‘I think they’re hostile at the best of times.’
The cricketing news of the week is that Symonds has retired. No, not the troubled lump of Queensland all-rounder, but my venerable Symonds cricket bag.
Having successfully warded off challenges to its position in car boots over 20 years [Chrysler Sigma (1989-92), Mazda 1300 (1992-93), Mazda 323 (1993-96), Nissan Pulsar (1997-2007), and Mitsubishi Lancer (2007-present)], it has declared that Uni of NSW 5th Grade’s Australia Day weekend clash with Penrith was its last.
While the bag has been carrying niggling injuries (torn side zip, surface dirt, misshapen plastic bottom) for the past decade, it is believed that the mid-season announcement was prompted by a tap on the shoulder from the Chairman of Selectors, i.e. the Beloved Wife.
Seeking an appropriate birthday present, she became perhaps the first American woman in history to drive solo (and un-asked) to Kingsgrove Sports.
There she picked up a gleaming new Woodworm kitbag complete with back-friendly wheels, a separate boot storage pocket and an insulated lunch compartment. After a short discussion, we agreed that the new bag should be used, rather than exchanged, and that therefore the old kit would be retired. (It was, after all, the most thoughtful birthday present in history.)
It is difficult to describe the feelings this decision engendered, so in lieu of words such as “emotional”, “nostalgic” and “torn up”, I present the following statistical tribute:
Description: Symonds cricket bag
Colour: Light grey with green markings
Distinguishing Features: Symonds brand
Rhinoceros logo (cf. Symonds’ “Tusker” bat from the ’80s used by early-period M Taylor, S Waugh and, sigh, G Matthews) The inspiring words “Aussie Cricket”
Career span: c. 1989- 2009
Matches attended: 150+
Runs supervised: Not enough (bag cannot be blamed)
Final inventory of bag:
1 x bat (Laver & Wood Heritage, white grip, UNSW markings)
1 set pads (Adam Gilchrist model. Stuffing coming out after one season. Previous Dean Jones set lasted 17 years – longer than Dean Jones)
2 x thigh pads (one left thigh, one right thigh. Never seem to be where ball hits, but keep wearing them)
1 x box (have son, so gets pass mark)
3 sets gloves, mixed brands (all LH)
3 sets inner gloves (still hoping to use in one innings)
2 spare bat grips (in case develop Vinod Kambli-style grip obsession)
2 x boot bags (one a fake Fendi shoe bag taken from wife to hold boots; the other functions as team valuables bag)
1 x pair boots
1 x sprig adjuster
1 x bottle sunscreen (leaking)
New balls x 2 (in case pursue the outright)
Practice balls x 10 (for pre-game catching and throwdowns)
1 roll yellow electrical tape (to tape leaking pads)
1 x plastic drink bottle (found in dressing room in ‘90s, never used. Now ringed with bottom-of-bag residue)
1 x club contact list (to chase late players on Saturday mornings)
1 x pen, 1 x pencil (emergencies for scoring)
Spare 2008-09 fixture cards (rapidly eroding in value)
Matt Edwards’ 2007-08 rego form (must forward to club secretary asap)
2005-06 Playing Conditions (those were the days!)
$13.20 in change (my source of cash for parking meters and other emergencies for 20 years. Has retained its value despite global crisis)
Symonds “Aussie Cricket” kit, I salute you. You have served me well.