Australian cricketer Steve Smith just want to get back to doing what he does best after returning to training with the NSW Blues.
The victorious side in a game of cricket is usually the one that executes its plans best. Occasionally something weird happens, these days that seems to be Ben Stokes, but most of the time cricket is a game of plans and execution.
My plan was to get a good sleep, get to Pratten Park nice and early and settle in for a day of sunshine, cricket and a win for Western Suburbs in a one-day match against Sydney Uni. As it turned out, I woke with a hell of a hangover and a mouth that was a mix of unpleasant flavours.
I arrived with a friend at the ground after about an hour’s play, sixteen overs down, armed with an energy drink, a notepad and a peach ice tea. Sydney Uni were going along well enough at 2-54. Opening bat George, who would go on to score 60, was on 34 and working the strike well to keep the score ticking nicely.
Western Suburb’s Tudehope did the damage early on and after eight overs he had figures of 2-22, finishing with 2-32. Not quick by any means, the keeper stood up for him, but he bowled a good length and tight line and was the pick of Western’s bowlers.
He also took a great catch from a ball that went very high in the air. Falling over as he caught it, he looked back up in the air as he was mobbed as if to say he couldn’t believe he held on to it.
George took advantage of the easy singles on offer as Western made too many little mistakes in the field, but number four, and Sydney Uni captain, Robertson was the highlight of the innings. He set the tone with a streaky shot for four through cover-point that a more energetic leap may have turned into a catch.
Roberston took to leg spinner, and Thunder regular, Jonno Cook with relish, lashing several big sixes down the ground to the Kmart end. He would hit five sixes, top scoring with 89 as Sydney Uni made 265 on a flat deck. The total might have been larger but for a flurry of late wickets, including a brilliant pick up and throw run out from Western’s skipper, J Clarke.
George’s dismissal was the most disappointing, stumped off the bowling of Clarke, he charged and wildly swiped across the line, bring to an end a partnership of 96. This elicited some incredulous laughter and comments from the small but highly engaged crowd. Perhaps he was looking to join Robertson in acceleration, but he missed a brilliant opportunity to just rotate the strike and push his side up to the 300 mark.
It was Robertson’s dismissal, caught at long on off the bowling of Quincy Titterton, that sparked the late collapse and restricted Uni. Titterton was a particularly welcome addition to the day; a good action and decent pace he finished with middling figures of 1-53 from his ten, but his energy, enthusiasm and absolute dedication to his team marked him out as my Player of the Match.
We were seated behind his fielding position and applauded him warmly after his wicket-taking over. Eager to engage Titters had a chuckle and said, in his high pitched tone, “it’s so flat!”
Vocal and supportive, he was always in the game, more importantly you could tell he wanted to be. Charging after balls that were always either going to another fielder or the boundary, you could see by his demeanour how much he cared about playing cricket; in particular, playing cricket for Western Suburbs.
The last ball Titters bowled was hit for a big six over long on by T Cummins. It took about three minutes for the ball to be found, in which time Titters had little choice but to wander round aimlessly with his head hanging low, looking slightly lost and uncertain of where he was or where he was going. After about two minutes he yelled out, very loudly, “f**k!”
But he didn’t let this effect his engagement with the game, we clapped again for a day well bowled and he thanked us warmly. He was the highlight, we wanted him to be a part of every ball.
At one point he chased a ball, always going for a four, down to a very, very fine third man. He dived and slid over the boundary as the ball slowly trickled out under the gate. This kind of summed up Western’s day, a lot of heart, some great comedy, but not really good enough against a better side.
Titters got a catch too, a well taken effort at long on from the bowling of Cook, who would end with 3-59 from nine overs. He very funnily yelled “f**k” again when whipping a throw in from the boundary. He proved a perfect hangover cure. After the last ball of the innings was bowled, Titters turned us, “thanks for the support, guys!” And ran off to the pavilion at tea.
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This past season I not only got to get some runs at the back end of innings. But I proved I can hold a stick in a first grade environment. By not thinking so much about areas of the game that were out of my control, managed to help me enjoy my game a lot more. Finally being comfortable with my gear was a big help aswell thanks too @vulcancricket #vulcancricket #bowlingallrounder???? #cricketseason
We went to a nearby cafe and grabbed a much needed coffee and bacon and egg roll and returned to the ground just as Western began their innings. This time venturing from our shaded enclave to embrace the sun basking the stands below the pavilion.
We didn’t stay long, as my friend had to leave and it was his car, but we caught the first twelve overs. Western were 3-33 when we left and would be dismissed for 151; Titterton, the embodiment of all things Grade Cricket, scored 4.
A Saturday in the park watching some good cricket is a great day. You get some comedy, the old blokes telling stories that you can hear from across the ground, you get enthused and determined cricketers who would love to see a few more faces around the park.
So next time you need a Saturday morning recovery, get out of bed, get down to the park, and spend some time in the sun with a bacon roll and blokes like Quincy Titterton. It doesn’t even matter if things don’t go quite to plan.