Burwood games are never dull and this one was no different. A new umpire means a new set of rhythms and bugbears, and me having to find $55 to pay him before the match was one of those. A lost toss saw us take the field first, where Hirak and Ali once again showed serious wheels and beat the bat repeatedly. Umpy Steve was beating something else when we went up for an outside edge off one of their openers who, on about 5 at the time, was so sheepish at being given not out that I don’t know how he kept it together to
cheat make 40 and set up their innings. Being Burwood Park, the concurrent domestic dispute across the road re driveway parking was everyone else’s source of embarrassment. In the cricket, meanwhile, some lusty late hitting saw PTW turn a well-bowled-boys 1/73 at drinks (well, not sure you can call it a drinks break when no time is allowed for a drink) into 5/226 at close, which is probably par for Burwood.
Our reply was tricky, with Jimmy the victim less of a decent delivery but rather a classic “you should open, Jimmy” Shanghai into the role. From there, getting towards drinks, both Lach and Charlie had made 34, before Lach was well yorked and Charlie’s suspicions about umpy’s nick-hearing were turned into the strongest confirmation possible with one of the poorer LBWs in a while. Umpy called yours truly out to warn of penalty runs being issued if players showed dissent at decisions, to which I thought it best to confirm with old mate skipper from Parra Telugu Warriors whether he stood by the appeal. Not understanding the question, Charlie remained out and his kit was subsequently the poorer for it. The day was absolutely the poorer for it when the umpire called out that Charlie was on report for – and I’m not kidding, this is a direct quote – “equipment abuse”. A text from Charlie to pass on apologies to his fellow Gladdies (upon whose behalf I happily accepted) had me picturing less and less of Charlie’s batting gear dotting Parramatta Road in a shit-umpiring tribute trail.
Suffice to say the whole thing really took the oxygen out of the run chase and other wickets fell fairly quickly thereafter, to see us on our way home at 117 all out. Chats with umpire Steve both at drinks and at game’s end allowed one side to explain that “players can be reported even if that’s heard through dressing room walls”, and the other to explain that, in circa 350 park games’ experience, chucking your bat and gloves down on your bag is just what some of us call Saturday. My sense is there likely won’t be a report filed after all and, regardless, Aldi make a five-seater camping chair that delivers on comfort and price. Future weeks of five of us on it will be the real test though.