Reader Pierre Wiese padded up for his newly adopted Graaff-Reinet in a club cricket match in Cradock… and got an interesting (and delicious) taste of local club cricket.
What is cricket about?
Having recently moved to Graaff-Reinet, I was asked to play for the club against Standards Cricket Club in Cradock, and after scrounging a kit together and borrowing a bat, I happily obliged, as it gave me the opportunity to play cricket again… and against the third-oldest club in South Africa.
Arriving at the field you realise what club cricket in the rural and country areas is all about.
• It’s about playing for the love of the game… playing with 16-year-old boys and 60-year-old legends.
• Playing against and with players with nicknames like ‘Stoomtrein, Bees and Doc’.
• Hearing chirps… followed by a subtle (and ironically respectful) ‘Oom’ immediately following each chirp.
• Seeing camaraderie between players of opposite sides built up through playing each other for many years.
• Coming off the field for drinks and being presented with an ice-cold Oros.
• Having braaivleis and ice-cream for lunch.
• Being laughingly mocked by your team if you drop a catch and greeted in congratulations by 90% of the fielding side if you knock together some runs.
• It’s about having families next to the field watching, encouraging and bonding in support of the players.
• It’s having a fines meeting and getting fined for anything (and everything!) just to have a drink and a shot at your teammates, all of which is to everyone else’s amusement.
Driving the 150km-odd home at 8pm that evening, I realised that we punish ourselves every Saturday, but we do it because of our love for this wonderful game.
Photos: Pierre Wiese