One of my favourite artists is Goya, and one of my favourite works of his is "Saturn Devouring His Son". Of course, this is a reference to the Greek myth of Kronos.
“What has all this got to do with cricket Walther, you crazy geezer?” I hear you ask.
You see Kronos devoured his son for fear of being supplanted by him, and Kronos is also held to be a personification of time. Both of these elements of the myth are relevant here. For time is against one side of the Staff/Student Cricket contest, and sickeningly on the side of the other. The other element of the myth involves our metaphoric cricket sons (for what is the coach’s role but a cranky and ineffective father figure) supplanting us in the arena of cricket. Hence, we must devour them – in our case, humbling them on the cricket field.
Our campaign to do this very thing began with us assuming our prerogative and choosing whether to bat or bowl first – we chose batting.
Dave Hinze and I opened, and withstood some withering pace from Kai and Goldie. Our running between wickets was about as swift as treacle running of a spoon in Mawson’s Hut. We compensated for this by interposing our considerable bulks between the fielders and the wickets, casting a pall over the stumps, as well as the long tradition of the game itself. We were soon bowled after putting on some runs, and then the dangerman of Brad Cates was also dismissed in a like manner, with Stu Proctor following soon after. The students by this stage had a sniff of a rout as profound as the Italian army’s at Corporetto.
They counted not on our engine room. Troy Zernicke was one half of the Araldite, with Damien Healy and Gappies, Mitch and Liam, providing the other. Andrew Halloran was the corroded nail that mixed them together.
In the end we put on an intimidating 156 off our 26 overs, with Troy Z remaining not out with 40 something.
At this stage our jackboot was on the throat of the students, metaphorically enacting the fantasy of many a teacher – although not at Somerset. We unleashed our opening four bowlers like the blasts of the dark side of the Force from the Emperor in Return of the Jedi. Brad Cates was fearsome, and Ross Keefer, Michael Bray and Damien Healy gave little away. Ross’ over-the-shoulder catch to dismiss the dangerous Goldie was perhaps a game-changer.
We continued applying the pressure by drawing on our Gappies. Their excellent bowling more than made up for our resentment of their youth. Stuart also bowled well and the rest of our bowlers acquitted themselves well. Jack Cerutti owes a debt to the game of cricket by allowing me to temporarily think I can bowl when he charged the only ball I’ve ever turned in my life to be stumped.
Michael Guy stabilised a teetering student order, but after a few more wickets, the staff were chirping. That chirping soon resembled a canary’s in a particularly methane-rich coalmine when James Guy turned the tide. His batting, ably assisted by Will Lynch, was a thing to watch – in terms of pluck and beauty.
In the end, it was not enough, and the teachers won the day, adding their name to the trophy that now marks the tenth year of this contest. I certainly felt it when I had to be helped up from my knee after holding it for the team photo.
I look forward to this day – the students are great young fellows to be around and play the game in the right spirit, and we all enjoyed out friendly banter. This surely is a microcosmic representation of the strengths of these relationships at the College. Similarly, the camaraderie I feel with my fellow staff is worth sacrificing my dwindling stocks of cartilage.
Thanks go to Mr Bassingthwaighte for his continued patronage of this event, as well as Mr Attoe and Mr Own, who umpired (with varying degrees of competence – just ask Ross Keefer).
Bring on the Ashes – a secondary event, to be sure, but cricket is cricket, eh?
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