Season in the slips

22 November 2004

by Brian McMillan

Exams are now over and, for the students, the long summer holiday has begun.

For UCT cricket this means a two-month break from the rigorous practice and games schedule. Apart from the SA Universities cricket week at Wits University from November 29 to December 3, league cricket is on hold for now until January 15. Good thing too, as finding students willing and able to spend their hard-earned holiday in Cape Town playing cricket is not an easy thing to do.

However, this does mean 10 consecutive weekends of cricket on both Saturday and Sunday for late-January, the whole of February and March 2005. My wife is going to kill me.

Students will always be students and the numbers of grey hairs on my head have definitely increased since taking over the coaching of this bunch. Saturday saw us in yet another close encounter of the cricketing kind when we bowled out Tygerberg for 143 in a limited-overs game. Looking forward to an early finish (always a good thing when the rugby starts at five), we suddenly found ourselves at 50 for five. John Geoghegan once again managed to save the day by hitting a good 44 not out. However, the winning run was scored by Bobby Dodds as we sat on 143 for 8, needing one run to win and with the opposition not knowing that our one remaining batsman was in hospital being treated for severe dehydration.

With head between my knees I survived one of my most anxious cricketing moments (and there have been a few), silently encouraging him, "Just one run, just one."

It brought back memories of the week before when the guys had somehow managed to stuff a cellphone into Bobby's pads before he went out to bat. The ring tone had been pre-recorded as a voice message saying, "Bobby, this is your conscience speaking. Don't do anything stupid now. Just hit the ball, Bobby. Play straight, Bobby. Don't go out, Bobby."

The opposition keeper looked the most confused as to where the voices were coming from. Bobby, however, thinking he was hearing voices in his mind, just kept hitting the ball, playing straight and not getting out.

So far we've got three out of three one-day wins under our belts but we still lack a two-day win. It's going to be up to our top-order batsmen to make it count as we go into the New Year under pressure to perform. Watch this space.

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