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Essex Shield

Tales from the Boundary



I must confess to being a bit of a fuddy-duddy.  I don't think I've become one.  I might always have been.   I learned early on the difference between to, too and two and where apostrophes belong.  I get upset about missing or misplaced apostrophes.   I also get upset if people use 'I' too much, especially at the start of a sentence.  I'm beginning to annoy myself.

Anyway, having learned and tried to practise (especially at practice) the value of good line and length, the introduction and prevalence of 20/20 upset and still upsets me.   Good line and length balls get smashed to and over the boundary.  I empathise with the bowlers' pain and anguish.  They have to resort to slow bouncers and overuse of yorkers.   Then, when they return to proper cricket they bowl all over the place.

In the early days of the 40-over Sunday League, 160 to 200 was considered par.  Now we see 300 to 400 in 50 overs.  What is the world coming to?

I was lucky enough to only once bowl to my school captain.  Terry Barton had a good eye and large forearms, not technically correct but could thump the ball with gusto for many a mile, particularly when scoring 140 in the staff match.  My figures in the spell against him were 4-0-30-2, having managed to move one enough to evade his bat and bowling his successor with the same.

The Australians of the seventies and eighties even started scoring at four runs per over.  Of course, covered pitches helped but 300 runs per day should be enough for any side.   It was good enough in the fifties and sixties.  Ask Geoff Boycott.

Andrew Appleby