In the Sheds… from afar
After making the decision to move interstate this year I found myself in the preparation stages of joining a new club. The constant thoughts of: 'How would they accept my sub-par rig and C minus (at best) banter? Do I tell everyone I played with Ed Cowan once as soon as I meet them? What if the Grade Cricketer isn't a thing over here?' circulated and kept me up more than once. The closer it comes to the first training session the more it dawns on me it’s not only the new location to familiarise myself with but new rules, new teammates, a new victory song and a new club to hate more than Manly.
Like all cricketing circles, a cricketer’s chat must be up-to-date and rolling off the tongue at any revealing opportunities during a conversation. "You're no danger of getting a chop on the circuit with that dusty salad and sloppy rig, champ." – (This one's probably a little too close to home for a few e.g. H.Clark, L.Robertson.) However, a sentence heard quite often in the Eastern states would be essentially speaking Mandarin in the West, for anyone who is unsure of Mandarin just ask Ben Joy to translate for you. Instead, a more commonly heard phrase would be:
"Is that a bait your marto is fuming about you tinning? Tell her to taste, you boned them today, budge."
· Bait; adjective: Used to describe an event/performance/decision taken place, whether good or bad or piss take is dependent upon observation, reasoning. Sydney Substitute: Stitch Up.
o "Mate, Devlin's wrong-un is an absolute bait."
o "TK opening the stick and averaging 1.1 is such a bait."
· Martin/Marto; noun: One's girlfriend/wife.
o "How good was it when Faras' marto was bringing tea last year".
o "Remember when Liam's marto came to the Nags and outskulled him?"
· Fume/Fuming; verb: Getting angry. Sydney substitute: Blow Up.
o "Nah you'd think BTJ would fume more considering he kicks them every week."
o "Gaz was fuming about Dale again today."
· Tin/Tinning; noun, verb: Consuming one or multiple beers. Sydney Substitute: Circuit.
o "Shock me, Lewis floating around when there's a free tin on offer."
o "Pretty sure BTJ and Kersh are tinning at the Crowie again this Saturday night."
· Taste; noun: Non-literal meaning for someone to suck eggs. Sydney Substitute: Pack em.
o "Did Ben Abbott hit Jono for 24 off one over? Taste, Birdy. Bowl behind the front line.”
o "Yeah he smashed it. Ahh well, taste."
· Bone/Boning; verb: Hitting the ball hard. Sydney Substitute: Moosed.
o "Yeah Duges came on and this bloke just boned him everywhere."
o "Kersh used to bone them but now he's lucky to play 6's as a stick."
· Budge; noun: A name used in place of 'mate'.
o "Goodge, how are you Budge, see you at Scubar on Monday night?"
It’s fair to say SUCC covers a very diverse range of characters. Therefore, it’s justifiably reasonable that I find it hard not to draw comparisons with my new club.
· Will the third grade skipper lurk into college functions till 3am and try corrupting every fresh, innocent half decent cricketer?
· Will the Under 21’s captain be picked from the second lowest grade possible?
The first few weeks go by as the difficulty rises not to think ‘gee that sounds like something Hayser would say’ or ‘this tea lady makes Dale look like he would take out Masterchef: the best of Grade Crickets Tea.” The tier systems are not in existence, nor are fine sessions after a day’s play. (To be fair, when you’re getting outrighted every week it no longer seems funny that your missus has a better rig or your hair is nearly all gone). The stereotypes are still well and truly prominent – the fast bowlers are rare and not in any way, shape or form humorous. The wicket keepers are still prima donna’s who prefer to spend their time alone in a separate section of the ground discussing ‘admin’ (receding/proceeding salad) issues. The batsman still trade barbs like Ali and Frazer rumbling in the jungle. There’s only one thing missing from a perfect match to SUCC, but I’m sure the Dark Lord shall reveal himself at the most inopportune time.
There is no doubt in my mind that Sydney Uni lays claim to arguably the greatest home sheds in Sydney, if not Australian, Premier Cricket.
Only since leaving have I realized that I took the spacious bench within the number 1 shed for granted. As I entered my new sheds for the first time, I quickly realized just how blessed all those who have enjoyed Sydney Uni Number 1 are. I entered the sheds and was immediately confronted with the mere half a foot left on the bench for my ever expanding size 38 wide load and realized that only with Rene’s biomechanics could this miracle be achieved.
The ‘tubbing’ (shower) facilities at Uni no.1 resemble a modern day picture of Roman politicians in the Thermae, sitting around with ales in hand and towels upon their wastes, despite a touch of rig depreciation over the last 2,500 years. Unfortunately, this I did take for granted. The washing facilities of the new club do not reveal an open room with twelve showerheads at your disposal (+ a bonus water jet that will destroy all morale for some unsuspecting nuffie), but rather a small, dark cubical with slippery tiles, almost as if the Cricket Gods are encouraging you to ‘slip, do a hamstring and never return’. Anyone who has played for this great club can tell you that there is something magical about those Uni sheds. Countless stories have been told in that fateful corner, some at 5pm post a hard-fought win or some dribbled out at 1am after TK’s rum punch.
The artistic image of the clubman draped in blue & gold sitting around intently listening to various club stalwarts about “this hundred he scored”, “that cover drive he hit” or “the time Rig the seriously rare unit did…”, will never leave the minds of SUCC faithful. Neither will like the many images of Will Hay in all kinds of Bikram Yoga poses trying to get his Talcum powder just in the right spots.
But regardless of how bad your chat is, if you’re referred to as the worst wizard of all-time, there’s still one thing certain – no song has ever echoed, or beer tasted better than those in the home sheds of University Oval no.1. There’s no place like home, and I wish I could be there to experience it all again.
Up the Students.