The Rules Of Cricket


The Snifter

 

When I was at school in about year 10 or the 4th year of senior school as it was known in England, I remember we had an American guy who was our English teacher. Apart from all the girls having a thing for him, I recall that some of the tasks he set us did spark off the writer in me. One such task was that I had to do a speech on English sporting prowess,…. Okay I can hear all my Australian friends starting to chuckle already. The fact is that at that time we were not just a country famous for inventing lots of different sports that everyone else beats us at, we actually had a couple of world champions. My hero Barry Sheene was flying his No 7 proudly as the World 500cc Motorbike Champion and James Hunt was happily blowing his own trumpet as the Formula One World Champion. So needless to say they featured heavily in my speech, but I tried to inject some humour into proceedings too, particularly as I recalled a famous tea towel that is still available and in print today.

The tea towel was a list of some of the rules of cricket which go on about the in’s and out’s of the game. I decided to expand on this and write a little bit more into it. I remember I got an A- for the speech and a few chuckles from the class at the time of its delivery, so I was quite pleased with it.

Scroll forward to December 1984 and I had been posted to CYPRUS to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force upon qualifying as a radiographer. It was while I was there that I started the idea of writing my first novel and it was also the place where I re-hashed the rules of cricket for the Christmas show we put on for the troops. The re-hashed version went down pretty well with the squaddie audience, and then again some years later while based in Hannover doing a similar sort of show I dragged the rules of cricket out once again for what has now become my party piece. So while technically not my first published work in its original form, this does go all the way back to my school days and my earliest attempts at writing.

Scene setting – I usually wore as much white or cricket kit as possible and walked out in front of the stage curtains to allow the scenery to be changed behind for the next act. I would take a can of beer with me and having downed half of it in preparation, I’d then proceed to down the rest once centre stage and issue a loud belch to begin the act. When performing in front of an English based crowd I’d put on an Australian accent, but nowadays in Australia I use an English accent especially after the latest Ashes Series wins by England. Here below is the original sketch wot I wrote for an English audience at a time when Australia was literally knocking us for six at every turn.

Burp!, G’day ya Pommie bastards, how are ya?
Mark “Cricket” Dunfirmline’s the name, and teachin’ you buggers how to play the game of cricket is the aim.
Now I know you lot invented the game, but let’s face it the way England are playing at the moment they need all the help they can get, so I’ve popped up here from the land “downunder” to give you a few tips and pointers.

You start off with a slow delivery and gradually speed up as the sketch progresses;-

Cricket is a game played by two teams, one team IN and one team OUT.
Are you with me so far? …. Good, then I’ll continue.
Now the team that’s IN, has two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT,
The team that’s OUT has to get the team that’s IN that has two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT, OUT,
Every time one of the team that’s IN, that’s IN, becomes OUT, he’s replaced by one of the team that’s IN that’s OUT that hasn’t been IN and got OUT by the team that’s OUT yet.
This goes on until all the team that’s IN that’s got two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT have been IN and OUT, got OUT by the team that’s OUT, This is what we term the end of the first innings, and its where everyone IN the crowd, gets OUT of the crowd to get INTO the queues to get INTO the toilets to let OUT the booze they’ve been putting IN throughout the first innings.
Now I should also explain that there are two men IN charge of the game called the umpires who stand IN the middle of the IN-field with their hands IN their pockets and only ever pull their hands OUT of their pockets to indicate if you are IN or OUT or how many runs you’ve scored.
Now pay attention ‘cause this is where it gets a little bit complicated,
Once the crowd have got OUT the spirits they were putting IN throughout the first innings they get back INTO their position to watch the other team have their first innings,
This is where the team that was OUT becomes the team that’s IN and has two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT,
At the same time the team that was IN, that had two guys IN while the rest of the team were OUT now becomes the team that’s OUT and has to get the team that was OUT that’s now IN with two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT, OUT.
Consequently every time one of the team that was OUT that’s now IN, that has two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT is OUT, then one of the team that was OUT that’s now IN that hasn’t been IN and OUT got OUT by the team that was IN with two guys IN while the rest of the team were OUT that’s now OUT, comes IN to replace him.
This of course then goes on until all the team that was OUT, that’s now IN with two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT, have
been IN and OUT, got OUT by the team that was IN with two guys IN while the rest of the team were OUT, that’s now OUT.
Now once again at the end of this innings everyone IN the crowd comes OUT of the ground to go INTO the queues to get INTO the toilets to get OUT the booze they’ve been putting IN throughOUT the innings.

At this point I usually find someone in the audience to pick on and follow up with this line:Rules of Cricket

Now although I’ve taken it nice and slow there are still some of you who are looking a little confused, …. so to quickly recap, ….

The following recap is delivered at the fastest pace possible:

Cricket is a game played by two teams, one team IN and one team OUT. Now the team that’s IN, has two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT, the team that’s OUT has to get the team that’s IN that has two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT, OUT, every time one of the team that’s IN, that’s IN, becomes OUT, he’s replaced by one of the team that’s IN that’s OUT that hasn’t been IN and got OUT by the team that’s OUT, this goes on until all the team that’s IN that’s got two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT have been IN and OUT, got OUT by the team that’s OUT, this is what we term the end of the first innings, and its where everyone IN the crowd, gets OUT of the crowd to get INTO the queues to get INTO the toilets to get OUT the booze they’ve been putting IN throughOUT the first innings, there are two men IN charge of the game called the umpires who stand IN the middle of the IN-field with their hands IN their pockets and only ever pull their hands OUT of their pockets to say if you are IN or OUT or how many runs you’ve scored, once the crowd have got OUT the booze they were putting IN through the first innings they get back INTO their positions to watch the other team have their innings, this is where the team that was OUT becomes the team that’s IN and has two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT, at the same time the team that was IN, that had two guys IN while the rest of the team
were OUT, now becomes the team that’s OUT and has to get the team that was OUT that’s now IN with two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT, OUT, every time one of the team that was OUT that’s now IN, that has two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT is OUT, then one of the team that was OUT that’s now IN that hasn’t been IN and OUT got OUT by the team that was IN with two guys IN while the rest of the team were OUT that’s now OUT, comes IN to replace him, this goes on until all the team that was OUT, that’s now IN with two guys IN while the rest of the team are OUT, have been IN and OUT, got OUT by the team that was IN with two guys IN while the rest of the team were OUT, that’s now OUT.

Gasping to a halt to catch my breath, at this stage I usually pause for effect as if the sketch has gone down well enough everyone is laughing and applauding. Then the following line is the one I use to finish the sketch:-

Now about the second innings, …. This is where the team that was IN, that had two guys IN while the rest of the team were OUT, that was then ….. aw stuff it, I can see there’s no hope for you lot, you can’t even keep up with the first innings. That’s it I’m off to the bar, if you want any more help you can buy me a drink and I’ll fill you IN on the rest there.