A Cricket Umpire Should Never Count His Victims!
Cricket lends itself brilliantly to statistics but Eddy Cousins probably took it a little too far. He was a cricket umpire and he used to count his own ‘victims’. “How’s it going this season Eddy” I used to ask. “Not as good as last year, a bit too much rain about” Eddy would reply. He knew exactly what I meant!
He was a small man with very distinctive protruding teeth, very much like Ken Dodd. A flat cap and a long white coat completed the ‘Grim Reaper’ look. To many batsmen he was the ‘Grim Reaper’ when he ended their time at the crease. At tea time the art of ‘butterfly bun’ cake eating has never had a finer exponent. But Eddy was feared by cricketers far and wide. Sooner or later they would become one of his ‘victims’ and be given out in controversial circumstances.
“That was never out” they would shout at Eddie but he was always ready with his stock answer. “You might not think you were out, but take a look in the Gazette & Herald (local paper) next Thursday”. Sure enough it was there, next Thursday, in black & white!
Skippy was an excellent cricketer and a very accomplished batsman but he was a ‘victim’ of Eddy’s three times in a row one season. L.B.W. every time. Skippy was getting fed up with this so he devised a plan. He heard that Eddy was partial to eating a ‘Hare Pie’ so he arranged for a local gamekeeper to catch a hare. One of the local ladies baked the ‘Hare Pie’ for Skippy and the pie was duly presented to Eddy.
It was the last game of the season when Skippy and Eddy saw each other again. “Did you enjoy that ‘Hare Pie’ Eddy” Skippy asked? “It was Champion lad” Eddy replied. “One of the best I’ve ever had”. Skippy was very happy that Eddy had enjoyed the ‘Hare Pie’.
The game was very close and Skippy was the last main batsman. The bowler charged in to the crease and hit Skippy on his pads. “How is that” screamed the bowler and the rest of the fielders! Skippy smiled to himself, thinking he was safe because of the ‘Hare Pie’ but Eddy raised his finger to give him out. “Sorry lad but I needed one ‘victim’ to make it a hundred for the season”. It was Eddy’s last chance to complete his century! Skippy was not very pleased as he trundled back to the pavilion!
Sadly Eddy died a few years later and his ashes were spread on the outfield between the pavilion and the wicket. Cricket lost a great character! I would not swear on this but I am sure I have seen a few batsmen do a little stomp, when going out to bat, just where Eddy’s ashes were put!
A local player e-mailed and said that their team bought Eddie cream buns before every game.
He was not sure if it did them any favours, but I seem to recall that they won one of the local club competitions three times in a row back in the 1970’s!