Farewell, My Lovely (For Another Season).

The kerb outside ‘Gather on the Green’ was murmuring. I was in a club blazer, clean shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. All Camperdown was stumbling for a coffee under four bucks. Recent rain hadn’t cleaned it much, just smeared things around. It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in. Flat white, small, $3.50. I breathed it in while glancing over at the clubhouse. A few cricketers were mulling around their kitbags. The sky had puffy white clouds straight out of a postcard. The field looked about as green as a pub on St Pats. It was after midday, but there was just time. I took the scenic route past the pitch. Soft and fractured, with the upper layer just starting to peel away in places. The pitch was worth a stare. It was trouble.

Skipper Jim Hadley was out, a late scratching. Ian Robertson was nowhere. His five minutes away felt like a full half hour before he ran out to field later. By then Curtis Murray lost the toss and CCNSW was fielding.

Morely Goodchild took the new red pill. He was sweating out his third beer from last night on King Street, but holding up fine. The sun started burning a hole in the back of my neck. The ball was talking though, in soft whispers. The opener kissed one. Just a peck on the cheek, but enough for Murray to clutch at. Sometimes they stick, and this stuck in his right glove about two inches in front of Paul Nash’s nose. Nash hadn’t moved. At the other end, Scott Williams was keeping it full. Somehow the ball kept missing. Missing the bat, missing the sticks.

A few more early wickets with catches going to hand? That’s what I’d have liked. You and me have both lived too long to think it likely to happen. They should, but not in this competition, not in any club half our size, not in any part of this lazy, sleeping state of NSW. Things just don’t run that way. So it happened that when Murray called Soren Hughes in to replace Williams, there were a couple of return catches bouncing off his hands. Then Murray juggled one all the way to the grass off Ian Robertson. Nothing doing. No runs, no wickets.

Enter Craig Kitson. He shook up the game like a dirty martini. A flurry of boundaries and loopy no balls above the waist. One ball remaining and another full toss drew a miss-hit. The ball lazily floated back for a diving take. C&B Kitson. Drinks. I could have had a pleasant conversation with a dirty martini. 74/2.

Ian Robertson and Kitson struck twice straight after drinks. Leg before for Robertson. The batsman gestured wistfully. Such a lot of batsmen around town and so few brains. Then off Kitson a loopy hoick to mid-W. We thought it was no chance. Williams made it though. Probably the catch of the season, a magical one hander, after a long run from deep under the trees. Those two overs from Kitson were the game in the game.

More changes. Nash replacing Hughes and Mark Henwood replacing Ian Robertson. The Beavers innings stalled as 5 went down for not much. The pitch kept things low and slow. There were a few wild swings, and Nash picked up a few bowleds. I noticed the pitch had a nice slant to it. You could drop the ball outside off and it would drift in towards middle without much persuasion. I snuck a couple past the bat for a LB and a bowled. Tom Robertson came on for one over and took a C&B to close out the innings. 132 all out off 32.

We were confident. Couple o’ weeks ago we made 186 against this team. There is no trap as deadly as the trap you set for yourself. Complacency laughed around the team. Tom Robertson and Kitson went out to open. Robertson hit a few to deep square. Things were moving. Bang! Kitson LBW a full pace down the wicket. It was a trigger call. A decision to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window. Simon James got a start but chipped at one and was caught. Nash followed and was batting nicely. Then he played all around one. Bowled. Partnerships mean everything, and we were only getting them in miniature.  68/3.

Enter Williams for a quick fire innings. The scoring jumped. Timing, placement, and some brutal hitting. Beavers introduced the spinner. A tall, solid bowler with a jerky action. More runs. Then after hitting a glorious straight four, Williams popped back a catch. Tom Robertson and Len Volkov soon followed. 100/6. I knew one thing: as soon as anyone said it was going to be easy, it would be all hard work. Hughes and Murray started a partnership, slowly chipping away at the runs required. There were overs to spare, but it was playing low and slow. Scoring wasn’t easy. Murray played all round one trying to get some momentum. The spinner had 4.

