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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Page #21 & 22 of “OUT OF IT” a novel by Michael O’Leary

“Listen ta me son, even the St Bernard thought the Irish (and that’s us – never forget!) – thought the Irish were barbarians with no sanity and no law – beasts rather than men he called us!”
Dad’s eyes, like all the organs in his body, were on fire. He took a slug and continued – “even he based his condemnation of the Irish fo havin’ no marriage on a mis-conception!” It was too much for dad, the tears rolled down his cheeks and his laughter rolled around the room like thunder after the lightning flash of humour. After an interval he continued somewhat hesitantly and with his eyes closed, as though he would not be able to continue if he looked at someone else. He had quite an audience by now and what had been a private talk between father and son meant to lead into my introduction to Miss O'Shea, became an open lecture, in the history of Irish marriage before those “heathen Christians” as he called them, arrived. He went on like a saint in a trance “it’s not a though there was no marriage and a kind of universal concubinage existed,” he took a swig to wipe the smile which threatened to break out into open laughter, off his face, “no, but there was like a custom with a mutual promise of marriage – then the two lived together until they got married or got sick of each other.” All sorts of drunken cries were coming me father’s way, most condemning him for being anti Holy Roman. But he didn’t care and said “You should never be listening to grown up conversation – come now Patrick Sean Michael Malone, come over here and meet Maureen O’Shea and marry her….”

“Oh! And there’s a terrible mix-up here and Hemi’s slipped over with his bare feet and I’m afraid that means Morrison has been run out.”
“Well, there you see the problem of using as runner, John. Morrison called his captain through, probably thinking that it would be on – but judging it as though he were doing the running himself. The chief, obviously eager to push the score along because of the weather, came. But, Baxter without shoes, struck what is obviously a bit of moisture out there, lost his footing and there you are.”
“I remember the hapless Geoff Howarth being run out in similar circumstances, Dennis. Howarth had got off to a good start for the first time in ages and then much the same thing happened. I forget which game it was exactly, I always confuse it with the one where Howarth had just moved out of his crease after John Wright, I think it was, had hit what looked to be a powerful scoring shot, but the ball came straight back towards the bowler, just glanced his hand and went into the wickets and the poor New Zealand captain was out!”
“One sees so many games that they do tend to merge don’t they. Anyway, this is the one which we have our focus on at the moment and as Morrison and Hemi make their way back I can tell you that after twelve overs the score is three wickets for ninety nine runs, leaving the Out if It team one short of a hundred. Morrison in the end scored twenty-three after that lovely performance in the last over of Chatfield’s first spell, hitting thirteen runs. Altogether he faced nineteen balls and was at the crease for just over twenty minutes, five of which were not played while the umpires checked the light.”
“Well, Dennis, Jim will be a little disappointed because he certainly looked in good touch. He played a couple of lovely pull shots which simply raced off to the boundary – Oh well, he’ll be thinking of what have been, no doubt…”

Cricket is strange when you’re a batsman
Muscle gets strained when you’re alone
Bowlers seam wicked the way that they bounce you
Even though they know your muscle’s been pulled
Cricket’s strange – runners come out in your place
Cricket’s strange – then they fall on their face
Cricket’s strange – a funny game
Cricket’s strange – all right now –

“I’d just like to return for a while to the over before last.”
“Oh yes, that was interesting Dennis, I assume you are referring to the fact that Bracewell’s spin completely baffled the Out of It Captain, indeed it almost had him L.B.W. off the last ball.”
“Exactly, John, it was of course a maiden over, and it really seemed to keep the chief – well, almost bemused I think would be a fitting term.”

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