I was amongst the crowd at Emerald Headingley Stadium yesterday evening. Along with the other spectators, my mission, should I choose to accept it (which I did), was to witness the safe return of two T20 blast points by the Yorkshire Vikings cricket team.
Barring the Tykes path a dangerous nemesis who’d ventured north to the stadium, once graced by the likes of Verity, Wardle, Hutton, Illingworth, Boycott, Close and Vaughan, from the English midlands. The Birmingham Bears by moniker, yellow of shirt and royal blue of slack by attire.
The crowds mission at times fraught with danger. Vigilance required to avoid injury from ‘friendly fire’ inflicted by cricket balls powerfully despatched into the crowd by the Tykes batsmen Lyth, Williamson and Kohler-Cadmore.
Thankfully my childhood playground rule of ‘Six and Out’ wasn’t applicable in this white ball slog fest. Such a statute would have seriously hamstrung both teams batsmen, not to mention the spectators entertainment of the big hitting on show. Yorkshire’s score of 226 for 8 would certainly have been hard to achieve with a ‘Six and Out’ regulation in place.
For a score like that in 20 overs with that edict in place a freak incident would have to occur. A situation such as a delivery where the ball dropped into a batting pad, subsequently allowing the batsmen to complete 112 runs before opposition fielders were able to retrieve the ball.
Over many decades of watching and playing cricket, I’ve never seen anyone run 112 runs from one delivery and I’m pretty sure I never will. However, the comic vision of batsmen running multiple runs while opposition players desperately try to retrieve the ball from one of their batting pads tickled me. Consequently, I’ve left that silliness within the narrative.
If memory serves me correct, as kids my brother Ian once completed 43 runs off one ball during a game of cricket with me in the garden of our grandparent’s holiday bungalow. Our kid’s unlikely haul of runs a result of the ball he struck skyward lodging in the residences roof guttering. As I desperately sought means to elevate me high enough to retrieve the ball, Ian set off running between the wickets.
Eventually, after locating a set of step ladders, my dad picked the ball from the guttering. Much to my chagrin, though, my dad’s intervention was only after my younger brother had completed 43 runs.
I unsuccessfully argued that shouldn’t count as technically hitting the bungalow roof without bouncing was a six. Adding, you don’t see West Indian cricketer Gary Sobers keep running after smashing a trademark six out of the ground.
Our Ian effectively pointed out, though, that our childhood rules don’t mirror those of the professional game. Arguing there’s no ‘Six and Out’, having to shout “Wickets” when you’ve completed your run, or a patio chair as wicketkeeper in County Championship matches.
Accepting our kid’s erudite argument, his 43 runs remained in the mini scorebook we used to record the outcome of each delivery. Amazingly, his next shot landed in the mouth of a passing stork which flew off with the ball, giving my bro the opportunity to significantly add to the 43 he’d got with the previous delivery.
Fair does to the lad, though, he declined that opportunity. Instead, me and him made a note of ‘Stork Stopped Play’ in our scorebook and wandered off to find another tennis ball.
The yarn about the stork was clearly fictional – GJ Strachan’s usual literary flight into the ridiculous. That being said, perhaps I’ve inadvertently stumbled on other rule amendment required for ‘white ball’ cricket. An edict that rewards batsmen with 8 runs if they manage to strike a ball into the mouth of a passing stork……. Although, I’d venture the RSPB would have a few words to say about that, though!
Oh, I nearly forgot, Yorkshire safely brought home the 2 points after a 31 run victory……. Mission accomplished!!