I needed a drink, I needed life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was gloves and pads, a helmet and a bat. I put them on and went out to bat. On this pitch everything was keeping low and tracing into middle ‘n’ off. Solid defence. Hughes hit out against the spinner for a couple of boundaries. Patience, plenty of overs. Only 8 runs needed. Change of bowler. Hughes went for the big drive. Castled. Suddenly nerves were evident. A couple of crows had an argument in the trees down at cow. Goodchild flicked a couple of deliveries for runs fine. 4 needed. Fist punch between overs, we still had this.

A leg side delivery flicked my pad before trickling down leg. Hearty appeal. James is as honest as you can expect a man to be in a world where it’s going out of style. Not out. The bowler was thinking though. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to him. Bad call, he thought. Defence. Defence. Crack! One jagged back just above shin height. Bowled. Good batsman don’t get bowled. I felt as hollow and empty as the spaces between stars.

Still 4 needed. Plenty of overs. Thwack! Dead in front, Robertson LB! Grimaces on the sidelines. 129 all out off 28. Murray took a long pull on his vaper. Common sense is the guy who tells you that you ought to have had your brakes relined last week before you smashed a front end this week. Common sense is the Monday morning quarterback who could have won the ball game if he had been on the team. But he never is. He’s high up in the stands with a flask on his hip. I could’ve used a hip flask just then, but Covid-reduced hours weren’t even keeping me in bourbon. Close losses like this are heavier than broken hearts.

Garbo arrived and gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket. I eased out quietly without a proper farewell to the season. The French have a phrase for it. The bastards have a phrase for everything, and they are always right. To say goodbye is to die a little.

The Team was: – Tom Robertson 51, Craig Kitson 3, Simon James 6, Paul Nash 10, Scott Williams 17, Len Volkov 2, Soren Hughes 23, Curtis Murray (c) and (w) 6, Mark Henwood 0, Morley Goodchild 4*, Ian Robertson 0

The Result was:-

Lost to

Beavers CC: – 10- 132 (32 overs)


CCNSW: – 10-129 (T. Robertson 51) (28 overs)

By 3 runs

FoW: 1-18 (C. Kitson); 2-36 (S. James); 3-68 (P. Nash); 4-91 (S. Williams); 5-92 (T. Robertson); 6-100 (L. Volkov); 7-114 (C. Murray); 8-125 (S. Hughes); 9-129 (M. Henwood); 10-129 (I. Robertson);

The Bowling was: – M. Goodchild 5-0-16-1; S. Williams 4-2-4-0; S. Hughes 4-0-21-0; Ian Robertson 7-1-33-1, C. Kitson 2-0-25-2; P. Nash 5-0-16-3, M. Henwood 4-1-14-2, Tom Robertson 1-0-1-1

The Fielding was: –

Stumpings: Nil

Catches:  One to each of C. Kitson, C. Murray (w), T. Robertson and S. Williams

Run outs:  Nil

Player Points (awarded by captain): – Three points to P. Nash; Two points to T. Robertson; One point to S. Williams


CCNSW travelled to Auburn with high hopes of upsetting the competition title holders on their home turf.

The Masters brought in a couple of C&S stars for this final season fixture, Tom Robertson and Soren Hughes. Soren was making his debut for the club in the over forties grade. 

Captain Ian Allmey won the flip and elected to bat with a slight change in the batting order. Robertson was to open with Mike Weaver dropping down to number 4 in the batting list.

The outfield was slow compared to Camperdown Oval with the pitch not a ‘road’ but a decent enough track. There was some difference in the bounce that wasn’t quite so similar to what the lads were used to when playing at home. 

Tom as usual wasting no time in going on the attack but went in the first over caught behind, He succumbed to a slash at a wide delivery on the penultimate delivery after a lofted drive at the third ball carried through the field for only two runs. Dan Turner and Ian Allmey settled down somewhat against buoyant, nagging bowling from Auburn, backed up by some sound ground fielding. Ian couldn’t really get going though and was bowled for 15 runs, trying to cart one over midwicket, to a ball that bounced a little oddly, considering where it pitched. Dan and Mike Weaver started confidently together knocking some singles and twos around to break up the accurate bowling. 

