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Today a dirty-white shawl was cast across the sunless skies, so I scanned another batch of colour slides from my archives. These, featuring two afternoons of Oliver’s batting were from September 2008, in his second year of cricket.
The first set seems to have been from a junior match. My grandson takes his first strike with the scoreboard on nought. The next few photographs show the score mounting with the loss of one wicket. The series ends at 36 for 1. Could it be that his innings ended soon afterwards?
If so, he lasted much longer as the shadows lengthened on a splendid late Summer evening when my pride in his performance almost eclipsed any I experienced in my own. Only almost, mind you. The last photograph is of Michael, a non-cricketer, on whose innings I will not dwell.
This was the occasion on which Oliver played against my old club, Trinity (Battersea) – now (Oxley) in honour of Stan who was one of the founders – for which I played during the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. The match was at Sanderstead. Oliver bowled two tidy overs off which very few runs were scored. Later he took an astounding catch on the boundary, diving to his left, and scooping up the ball with fingertips very close to the ground. When it was the home team’s turn to bat. the lad surprised me by not taking the field with the other opener. He had decided he had damaged his arm too much to bat.
Not very much later, Sanderstead, chasing something around 190, had lost 6 wickets for a little more than 30. Out came the youngster pulling, on his gloves. He then set about his business.
As a fast bowler, myself, I always hated bowling at boys. I felt on a hiding to nothing because my opponent was bound to be good to be worth his place, but I always held something back for fear of doing damage. Today’s Trinity speed merchant had no such qualms. His did his furious utmost to dislodge Oliver, to no avail. When our hero was finally dismissed, he had scored 57 – coincidentally the highest score I ever made – and there were just three runs required. The last man saw to that.
I asked my son what had changed his son’s mind. The answer was that he had said “I’ve got to go and do it for Grandpa”. In the bar afterwards the Trinity players expressed their displeasure at me, stating that, given that I had been one of them, they should have had first claim on Oliver.
This evening, Jackie and I dined on a second helping of yesterday’s fish pie meal. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of The Cabernet Sauvignon. Elizabeth will fend for herself when she comes home later.