Jeder Cricket-Fan auf der Welt kennt Wisden, mit vollem Namen Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack, ein seit 1864 erscheinendes Periodikum, das im Cricketsport den Status von Bibel und Kuran imnehat. Seit 2012 erscheint The Nightwatchman – the Wisden Cricket Quarterly, ein Magazin, das sich ausführlichen und hochqualitativen Artikeln verschrieben hat, die mindestens ein bisschen von Cricket handeln. Im Guardian sagt Matt Thacker, der Herausgeber des Nightwatchman, worauf er und sein Team bei der Zusammenstellung eines Bandes Wert legen: “…quality of writing, geographical mix, split of cricket journalists and ‘outsiders’, gender mix, subject range, mix of big names and unknowns.”
Gleich eine ganze Reihe dieser Kriterien erfüllt ein Text von Crispin Andrews in der neuesten Ausgabe. Der Artikel “Complicated, illogical, effeminate” behandelt die Geschichte des Cricket in Deutschland – und trägt somit wahrlich zum geographischen Mix bei. Der Titel ist anscheinend ein Zitat Adolf Hitlers und benennt, was Hitler an Cricket nicht leiden konnte.
Glücklicherweise fand Mr. Andrews mehr Deutsche als nur Hitler, die sich mit Cricket beschäftigen und die er zitieren konnte. Er fand unter anderem ein paar Mitglieder des THCC Rot-Gelb und seines Schwesterklubs, des Heligoland Pilgrims Cricket Club. Offensichtlich war Crispin selbst froh, diesen Deutschland-Artikel nicht mit Hitler schließen zu müssen, denn er schreibt:
Thankfully, there are a lot of things about modern Germany that Hitler wouldn’t have liked: Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil – brilliant footballers of African, Tunisian and Turkish descent – lighting up the German national team with flair, physical presence and athleticism. Or The Scorpions, German heavy rock musicians, performing shows to sold out crowds all over the world and writing hit songs about Germany’s friendship with Russia.
And now, it seems, there are Germans who play cricket. Proper rules: pads, gloves and sometimes even helmets.
Last May, 34 of them jumped out of small open boats, onto the beach at Heligoland. There was no mooring place for the Cuxhaven Ferry on this famous little island, which used to be a British colony before the Brits traded it for Zanzibar in 1890. THCC Rot-Gelb Cricket Hamburg were to play Heligoland Pilgrims, a team made up of Hamburg players and friends from other local clubs. The same two sides met at the same place last year for the island’s first cricket match. Some players wore their whites on the ferry. Time was short. A two-day, two-innings, 30-overs-a-side match to get through. A return ferry to catch the following evening.
The game went to a nail-biting finish. The Hamburg captain was caught at long on with nine to win. “An unnecessary bold shot,” Hamburg player Tim Tigges called it. Tigges, who first played cricket at Green Point Cricket Club in Cape Town, wasn’t complaining though. The shot, the tension, as the ball flew towards the boundary fielder, just added to the drama.
Wahre Worte, wenn man unserem eigenen Bericht über dieses Spiel glauben mag. Der Erdinger Alkoholfrei Atlantik-Cup ist sicher ein großartiges Beispiel, wie man den Spirit of Cricket auch in die entlegensten Winkel der Welt führt. Und ein großartiger Gedanke ist es auch, dass Cricket-Liebhaber auf der ganzen Welt nun im Nightwatchman davon lesen. Darin lernen sie, Deutschland mit einer sehr sympathischen Haltung gegenüber Cricket zu verbinden, wenn Andrews ein geschätztes THCC- und HPCC-Mitglied zitiert:
Moritz Hagenmeyer, who bowls “slow-motion donkey-drops” for Heligoland Pilgrims, sees himself as the happy eccentric who plays for friendship, fun and the sheer joy of taking part. Hagenmeyer – who has followed the game since 1981 when he lived in Sidmouth and watched Botham’s Ashes on TV – says: “I can’t really play at all, but my friends know I’m mad, so it doesn’t matter.”
