking as skipper of his village 2nd XI ) another tweeter, Dan Slee was so enamoured by the name that a "New Jiminy Cricket Club" has been formed in the Walsall area and hope to play their first fixture soon . They have kindly appointed me Honorary (regrettably I think that bit means I don't get paid) Fielding Coach, which I humbly and gratefully accept (the fact I know not who they are or where to find them is just a minor inconvenience to overcome).
It is in this capacity that I offer the following recollections from Jiminy's previous incarnation as two examples of Dos and Don'ts when fielding. Both took place in Hoglands Park, which for those that don't know Southampton is a large park right in the city centre, split into quarters by 2 much used diagonal paths, with cricket pitches taking up 3 of the 4 quarters. With benches lining the paths and much pedestrian "through traffic" matches played here tended to gain a bigger audience than elswhere.
So, especially for my new protogees, 2 Dos and Don'ts of Fielding
DO STAY COOL AT ALL TIMES.
John (who mus have been in his late 50s at the time) was fielding at Long On (to non cricketers that's almost directly behind the bowler right back as far as you can be on the boundary). The batsman smashed a ball straight back high over the bowler's head towards John. With a cry of "catch it!" all heads turned towards John, only to see him chatting to a passer by who was sat on one of the aforementioned benches. The other fielders stood shoulders slumped, all assuming that this was going for six. But we were forgetting John's 40 odd years of experience. He calmly put his roll-up that he was smoking behind his left ear, carefully placed the can of beer he was drinking from onto the bench, took two paces forward, caught the guy out, hurled the ball back into the middle and carried on his conversation with the spectator as if nothing had happened.To this day, still the coolest thing I have witnessed, anytime, anywhere.
DON'T EVER PANIC
This one also took place at Hoglands Park, coincidently again with the fielder (this time Jarvo) fielding at Long On. Similarly to the previous example the batsman had smashed the ball straight back over the bowlers head. Now to be fair to Jarvo, positioned a couple of yards inside the boundary by the sight screen, it was one of those horrible ones to judge. Coming straight at him, the ball held up in the wind slightly and was one of those that leaves you in two minds, either to take a few strides forward and attempt a risky catch or take a few strides back and ensure you field the ball on the bounce thus preventing a certain boundary. Amazingly Jarvo, in a moment of sheer panic, found himself not in two minds, but three and opted for the third. With the ball dropping out of the sky towards him having been hit from 50-60 yards away Jarvo simply stood his ground and volleyed the ball back from whence it came. Again, to be fair to Jarvo, it was a damned good attempt, and actually was in with a decent chance of a surprise run out had the other ten fielders, two batsmen and two umpires not all simultaneously collapsed to the ground in laughter. Jarvo spent the rest of the game claiming it was exactly what he intended to do, whilst trying not to put any weight on his right foot. A quick after-match visit to A&E revealed two bruises, one to his foot and one to his ego. To this day I find myself laughing out loud and the thought of it, and feel the need to remind Jarvo of it every time we meet.
So remember New Jiminys, a bit more of John and a bit less of Jarvo, here endeth your first coaching session of the season.