As the Ashes series gets underway in Cardiff, men from the world’s cricket-playing nations are congratulating themselves on another summer in which women seem prepared to continue believing that cricket is a genuine sport. Despite the rules being understood by no one and matches taking ages to complete, having breaks for meals and being halted should the sun go in, women appear happy to let their men-folk disappear for days on end to participate in or watch absolutely nothing happening at all.
‘After they went for the whole golf thing – basically a long walk to the pub with luggage – we thought there was no way women would fall for another make-believe sport,’ said 42-year-old Geoff Stanley, ‘wicketkeeper’ and captain of the Woodside Green XI. ‘But credit where it’s due, the early players did a lovely job on the laws of the game. None of this off-side rule or winning by two clear points and scoring in French, they had the balls to see it through all the way. Every time someone’s dismissed leg before wicket, run out by silly mid-off or sent to chase leather at deep third man, we have a job not to piss in our boxes laughing.’
‘To be honest, we thought the whole international tours thing would be a bridge too far,’ added team-mate Dave Robinson, known as the team’s all-rounder due to his ability with both food and drink, and his wide circumference. ‘But bless ’em, the wives and girlfriends bought that one as well, so every winter I get to go on tour to the Caribbean or Australia with the Barmy Army for a fortnight‘s ‘cricket watching‘. I don’t why they haven’t seen through it.’Despite most training sessions taking place at the local tandoori, the Woodside Green XI are enjoying an excellent run of form this season, and no one is more pleased than Geoff’s wife Shirley. ‘She takes her role as wife of the club captain very seriously,‘ said Geoff. ‘Only last Saturday we unexpectedly got the league’s top-scoring batsman out for a duck, and she wasted no time in taking him into the clubhouse to rub linseed oil into his bat, before showing him an uncovered wicket he could get some practice on. God, I’d hate to think how she’d feel if she knew we’d been deceiving her.’