Its been a wonderful weekend for observers of controversy, less so for those of us who are still interested in upholding the Spirit Of The Game.
Now, there are 42 laws of cricket, each one complete with numerous subsections, and any but the most studious of cricketers can possibly be forgiven for skipping over a few subsections towards the end. However, I dread to think what would actually happen if certain players ever did read all 42 of the laws with their accompanying verbiage, as the opportunity to gain an advantage could be stretched way beyond the comprehension of most participants and spectators.
So, what is all the fuss about. Ask Stephen Fry…
Law 42, subsection 15 is the law in question, and relates to the run out of the non striking batsman. When it happens, it is a most unpopular dismissal, and whilst it is not illegal there are those that argue that it is not within the Spirit Of The Game. Incidentally, the Spirit Of The Game is not just some noble sentiment that those from a bygone era cling on to in order to remind themselves of the halcyon days of plated salad teas, sunny summer Saturdays and cricketing whites without a hint of garishly coloured names, numbers and footwear. It even has its own acronym (SOTG Luke), and is mentioned in the preamble to the laws of the game.
But is “hutching” the only thing that goes beyond the SOTG? Absolutely not, and when Dale removed the bails and confirmed the dismissal of the Birch Vale batsman on Saturday, he had not only given a prior warning (to a different batsman, but by inference, the whole team), he had also seen his entire team subjected to constant abuse and sledging that even one of the officials remarked was above and beyond!
However, two wrongs do not make a right, and whilst sledging and abuse seems to constantly go unpunished in the first division, hutching is a very public display of acting within a law that many probably do not fully understand, and many more think is unfair. But it is a law.
Let he who is without sin…. and as I have previously stated, the hutching incident is a very public display, whilst what goes on in the confines of the field and particularly the square can often be missed by vociferous and opinionated spectators. If the batsman was indeed without sin then the uproar would still not be justified.
However, in the interests of Whaley Bridge Cricket Club it would certainly help for the blameless first team captain to look in the mirror and ask himself is it all worth it? Canvass his players, perhaps? And rise above the furore that social media seems only too happy to fuel.
Maybe next season we could even win the Fair Play award as a club, because at the moment, winning the second team award for Fair Play seems a bit like Susan Boyle winning “Rear Of The Year”.
And Ive not even started on the debacle at Hadfield on Sunday yet……