Just a reminder that a post ago I asked for slanderous, abusive and amusing team names for pub trivia nights. Yez can tack them on here if you like.
Point no. two is I'm working up another Dog Shit Killers piece which will appear in the next week or so. When I say, working up , what I mean is that I'm occasionally thinking of how it will pan out. I reckon a plane crashh at the end would be tops but the Molloy Boys ruined that one with their Boytown fillum. Now, back to the Greyhound bus where last time I think I'd left busted-arse Brandon for points East.
I got out at Winnipeg after another long night, patchy sleep, arse-numbing Greyhound haul. At 5.30 in the morningthere was fuck all to do except grab a breakfast, and finish off the dregs of my Jackie Dee. After that I shlept over to the local hostel, grabbed a bunk and napped for a couple of hours, before getting hosed out of the joint at 9.00. I hitched up my daypack and went to the parklands where there was a zoo and plenty of sunny spots ideal for idleness. The zoo was out because I had a really fucking sore foot. I never figured out what it was but it lasted all day. After limping around the grounds for a while I grabbed some bread, cheese and cold cuts and found a spot to have a picnic. Oh yeah, I also grabbed a six pack of my new best friend, Labbats Blue. What I found was several adjoining sports fields upon which some blokes were playing cricket. I found some shade, sat back against a tree and picnicked and drank an LB while watching the local Indian community toil under the hot Canadian sun. After another beer I felt a bit more chirpy and yelled out an SCG favourite "Avagoyamug!. Two cricket teams, their friends and a couple of umpires looked in my direction so I waved back at them. Didn't take long for the bloke fielding at Deep Mid Wicket to trot over and suss me out. A quick chat evinced the fact that this was their local A-grade comp which in the past had provided Canada with a national rep player. The standard wasn't too bad. I'd seen a lot worse in local association comps in Sydney. Aftter a few more overs a couple of the batting side walked around, obviously having been worded up that an Aussie yobbo was in their midst. They asked me if I played and I admitted that I had played a couple of seasons in z grade as a fill in when my mate's team was short. I was more of a beach man when hungover and didn't really fancy spending Saturday afternoons fielding at Deep Long Forget About Ya with the hangover gorillas still running around my head in 40 degree heat. I did however play a bit of social cricket where it was more about the beer and having a dip than taking anything seriously. Nevertheless I did know the basics of batting, bowling medium fast and bowling wrist spin. Didn't do it any of them with great skill but didn't make an arse of myself either. All this was leading to the fact that the bowling team was short a couple of players and they'd bend the rules a bit to let me play if I was interested. I had to beg off due to a) a sore foot, b) I still had three beers left and c) I didn't have any kit. They then said they'd be here tomorrow for the second and final day if I felt like playing. Interesting. After another hour or so I limped away and found a bus to take me back to the hostel. I dumped my day pack (with 1 LB left) and lurched into a nearby sports bar where baseball was being shown and beer was being sold and complimentary mini burgers were being dished out. Nice. After a couple of preliminaries and sorting out that the Cubs weren't playing the Blue Jays I settled in for a couple of hours, quickly being wrapped in the warmth of sportsbarness found the world over. So what diod I learn of Winnipeg? Not a lot because there's ten parts of fuck all there.
The following day my foot was pretty much okay so I went to the zoo to see if I could find any primates upon which to inflict revenge for the Hangover Gorilla attack I was suffering. A pancake breakfast at a noshery near the zoo helped me out and I explored the thing. It even had a few kangaroos, obviously it wasn't culling season in Winnipeg. They looked tempting though with their dopey ears and tardo hopping and that stupid scratching they do on their ribs. Just asking for a clean shot from a .243 and a quick sear on the bbq grill. The rest of the zoo was pretty much what you'd expect with growly lions, shittimg bears, a couple of tired looking zebras in amongst the inmates. Oh yeah, there wuz chimps. Good enough for me. Fuckin' hangover monkeys got an earful (when no-one else was around) and at one stage I was almost going to cup a crap and hurl it at them but I just couldn't do it.
