Twelfth man answers Cup call at the eleventh hour

HAPPY 2014.

Hope you all had a merry Christmas and the New Year brings you joy and happiness.

One of the best efforts over the festive season came from North Tamworth cricket allrounder Mitch Holt.

After Kris Halloran had to pull out late, the Tamworth side to play in the SCG Country Cup finals on the South Coast was further affected by State Under 17 coaching and training. Tamworth’s James Psarakis was able to play Saturday in the quarter final win over Albury Wodonga but had to go to Sydney to train with the State Under 17s before they head off to the National Championships later this month. It left a big hole in the team for what became Sunday’s semi-final against Lake Illawarra.

However, Mitch Holt put up his hand and drove down to join the side at late notice.

He was 12th man Saturday but played Sunday.

His effort was much appreciated by his teammates.

“It shows the fantastic commitment we have in Tamworth cricket,” said Adam Jones.

“It was a huge effort at short notice.”

Mitch just shrugged it off.

“It was awesome just being there and watching, running the drinks out to the boys on the first day and doing a bit of scoring.

“Then to play Sunday!

“It was a great holiday. And now we get to go to the SCG.”

TWO young Englishmen, Stuart Plant and Calum Rowe, got a lot more than they had hoped for when they elected to spend the summer in Australia playing cricket in Tamworth.

Plant, who is playing for North Tamworth, has been in the wickets with his left arm tweakers since he arrived. One seven-wicket haul against Gunnedah guaranteed him a spot in the Tamworth side as well as a berth in the Central North Zone side. It now means a trip to the Sydney Cricket Ground after he helped Tamworth to quarter and semi-final wins over Albury Wodonga and Lake Illawarra last weekend. Making it even better for Stu is the fact his family arrived out in time to spend Christmas with him and then watch last weekend’s heroics on the South Coast.

For Calum Rowe the trip to Australia is his second.

He came out a few years ago and played for Bective but didn’t have anywhere as near a good time with bat and ball as he has this time.

Runs and wickets have come his way for his Bective Bulls side as well as the McDonald’s T20 side he plays with. McDonald’s are through to the Tamworth IPL T20 Final against The Albert Hotel on Friday, January 10. Two days later Cal will be at the SCG trying to win a third Country Cup for his adopted city.

“That’s going to be awesome,” Cal told me after alighting the Tamworth team bus on Monday.

“Now we get to play at the SCG.”

He reckoned a lot of the thanks must go to skipper Tom Groth and young keeper Matty Everett.

“They dug us out of a hole on Saturday,” he said.

At 6-44 Tamworth’s prospects of reaching Sunday’s semi-final let alone the SCG looked remote.

JOHN Muller, one of our great old cricketers, sent me these sledges the other day. He thought the fining of Michael Clark for sledging the other day, i.e., “Get ready for a broken f......€¦ arm” was “pretty tame”, and offered the following:

ROD MARSH AND IAN BOTHAM

Rod Marsh supposedly once welcomed England all-rounder Botham to the crease with the following: “So how’s your wife and my kids?”

Botham replied: “The wife’s fine, but the kids are retarded.”

MERV HUGHES AND ROBIN SMITH

During the second Ashes Test at Lord’s in 1989 chatty Australian fast bowler Hughes said to Robin Smith after he played and missed: “You can’t f...... bat”. After the next ball, which Smith hit to the fence, the batsman replied: “Hey Merv, we make a fine pair. I can’t f...... bat and you can’t ...... bowl.”

JAMES ORMOND AND MARK WAUGH

Portly England journeyman James Ormond (two Tests) might have become one of the least-remembered international cricketers ever, but for this exchange during his only Test against Australia in 2001 at the Oval. Arriving at the crease with his team 300 behind, Ormond was greeted by Steve Waugh’s accomplished brother Mark. “F... me, look who it is,” Waugh said. “Mate, what are you doing out here? There’s no way you’re good enough to play for England.” Ormond’s retort? “Maybe not, but at least I’m the best player in my family.”

SHANE WARNE AND DARYLL CULLINAN

The legendary leg-spinner never stopped talking. He had a hold on the South African right-hander, but here was one Warne delivery Cullinan hit back strongly. As Cullinan came to the wicket, Warne told him that he had been waiting two years for another chance to humiliate the Proteas. “Looks like you spent it eating,” Cullinan replied to the pre-makeover Warne.

VIV RICHARDS AND GREG THOMAS

West Indian batting superstar Richards was daunted by no fast bowler. In an English county game, Glamorgan’s Greg Thomas spoke up after the Master Blaster had played and missed at a couple of deliveries. “It’s red, round and weighs about five ounces, in case you were wondering,” Thomas said helpfully. Richards smashed the next Thomas delivery out of the ground and into a nearby river, then said: “Greg, you know what it looks like, now go and find it.” The same tale was later ascribed to Australian batting star Ricky Ponting and South African fast-bowler Shaun Pollock.

