Keith thoroughly enjoyed his birthday on Saturday, December 17, with a number of Ukarumpa folk coming together for The Oval Birthday Test. Only it wasn’t his birthday being celebrated, but that of an American mission colleague. We discovered that Joshua and Keith share a birthday after Becky, Joshua’s wife, purchased a cricket set we advertised on the local intranet. She wanted to surprise Joshua with a birthday treat, as he had experienced cricket while on a ministry trip to India, and became fascinated by the sport.
The sale of the cricket set was quickly negotiated to include a coaching session, and umpiring a friendly match on a patch of lawn locals refer to as ‘the upper oval’. Keith mowed and marked out a standard pitch, then had a fun morning explaining the basics of the game, answering many questions from our US friends such as, “Can you tag the runners with the ball?” and “Why are there two batters at the same time?”. He translated as much as possible – ‘pitch’ for ‘bowl’, and ‘home plate’ for ‘stumps’ – and avoided the complexities of fielding positions such as silly mid-off and the slips cordon.
As it was, Keith’s use of cricketing jargon as play progressed drew laughter from the participants – noting Becky’s work as a ‘gun fielder’, and a team mate ‘putting down a sitter’.
The end result – the SIL Internationals, 0 dominating the Harber Reds, -36 – came about due to Keith’s rule variation which allowed a batter to remain after getting out, with a 5 run score deduction instead. Some fairly reckless attempted quick singles by the Reds saw the wickets tumble, with one player commenting, “I was so excited to actually hit the ball I just wanted to run!”. Stopping mid pitch to recover a hat after it fell off during a quick run didn’t help the outcome much either
The positive response from players has inspired Keith to consider another match on the main High School sports oval around the time of Australia Day, with two 11-person teams and something akin to standard rules. Should be a bewdy!
- Give thanks that Keith had such an awesome, unexpected birthday treat with our US friends
- Praise God for laughter, and the experience of two cultures coming together