Upon exiting the zoo I wandered around the park and fouynd myself back at the cricdket fields. I wandered up to the short team who were now batting and asked how they were doing. Not well. Five down for sixty chasing one-eighty odd. Did I feel like havingf a hit? Okey doke, I was in. I was wearing pale grey shorts, a mainly white t-shirt, runners and footy socks. Very much the Oz yob gear for social cricket. One of them handed me a Molsen and said I was batting after the next two wickets dropped. this took about half an hour for the addition of around twenty runs and there I was, putting on the pads, slipping in a box and strapping on a thigh pad. I put on the gloves and selected a Grey Nicholls from the kit. GN was my preferred weapon of choice and this one reminded me of my own back at home.
Strolling out to the wicket was weird. Here I was in Canada, playing for and against some Indian blokes and hadn't even asked them about the bowling or the pitch conditions. I soon asked the standing batsman all about it and he said the ball was seaming around a bit and I should play on the front foot. Shit! My strengths were the pull, hook and cut shots. I played and missed the first couple of balls, luckily not getting an edge. The next couple of overs saw us develop a partnership of sorts. I was there for a good time and after playing a couple of drives from the front foot got cocky. Molsen does that to you. Sanjay at the other end was getting cocky as well and slog sweeped the oppositions spinner down mid wicket's throat. Nice shot but didn't quite middle it. His departing advice was;
"Try and stay in Greg."
Greg? As in Chappell? That was a compliment!
Yeah, right. Our next batsman walked in looking nervous and asked me about the bowling.
"Dead easy mate. Just smack 'em like Hookesy".
He survived the over by playiong straight against slow bowling which wasn't showing any signs of spin at all. I really wanted to get amongst those donkey drops but had to face the seamer first. I tried a couple of lusty hoicks over cover but only managed to sky one oput of the rach of 3rd man. Didn't even make the boundary but I got 3. Next over I was facing the non-spinning run giver. I played the first and I was right. Doing nothing. The next one I was bale to get hold of over mid on. Not quite 6 but a boundary was nice. Next ball was wide and the one after that I directed way over cover. A nice hit if I'd middled it but long off trotted around, pouched it and that was it for me. Oh well, death or glory ended up being death. At least I'd made double figures. When I was taking off the pads one of the team said;
"Bad luck, Greg."
I replied "Greg Chappell? Thanks mate, but not really."
He laughed and said,
"Not Greg Chappell. You like Greg Ritchie."
Fucker. Greg Ritchie was a portly Queensland and Australian Test batsman who was good at thumping the ball but not running very quickly due to his girth. His nickname was Fat Cat. Sure, I carry a few extra pounds but Greg Ritchie? He's a fucking Queenslander for fuck's sake! Fuck off! I preferred to be thought of more as a Gary Gilmour type.
The players were good about me not getting a century, saying it didn't matter because any runs I made were a bonus anyway. Thanks guys. The rest of the innings brought us another twenty-odd runs and we ended up losing. It was fun, no-one seemed that worried about the result, more about how they'd gone about things and in my mind they'd done it properly because there was a bloody big beer chiller full of Molsen and LB sitting invitingly near the kit bags. Winsome young thing it were with "come to me" eyes and a full body.
The skipper asked
" Would I like a beer? " The fools. We sat around for a couple of hours talking cricket shit. They felt bad about Australia's lowly position in world cricket at the time (this was '86) and I just told them we'd come good soon enough, no worries, because that's what I always thought about any of our sports team. After we'd crapped on about Sunil Gavaskar, Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee, Alan Border and Bradman it was time to pull up stumps and head off.
"Fuck off, Bishan!"
Time for an early night before hitting the Greyhound trail again, ever closing in on Toronto.
Next time I'll take you through Sault St Marie and into Toronto.