MERV HUGHES AND VIV RICHARDS

During a Test match in the Caribbean, burly moustachioed warrior Hughes was attempting his usual intimidation, staring at Richards after following through. Richards offered the following cultural advice: “This is my island, my culture. Don’t you be staring at me. In my culture we just bowl.” Hughes saved his response until he claimed the champion’s wicket. “In my culture we just say f... off.”.

MERV HUGHES AND GRAHAM GOOCH

England opening batsman and captain Graham Gooch had played and missed at several Hughes deliveries, but survived. “I’ll get you a piano instead – see if you can play that,” Hughes offered.

GRAHAM GOOCH AND MIKE GATTING

“If it had been a cheese roll, it would never have got past him,” Gooch said after teammate Gatting had been bowled by Shane Warne’s “ball of the century”.

DENNIS LILLEE AND MIKE 

GATTING

Legendary fast bowler Dennis Lillee supposedly halted his run-up during an Ashes Test when about to bowl to Gatting. He told the well-fed middle-order batsman: “Hell, Gatt, move out of the way. I can’t see the stumps.”

JAVED MIANDAD AND MERV HUGHES

Brilliant but enraging Pakistani batsman Javed Miandad called the Aussie quick “a fat bus conductor” during one of many spirited exchanges he enjoyed with antipodean fast-bowlers. When Hughes dismissed Miandad soon after, he ran past the right-hander demanding, “Tickets please!”

IAN HEALY AND ARJUNA RANATUNGA

Wicketkeepers seem to feel a responsibility to be annoying. When Australian gloveman Ian Healy observed Warne trying to tempt the chubby Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga out of his crease, he advocated “putting a Mars Bar on a good length”.

GLENN MCGRATH AND EDDO BRANDES

This sledge married two familiar tropes of the genre: dietary advice and marital critique. After the Zimbabwe batsman played and missed, McGrath asked: “Oi, Brandes, why are you so fat?” Brandes ensured the next delivery would be sharper by replying: “Cos every time I sleep with your wife she gives me a biscuit.”

IAN HEALY AND MICHAEL ATHERTON

England opening batsman Atherton refused to walk after a loud appeal for a catch behind off his bat. Healy walked by, calling Atherton a “f...... cheat”. The polite Englishman replied: “When in Rome, dear boy.”

FRED TRUEMAN #1

During an Ashes Test in the 1960s, the great English fast bowler was fielding near the gate to the pavilion. As a new batsman entered the playing arena, he turned to shut the gate. “Don’t bother son, you won’t be out there long enough,” Trueman said.

FRED TRUEMAN #2

A young batsman, clean bowled by Trueman said: “That was a very good ball, Fred.” Trueman replied: “Aye, and it was wasted on you.”

FRED TRUEMAN #3

Australia was pressing for victory at the end of a Test match, with tail-ender Trueman at the crease, and much of the team was crowded around the batsman, projecting their shadows on to the wicket. Trueman announced: “Ere, if you lads don’t back off, I’ll appeal for bad light!”

FRED TRUEMAN #4

On the tour of Australia in 1962-63, England Test player the Reverend David Sheppard dropped several catches. “Kid yourself it’s Sunday, Rev,” Trueman suggested, “and keep your hands together.”

FRED TRUEMAN #5

Fred Trueman was bowling and induced an edge to first slip but the ball went between Raman Subba Row’s legs. The fieldsman apologised to Trueman, saying “I should’ve kept my legs together, Fred”. “So should your mother,” Fred fired back.

UNNAMED BODYLINE WIT

There is a story that controversial England skipper Douglas Jardine went to the Australian dressing room after a day’s play to demand an apology for a player calling him a bastard on the pitch. The call went up: “Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard!”

MALCOLM MARSHALL AND DAVID BOON

The frightening West Indian fast-bowler Malcolm Marshall gave Aussie top-order stalwart David Boon options after he had played and missed. “Now David, are you going to get out now or am I going to have to bowl around the wicket and kill you?”

VIV RICHARDS AND SUNIL GAVASKAR

The great Indian opener suffered a drop in form and demoted himself to number four in the order. He gained little respite, with Marshall dismissing Anshuman Gaekwad and Dilip Vengsarkar for ducks to make the score 2/0 As Gavaskar came to the crease Viv Richards observed: “Man, it don’t matter where you come in to bat, the score is still zero.”

SHANE WARNE AND DARREN BERRY

In a New South Wales v Victoria Sheffield Shield match, Warne goaded his Australian teammate, impatient Blues opening batsman Slater. When the restless Slater came out to bat, Warne and wicketkeeper Berry began the following ‘timebomb’ exchange:

Warne “Tick”

Berry “Tock”

Warne “Tick”

Berry “Tock”

After several overs Slater became frustrated and hit out rashly, to be caught at deep midwicket. As he walked off, Warne and Berry, cried: “Kaboom!”

DENNIS LILLEE

The great Australian fast-bowler apparently used the following sledge on batsmen throughout his storied career: “I can see why you are batting so badly, you’ve got some shit on the end of your bat.”

This would usually compel the batsman to examine the bottom of his bat.

Lillee: “Wrong end mate”.

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