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U3A Writing: The Captain's Son

Shirley Long’s story tells of a cricketing-mad lad.

"Dad, how about a game of cricket before tea?"

"Sorry mate, but I have a heap of paper work to get done before I get to the Committee Meeting after dinner."

"Well, how about we have a bit of a hit-up before I go to school?"

"Son, I'd like to bowl you up a few balls, and we both know it is constant practice which keeps you and me sharp and accurate. Anyhow, your mum will throw you a few balls for fielding practice."

"Thanks Dad." The voice was polite but obviously disappointed. "Mum's OK, but she's only a girl, and girls don't make good cricketers like fellas do:"

"Oh, don't we!" mum retorted."Do you ever get your eyes off the test cricket to watch a women's cricket match - say an interstate match, Vic versus NSW? That can be just as interesting and well played as say an Australia v New Zealand test match."

"Son, if your homework is up to date you might like to come down to the ground to watch the boys go through their physical exercises before we have a club match, and you could make yourself useful around the place,"

"OK dad, I'll be down at the ground in an hour."

Leaving Mum and the Saturday household chores behind him, he scurried to assemble his own cricketing gear, and with a farewell wave to Mum and picking up her gift of a cut lunch for him and Dad, he hopped on his bike and rode swiftly to his mate Bill's place. He was sitting by his front gate with his bike and cut lunch ready. The boys had found previously that watching cricket was hungry work.

At the cricket ground the boys settled into a green patch of natural growth and started chatting. "Who does your dad fancy as winners today?" asked Bill.

"The other crowd" came the gloomy reply. "Dad has been working with a few possible in the team, but there is no-one with a real natural talent, and he says with the group he has at present he can't see our team going up the ladder for a long time."

With the resilience of youth, they settled in to eat their cut lunches and drink their cordial. Then they were ready to watch the practice and to barrack and whistle to demonstrate their enthusiasm or otherwise for each ball as it was bowled.

"Yes" said Bill. "You're a lucky cow with your dad being the captain. He could make it real easy for you to get into the team."

"Not on your life," the captain's son replied. "It is harder for me than any of the others. My dad may be captain of the team, but he doesn't play favourites."

At that moment a well-driven ball sailed in the boys' direction. "Catch it, son" a voice roared from among the players. Automatically, from the long hours of practice in the back yard, the lad's arms and hands shot out and up, and the ball found a secure resting place held by strong fingers.

"Well caught son!" the voice cried again, and the boy could hear other spectators applauding bath the good shot and the good catch. "Like father, like son" was also heard, to the gratification of the Captain's son.

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