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Cricket in no mans land

April 6, 2014

The first match in the Sussex Seniors tour took place in one of the most bizarre locations. It was close to Nicosia in Cyprus on a large piece of land controlled by the United Nations. It is in the buffer zone, a kind of no mans land, between the decidedly hostile (to each other) Turkish and Greek Cypriots. I will not beat about the bush; It was not the best pitch and outfield I have ever seen. Not that I was playing, my day is today when we go to a mountain ground called Happy Valley to do battle with a British army 11. The outfield was little more than flattened grassland and loose earth but actually played surprisingly well. At one stage it looked as if we had the potential to inflict a surprise defeat on out much younger opponents.

Amazingly for a bunch of old codgers, our team made a creditable 158 from its 35 overs, and it took the much younger opposition over 25 overs to get them. So a defeat, but not as crushing as might have been expected, especially as I had been assured that we always bat last. Seasoned Cricketers will know from the way in which this result has been reported, that something quite exceptional occurred in the innings of our opponents, but please allow us old chaps some solace in defeat. Several magnificent catches were taken, all against the odds, but when a young chap from the other side, who might have been caught first ball had there been anyone under 60 within 5 yards of the bat, made 50 in about 20 balls, you may be able to gauge the standard of bowling and fielding we were able to offer.

cricket pitch in Cyprus

Cricket, Cypriot style

Cricket tours are especially the subject of a fines system. Any misdemeanors that occur on or around the field of play might attract a fine, which in this case will contribute to a last dinner at the end of the tour. They can be imposed for a particularly poor piece of fielding, bowling and batting, but also for minor transgressions such as walking behind the bowlers arm, or being Welsh (although I accept that this is not really a minor transgression). I was fined for being consistently unable to make the number 4 on an infernal modular scoreboard. It had to be explained to me several times by the lovely Peggy, one of the tour WAGS. Her first explanation, that it was achieved in the shape of a cup with a leg, which I never fully understood, was eventually changed to “think of a glass of wine with a stem on one side” and then I understood, but I accept that no one who does not understand cricket or has never seen one of these diabolical scoreboards will have the remotest clue about which I speak. It is roughly the same when I am banging on about the benefits of Currencies Direct.

So today is the big day. It is the reason I have come to Cyprus, apart from the company, the sunshine, and to get out from under the feet of That Nice Lady Decorator, who is frantically preparing our house for the myriad renters who will stay there whilst we take in the Isle Of Wight and Spain before arriving in Valbonne on 25th April. I had asked the captain to ensure that I did not venture anywhere near the local red wine and make sure I restricted myself to drinking nothing more than a few beers last night, but he failed in his duty. I did however manage to avoid the local brandy, which, after the effect it had on me a few days ago, can only be a good thing.

Chris France


One Comment leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    April 6, 2014 11:37 am

    ‘or being Welsh (although I accept that this is not really a minor transgression)

    Nicosian Nic rand from Sicily and he can’t get his head around this cricketing fines malarkey !!

    I’m in a ‘spina’ coz’a cricket fines ‘seama’,
    So harsh’a on a ‘last- stand’a’ team’a,
    ‘geri-‘hatric’ old’a buffers,
    And’a poor Welshman suffers,
    What’sa surely the ‘miner’ misdemeanor !!

    He’s not bad with the old cricketing lingo and awful puns though !!

    Good luck today old chap. Hope they’re going to utilise your legendary leg spin !!


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