Wer den ganzen Artikel lesen möchte, kann die aktuelle Ausgabe (#7) für kleines Geld als E-Book auf der Site des Nightwatchman herunterladen. Für deutsche Cricket-Liebhaber lohnt sich diese Ausgabe ganz besonders – denn sie enthält gleich noch einen zweiten Artikel über Deutschland: “In search of Felix Menzel – Dan Waddell becomes obsessed by a man who lived for cricket in Nazi Germany”
Anscheinend können die englischen Schreiber nicht anders, als Deutschland nur im Zusammenhang mit der Nazi-Zeit zu nennen. Da ist es nur fair, wenn Crispin Andrews in seinem Artikel abschließend die Retourkutsche bringt:
Tigges thinks that it’s a good job for England that Germans didn’t take to cricket too seriously. “Will, determination, gamesmanship, efficiency, tactical awareness – with all our clichéd characteristics, we’d have been a premier cricketing nation by now,” he says. “But aren’t England used to inventing great games only to see other countries learn to play the game better?”
Swansea Law Society 207/5 (off 30 overs: T. Clayton 61*, D Owen 40*, N. O’Neill 29, N. Packer 24, T. Rees 13, Cam 5-1-11-1, Jürgen 2-0-11-1) withdraw their claims against THCC Rot-Gelb Hamburg Lawless Society 209/6 (off 29.1 overs: Satish 40, Mark R. 38*, George 36, Adrian 28, Matthew 16, Christian 13, R. Howell 6-1-23-2)
THCC Lawless Society: Steve (capt.), Adrian, Cam, Christian, George, Jürgen, Mark R. (trading as Hermann), Matthew, Moritz, Rick (+), Satish
Swansea Law Society: A. Murphy, A. Thomas, D. Owen, J. Clayton, J. Murphy, N. O’Neill, N. Packer (not related!), R. Howells, T. Clayton, T. Rees, reinforced by Mark B.
Hamburg 7.9.2014, Report by Max Minor, THCC cricket correspondent
The most recent overseas visitors’ team to THCC’s gem of a cricket ground came from Swansea in South Wales. The local Law Society had sent some of their learned members to Hamburg in order to plead a case of cricket. As much as they appealed, however, their claims were rejected by the home side, a predominantly lawless bunch of club members including four Germans and a single lawyer. Early in the morning, the Welshmen on their way, the ground staff had rolled out the new green carpet pitch. Then, under an overcast sky and the eyes of umpire Kev, in humid and somewhat sultry conditions, the visitors won the toss, elected to bat and scored a respectable total of 207 runs in 30 overs. Alas, the lawyers failed to defend this tally against a variable opposition whose bowling oscillated between the celes-tial and the abysmal but whose batting proved very reliable. When the proceedings closed it seemed like a close finish, the case could have been decided either way. Still, Captain Steve was never in doubt about the outcome. However, this game does not lend itself to a standard narrative; it stands out for some finer features of the trial which shall be mentioned in these minutes as follows.
Upon a certain code word, all Welshmen – whether in play or not – pulled a white card from their pockets and flagged it like a referee in an association football match. The last player to react was then condemned to lie flat on his back and wave with both hands and feet, thus cre-ating the impression of a beetle on his back. This proved particularly difficult for batting members of the team. The exact nature of the card was partly revealed after the match: It was a brief tour survival programme consisting essentially of addresses of Hamburg pubs (avoid dehydration), important German words and phrases like “noch ein Bier bitte” (hydrate) and “er interessiert sich nicht für Frauen” (avoid distraction), as well as some wonderful Welsh songs “to be sung upon request”. Unfortunately there is no photographic evidence of any of the Welshmen on his back so one has to rely on witnesses or hearsay in this respect.
