Monday, 28 November 2011

Against the Wall

Jennospot 45  Against the Wall

The boys reckoned as 'ow the girls couldn't play cricket, ter say nuffunk of all them ovver games wot girls don't usually play, so we decided ter show 'em just 'ow wrong they were. Peter St John wrote it all down in "Gang Loyalty". This is 'ow it all started:

"Golfball marked out the stumps and bails on the red bricks of the school wall. Since it was his bat and ball, he had first innings. He tossed his ball to Braces. Meanwhile, I stepped out fifteen paces, scratched a line in the gravel and put my gasmask box against it to mark the bowler's crease.

Jenno stood to one side watching.

Golfball scored only two runs before Braces clean-bowled him. I picked up the ball and went to the bowler's crease, while Braces took the bat and positioned himself in front of the wicket. He patted the ground at his crease with the bat a couple of times and then glanced up at me to indicate he was ready.

‘C'n Oi play?’ asked Jenno suddenly.

‘Girls don't play cricket,’ growled Braces. ‘C'mon Peter— bowl.’

‘Don't see why not,’ said Jenno. ‘There's only three of yew. One more would make it more interestin' loike. Besides, Oi'm yer sister.’

‘Oi told yew din't Oi— girls don't play cricket.’

‘Aw, c'mon Braces. Jus' this once. It ain't goin' ter do yew no 'arm.’ She turned to me. ‘Ain't that so, Peter?’

It was a clever move. She knew very well that, as her friend, I was likely to support her. ‘She'll help give better fielding coverage,’ I said. ‘So why not?’

‘Wot about yew, Golfball?’ asked Braces.

It was a mistake to ask Golfball: he was my ally.

‘Blimey, I reckon Peter's right when he says there's only three of us,’ said Golfball.

Braces was outnumbered, so he didn't insist. He looked a bit sour about it all the same.

‘Okay, Jenno,’ I said. ‘Put your gasmask down by the wall and stand over there, the other side of the wicket from Golfball. Do you know what to do?’

Jenno shot me a frowning glance. ‘Oi'm not daft. Oi've watched yew boys playin' often enough ter know wot ter do. We're goin' ter get moi bruvver out. So don't talk so much an' bowl.’

I bowled.

Braces blocked my first ball, and the second. The third he slipped past Golfball for four runs.

‘Stand a bit further back,’ I called to Jenno.

My next ball I delivered exactly like the previous one. Braces hit it neatly into Jenno's hands.

‘Out!’ she cried exultantly.

Braces reluctantly passed the bat to her. She tossed the ball under-arm, back to me.

I had two more balls to go in my over of six. Jenno neatly blocked them both. She had obviously learned something from watching the boys play.

‘Gimme the ball now,’ said Braces although strictly speaking it was Golfball's turn to bowl. Braces had a determined look on his face. He bowled a fast ball that Jenno hit over my head for two runs.

‘Spread out yew two,’ cried Braces, waving us further back from the wicket before he launched his second fast ball.

Jenno hit it sideways and scored another two runs. Her brother scowled. But before he could bowl again, the bell sounded for the start of school.

I gathered up my gasmask and joined Golfball as we moved to take our places in line prior to filing into class. ‘Don't open your milk-bottle at the break,’ I murmured. ‘See me first.’

Golfball looked surprised, but he nodded. ‘Blimey, Jenno's pretty nifty with a bat,’ he muttered.

‘Perhaps she's been practicing with the GGG,’ I replied. ‘But I wonder if she can bowl.’

"Gang Loyalty" Chapter 7

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