Calamity then struck with Weaver suffering an emotional ‘roller coaster’ type dismissal. Trying to deal with a shorter length delivery, he mistimed a pull shot, skying the ball towards mid on. The bowler stood under the ball for what seemed a minute before dropping the chance. But Weaver was then easily run out after he’d ended up face to face with his batting partner at the non strikers end, while the ball was in the air. He showed great emotional maturity while leaving the field, electing after due consideration, not to throw his bat in disappointment. 

Dan seemed a little rattled by the dismissal as well, as shortly afterwards he lost concentration, and was bowled shouldering arms to the inswing of Auburn’s first change bowler, Barbon.  An erratic 4-35 was now the score in the 11th over. 

Harry Bridge and all rounder Brett James tried hard to stop the rot. Harry batted very solidly in his best performance of the season. Brett was timing the ball nicely until he was caught behind to a ball that seamed down leg side. 

Debutant Soren Hughes wasn’t able to get settled at all before suffering the negative of a very close decision for run out. Jono Shaw, Jose Poothokaren, and Andy Dadswell then were all knocked over lbw in quick succession by Barbon, who took 5 wickets in an inspiring, match winning spell of in-swingers for the home side. 

In a show of defiance, Harry Bridge smacked a nice six over deep midwicket and then a powerful lofted off drive for four in the same over. Going for another drive, he was bowled shortly afterwards, leaving Ben Stanic stranded on 5* and CCNSW all out for 101, in just 32 overs. 

Cricketers’ Club took the field knowing that there was something in the wicket for the bowling attack, which had been exceptional through most previous games.  Two quick wickets from some excellent new ball bowling by Brett James, inducing two lofted drives, had the opposition 2-12 off five overs. 

The Auburn batsmen did not look entirely comfortable for some time thereafter. But they were let off the hook considerably with CCNSW not accepting at least five catching opportunities and a run out chance, before the third wicket fell at 89 runs. A good piece of teamwork to affect a run out was made after a ball from James, in his second spell, was snicked through the slips’ region. 

To Cricketers’ Club’s credit, Auburn were made to work hard for the runs by all the bowlers used, passing the score three wickets down in the 29th over. The match left CCNSW disappointed but not downcast as the team, to a man, knows it can do better. It just wasn’t our day and congratulations to Auburn, too good again on the day, well played by them. 

The Team was (playing 12): – Tom Robertson 2, Ian Allmey (c) 15, Dan Turner 11, Mike Weaver (w) 4, Harry Bridge 40, Brett James 13, Soren Hughes 3, Jonathan Shaw 0, Jose Poothokaren 4 , Andrew Dadswell 0, Ben Stanic 5*, Luke Holman dnb

The Result was:-

C.C.N.S.W.: – 10-101 (H. Bridge 40) (32 overs)

Lost to

Auburn CC: – 3-103 (28.2 overs)

By 7 wickets

FoW: – 1-2 (T. Robertson); 2-26 (I. Allmey); 3-33 (M. Weaver); 4-35 (D. Turner); 5-63 (B. James); 6-72 (S. Hughes); 7-72 (J. Shaw); 8-78 (J. Poothokaren); 9-78 (A. Dadswell); 10-101 (H. Bridge).

The Bowling was: – B. James 6-0-20-2; B. Stanic 4-0-14-0; S. Hughes 5-0-19-0; A. Dadswell 5-0-13-0; J. Shaw 3-0-12-0 ; L. Holman 4.2-0-16-0; T. Robertson 1-0-6-0

The Fielding was: –

Stumpings: Nil

Catches:  One to A. Dadswell and one to T. Robertson

Run outs:  One to A. Dadswell

Player Points (awarded by umpire): – Three points to H. Bridge; Two points to B. James; One point to I. Allmey.

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