Saturday, 24 June 2017

My Dear Old Things

Fantasy Bob shares the national outpouring of grief at the news that Blowers will no longer be one of the voices of summer.  FB always enjoyed his commentary and also greatly enjoyed the shows which with Peter Baxter he took the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in recent years.

It is a wholly unfitting tribute to the great man who will be sorely missed, but FB reminded himself of a posting from a few years back in which Blowers featured prominently.  Having inflicted this punishment on himself, he sees no reasons why his handful of readers should not similarly be tortured.  They will find the link here.

Blowers raconteuring during one of his shows

Obstruction ahead

Roy gets in the way
It is rare for Fantasy Bob to watch any T20 biff-fest with anything approaching interest, but his curiosity was stimulated by the dismissal of Jason Roy in yesterday's match with South Africa.  This was an incident which interrupted the usual tedious sequence of fours slapped through cover and sixes launched over mid-wicket.  Sent back by his partner at the striker's end Roy took an extravagantly circuitous route back to safety and in so doing put himself between the fielder with the ball and the stumps. The throw actually hit him. Whether without that intervention it would have hit the stumps is academic. Whether had it done so he would have been in or out is academic. The Saffies, being Saffies appealed vigorously with all manner of gesticulation at Roy.  After the inevitable reference to the TV umpire, the finger went up and Roy was on his way.  England lost momentum and the match.

On the whole FB thinks this was a correct decision.  Roy clearly knew what he was up to - he willingly chose his route reflecting coaching suggestions that batsmen should think about running in the line of the likely throw.  So it seems a fair cop.

However FB waits with dread the inevitable attempts to replicate this adjudication in the lower league cricket that is his stamping ground.  He can see it in his mind's eye - FB is dozing through his umpiring spell, the concentrated look on his face a dissembling disguise as he tries to remember whether ball 4 or 5 has just been bowled.  The batsman plays a defensive shot and cover picks it up. 'How's that?' the fielders scream.  FB looks querulously about him - has his focus on mental arithmetic caused him to miss something? The opposing skipper bounds up to FB -  'Obstructing the field......' ' Whatya mean, the batsman never moved.' 'Exactly - he wilfully obstructed my guy getting a run out..........HOW'S THAT?'  Not for the first time, FB wonders whether a new law should be introduced preventing QCs from playing cricket.

It is not only for this reason that obstruction is a touchy subject with FB.  For he is perhaps the only fielder to have been appealed against by his own team for obstruction of the field.  Long standing readers of these pages will realise that FB is usually an inanimate presence in the field.  A statuesque navigation point around which the whirl of action can take his place.  Occasionally however he will find he has to move to get out of the way of one of his junior team mates in breathless pursuit of the ball.  With increasing frequency these days - he can find he is unable to move quickly enough to avoid his on-rushing junior team mate.  A collision occurs and while the junior cartwheels through the air the ball safely rolls over the boundary.  Dusting himself down the junior will tearfully maintain that a certain run out was on the way.  He will scream out 'How's that - obstructing the field' The umpire will calmly respond 'Not out - he's on your own side son.'  He is met with a glare that would turn a lesser man to stone,  'That's what you think.'