Three THCC bowlers deserve special mention: Cam bowled his heart out, commencing with a maiden over, allowing only one run in each of his second and third overs and finally being rewarded for his tidy efforts with the best bowling average of the day. Jürgen got a fine wicket, too, with a surprise ball that edged to Steve at leg slip who held the awkward catch with one hand. And Christian took the most spectacular wicket all on his own, caught and bowled, the ball returning so fast to him that it reverberated from his hand before he could clinch it. Other bowlers, however, were less successful, allowing Swansea’s best batsman, T. Clayton, to reach an unbeaten half century, even permitting over 20 runs per over in spite of Rick’s reliable keeping performance.
THCC’s batting featured left handed Christian opening together with right handed Matthew, their solid start reaching almost 50 runs. Satish and Adrian, the weasel, followed suit expertly keeping the scoreboard ticking by running almost every ball and adding another 50 runs. Finally, big hitting Mark and George lashed out with 13 boundaries altogether until the target was within reach. Captain Steve had employed a flexible batting order, putting batsmen in and retiring them as he thought fit, which worked extremely well. When Jürgen missed a ball attempting another of his baseball-hits, the captain himself entered the crease and shifted the tally to within one run of winning in the penultimate over. A true sportsman, Steve then avoided a couple of wides at the end of the over so that the only club member who has con-tinuously worked on his scoop-shot this season was able to score the winning run with just that coup, much to the disgust of his coach.
So after both parties’ representatives had pleaded their cases, the decision was final: Swan-sea’s claim was thrown out. THCC had won another legitimate contest, fought according to the applicable laws, and, what is more, also to the spirit of the game. Needless to mention that everyone had got very thirsty. At last, after the necessary lubrication had been applied, the visitors were requested to entertain the home audience on the club house terrace with their Welsh songs which they did long into the balmy night.
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Elbe Bowl invite from Dresden came in as a gracious reminder from Dresden, after our ex-captain Su had initiated it few years back. Naturally, we were all charged up to get the bowl back and then started the planning for the trip. Doodles, car rentals, youth hostels, joins and drops were in plenty, but finally on a beautiful Saturday morning, 9 of us started towards Dresden.
Journey on autobahn as expected was uneventful, except for Jon and Christian wandering towards Göttingen instead of Magdeburg, but eventually we all reached at the same time.
We agreed on a 35 over match for Saturday, won the toss and decided to field (probably scared of batting first on an unknown wicket after Bremen match). Anyway, it looked like a good toss to win as Safiullah and Sandeep got plenty of swing to keep the run rate to a miserly 2 or 3 runs per over. Credit also goes to openers, who did not give away their wicket easily and first breakthrough came in close to 15th over, when the skipper bowled a fast (by his standards) straight ball. Satya claims that batsman could not see the ball, but others think the batsman probably missed the ball while aiming to deposit it in the Elbe. 2 quick wickets fell after that including the left handed patient opener who had made a 50, and we were back. Then came in Siva and we started the sequence of dropping catches. We kept feeding and he kept obliging and we kept dropping, this continued till he made a very aggressive 50 and took the score to 250+. Scores are scores, but it was hearty to see good keeping from Vinay and Mark; inspiring fielding from Jon and Silva; some thundering throws from Toufiq.
Lunch arrived with delicious Indian curries and we ate and then that’s it. 6 hr drive – 35 overs game – good food – next should be bed, but we had to bat. Vinay and Satya opened the whole season, but Satya was already sleeping, hence Christian agreed to step in. Soon Sandeep had to go in and Satya had to wake up. Well, to keep it short, we were all enticed to hit big shots by some delicious looking in swing bowls, only to realize after playing that either the ball hit the stump or we spooned it up. But, the MAN – Jon stood up to the good bowling and played with patience. It paid off, as he was the only one to enjoy the spinners later on. Michael scored his first run and the childish joy on his face was great to see. Finally, Bianca had to step in the score the remaining 200 odd runs, but Emily would not stay away long from her and she had to gift her wicket. That was the end of a good match played with good spirit and ended with good spirits (beer).
Evening was poker and street parties and pubs, with local guidance from Siva.
I am sure we all enjoyed! Sunday was rained off and it was a damp end to a lively tour.
Elbe bowl still with Dresden, and it has to come back to us in 2015 🙂
Report by Satya
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