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Bowled Over

The cricket season is underway, a sign that the British summer has arrived!
One of the most pleasant things to do in our village is to sit outside ‘The Weary Traveller’ on a warm Sunday afternoon and doze quietly listening to the sound of ‘ball on willow’ and the polite clapping of the ‘crowd’ as the local cricket match unfolds on the village green opposite.

Our village side, under the captaincy of my pal Charlie has been practising hard in the nets every Wednesday night, and the Cricket Club stalwarts have given the old pavilion a lick of paint. The village green has been mown, rolled and mown again ready to welcome our local rivals from the next village.

I was sitting outside ‘The Weary Traveller’ on the Friday evening watching the tractor pull the mowers along the cricket square, and sipping on my pint, when Charlie came storming up and sat down next to me. I could see he was angry, so before I asked him what was wrong, I went and got him a pint. His mood reminded me of a time when we were in Rimini in Italy and he got news that his girlfriend at the time had jilted him for someone else – but that’s another story.

I sat back down next to Charlie and handed him the pint. He picked it up and drank almost half of it in one go. “We’re scuppered” he said, finally “it looks like our star bowler isn’t going to be here for the game on Sunday”
Now Joe, the bowler in question, had got married in the village church two weekends ago. He and his new bride (a lovely lass called Susie who works in the village shop) had gone on honeymoon to the Caribbean. They had planned it all carefully, they were due back today, the Friday before the big match. Joe loved his cricket as much as he loved Susie, and she loved Joe so it was all arranged.
When I pointed this out to Charlie he told me that Joe had called him to say that their flight had been delayed leaving the Caribbean island due to bad weather, and as a result they had missed their connecting flight to the UK. They now had to buy new tickets, but they did not have any money left, so they did not know when they would be able to catch another flight home.
“Surely they have travel insurance cover for that?” I said, but Charlie told me that apparently, their policy didn’t provide cover for missed connections on the return journey.

Well, we couldn’t possibly face our bitter rivals without our star bowler, so Charlie and I decided to club together and lend them the money for their tickets home. Charlie called Joe to tell him what was happening, and I got out my new tablet computer and managed to book them flights that would arrive early on the Sunday morning. (I am getting quite good with these new techno gizmos). We then contacted our local taxi firm (the owner is our wicket keeper) and he agreed to send one of his drivers free of charge to collect them from the airport. The timings were tight, so we also arranged to collect Joe’s kit from his cottage so he could get changed in the taxi.
Sunday morning arrived and we were nervous – the game was due to start at noon.
The visiting team arrived and the two captains walked out to the middle – Charlie won the toss and decided to bat first – this would give Joe time to arrive.

The game started and news came through that their plane had been delayed, but that they were now on their way.
Wickets fell quickly and we were all out for 150 or so and now it was our turn to field – still no sign of Joe. More bad news there was an accident on the motorway.

The opposition started strongly and then we had a break through and they lost a few quick wickets.
Their skipper though was steadily knocking up the runs, but his was fast running out of partners. It was the last over they needed 6 runs to win and had only one wicket left – Joe came running onto the field at last.
He took the ball and began his over – the first ball was blocked the second went for a single and the third and fourth were blocked – two balls left and the star batsman was at the non-striker’s end – the fifth ball was edged for a single.
So, their best batsman against our best bowler, last ball and they needed to hit a four. Joe began his run up and hurled the ball down the wicket – the batsman took a step forward and launched a shot high towards the boundary. It looked like it might go for six…then it started to drop it was going to fall just inside the boundary but could still go for a four.
Suddenly there was a blur of white – the boundary fielder had covered a lot of ground and threw himself forwards arm outstretched … and caught the ball as he slid along the ground.

The crowd erupted (if twelve people cheering can be called an ‘eruption’) – the fielder was Charlie. The game was won and we had beaten our arch rivals.
Charlie was especially happy because the batsman he had caught out was the same bloke his girlfriend jilted him for when we were in Rimini……..

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Postcard Travel insurance provides cover on both the outward and return journey
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