A Word In Your Ear - April 17, 2015

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The summer sporting season is here and this weekend I’ll be watching those men in white at Blackpool Cricket Club, beside Stanley Park.

What a pleasant prospect, savouring that gentle action from a grassy terrace, refreshing drinks to hand.

However, my introduction to the game was far from gentle. As a chubby 11-year-old I was chucked in at the sporting deep-end.

I’d played with bat and soft-rubber ball before, but preferred a tennis racquet – with which we also played French ‘cricket’.

It was a shock to face a ‘corky’ at full speed on my first outing in whites. There was a boy bowling who was an oddball and, therefore, picked on by others.

However, this gangling lad had discovered a talent - for fast bowling. Now he was getting his own back!

The batsman swung at a bouncer but missed the ball which, instead, hit him between the eyes. There were no helmets then. The lad collapsed backwards, unconscious, over his stumps.

As he was carried off, crying and bleeding, our school games master turned and with a menacing grin shouted: “Edmonds, you’re next!”

I swung the bat gamely, as much to protect myself as make runs. However, that hard corky sank into my puppy fat, bruising thighs, hips and even backside before, thankfully, hitting middle stump.

Nowadays I boast such ‘hard-school’ training was character building, as I watch with a beer rather than playing.

However, fate also delivered a corking blow to that sadistic master.

In a staff versus boys game, a fielding colleague waved across to him during a lull - then tossed the ball high for him to catch.

Unfortunately, our teacher’s eyes had moved elsewhere - to some young mums in the crowd. The ball struck him out of the blue - on his head.

‘Sir’ was ignominiously stretchered off, perhaps not crying but certainly bleeding.

* For Roy’s books, visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com.