Friday, 29 July 2011

Holiday Reading

Mrs FB was quite firm.  She pointed out that she had foregone summer holidays for a number of years to allow son and heir to disport himself on the cricket field.  The fact that Fantasy Bob had also indulged himself in this area had been noticed, but was not a relevant consideration. 

She further pointed out that in previous years son and heir had been engaged in a number of prestigious representative matches for which she felt her sacrifice was justified.  This year, she went on in the pointing out mode, son and heir’s priorities have been on rugby and an intensive summer conditioning and training programme to the exclusion of all else.  She pointed out that therefore there has been no elite cricket.  Although FB could see where all this pointing out was pointing to, heroism was required and he steeled himself to interrupt the flow.  ‘What do you mean no elite cricket?’ he counter pointed out. ‘The All Star Carlton 4th XI is……'  This point got no further before it was deemed not worthy of a response.  It has struck FB before that Mrs FB has a strange view of the world and how its priorities should be ordered.

As a result of all this pointing out, FB is committing the most grievous sin open to cricketers by taking a holiday during the cricket season and is unavailable for selection for the next 2 matches.  He hangs his head in shame, notwithstanding that teh team is more likely to be victorious in his absence.  Nor is there the almost acceptable excuse that he is attending the second Test match at Trent Bridge.  Indeed he will struggle to keep himself informed of progress in that important struggle.  Some readers know that FB is a sailor of modest ability, so he is chartering a yacht out of Stockholm to test Swedish waters.  Mrs FB deemed that a week before the mast is just what she needs to replenish her batteries.  Son and heir will continue his weight training programme on board by hauling up the anchor – 20 reps, rest and another 20.  It will be the most hauled up anchor in the Baltic.

Sweden is not particularly fertile territory for the cricketer although the first Volvo estate was specially designed in the 1960s with a view to transporting assorted cricket bags and juniors to  away matches.  However there is a Swedish Cricket Federation, which affiliated to the ICC in 1997, a national league and a national side which has recently been competing in the ICC European League.

There is also a game called brännboll played at an amateur level throughout Sweden.  It has some of the characteristics of baseball or rounders with the benefits of what seems to FB a complicated scoring system.  As in baseball or rounders the fielding side try to retrieve the ball before the batter gets to the bases.  But its main feature is that there is no bowler or pitcher – the batsman bowls to himself, tossing the ball up and smacking it where he will before steaming round the bases.  This feature has much to commend it and FB thinks the East of Scotland Cricket League might experiment with allowing batters to bowl against themselves in this manner.  FB is confident that even he could score off his own bowling. 

Brannboll in progress - the annual world championships
Another version of the game is olbrannboll (beer-brannball), where beercases are used a bases so the batters can refresh themselves as they wait to run.  Drinking is not mandatory in this form, but in vinbrannboll (wine-brannball) it is and batsmen must take a glass of wine when they complete a run.  For some reason this game is popular with students.

FB will return shortly but for the next few days he has left some gentle deliveries in the bowling machine so readers can keep their forward defensive in trim.

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