Friday, 19 January 2018

Sheep May Safely Graze

These are worrying times for the lower league cricketer.  Many are dependent on pitches provided by public authorities.  They accept with stoicism the fact that the quality of these facilities may, from time to time, compare less than favourably with Lords.  But they have a charm, a heritage that is all their own and without them there would be be no cricket at all.  
A charm all its own
Edinburgh's Home of Cricket - the Meadows

But tightening budgets in local authorities do not look good.  Wickets already seem subject to minimal preparation and the outfields are far from the short grassed billiard table smooth surfaces the coaching manuals presume.  There is surely nothing left to except lots of grass.

Outfields have long been a concern to Fantasy Bob.  On the increasingly rare occasion he middles it, his mind's eye sees the ball flash to the boundary.  But there in front of him is the cruel reality.  His shoulders slump as he sees the ball disappear in the undergrowth just off the square.  A certain four becomes a scrambled single - or a two if the fielding side has difficulty finding the ball in the grass.  FB is concerned that those younger team members of shorter stature risk disappearing in the jungle - he may consider allowing them to carry their phones so that he can pick up a locational signal from them.  It would not surprise him if, come tea, an emaciated player emerged blinking from the denseness asking whether Churchill was still prime minister.

Deep fine leg of lamb
So, rather than face the risk posed by grass cutting austerity, FB wishes to propose a solution.  Local authorities should invest in a flock of sheep to nibble the outfield to a satisfactory shortness.    If this was good enough for cricket's inventors on the Hampshire Downs of the 17th Century, it should be good enough for lower league cricketers.

Sceptics may pose all manner of problems, but FB is confident that his legendary ability to shepherd hordes of young cricketers will give him all the skills to deal with sheep in the outfield.  On occasion he could even envisage a sheep being pressed into service - and it might well be more effective than many of the senior cricketers that he has played with.

Evidence that some sheep
could be up for it

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