David Moseley

The strange habits of wives, Part II

2013-09-25 13:05

David Moseley

My wife. Sigh. She's lovely, but she's here to test my patience with her poorly-timed requests for water just as I sit down, or asking if I've fed the dog as we get into bed, or bellowing from the bathroom that she needs a towel as I'm about to walk out the door. Of course, I should have seen it coming.

About three years ago I was at Newlands with some friends and the lovely, yet as we'll discover, plagued by bad timing Robyn. Due to a rain delay we were sitting patiently on the grass bank waiting for play to start between the Proteas and England.

Because we only had tickets for the grass we had arrived early, about two hours before the start of play, to secure the best spot. Thanks to the morning rain, though, the first ball was delayed for an hour past the scheduled start.

When the umpires eventually came out to inspect the pitch the ground was jam-packed, with the grass bank facing the mountain heaving with eager spectators. For three drizzly hours we'd sat still, protecting our prime position on the edge of the boundary and waiting for the crucial first ball of the Test.

Test cricket is all about that first ball and the first over on the first day. True cricket lovers will always make an effort to be there on day one in good time to see the first delivery go down.

If your side is batting, your presence at the ground is essential to ensure a wicket is not taken. Or if your team is bowling, they desperately need you in the stands so the first ball will take a wicket.

Missing it is a non-negotiable. For non-believers, I can only compare it to reading a book but avoiding the first chapter, or driving a car without starting it.
You're missing something critical to the process. If you don’t see that first ball the whole Test can be ruined.

So naturally, as Graeme Smith fiddled about at the crease preparing to face Jimmy (now James) Anderson, after three hours of waiting you'll recall, Robyn says, "It's quite cold now, David. Please can you get me a hot chocolate." (You’ll notice I’ve left the question mark out of that sentence, because we all know it wasn’t a question, it was a statement. A test, if you will).

My group of friends, about six in total, immediately jumped to life, mouthing silent "ooohs" as they turned to face me. The crowd chatter stopped as (it seemed) they waited for the response. Even Jimmy Anderson halted his run up in anticipation of my answer (or that's how I like to remember it).

Neil instantly came to my defence, "You can't ask him that, Robyn. The first ball is about to be bowled." Carlo shook his head in dismay. The crowd hung on every word, sensing domestic strife. "It’s okay," I huffed. "I’ll go." Neil locked eyes with Smith out in the middle, neither of them quite believing what they'd just witnessed.

As I trudged behind the concrete walls of the stadium a roar went up. Smith had successfully defended the first and managed a single.

While waiting for what presumably must have been the world’s finest tasting hot chocolate, such was the fussy care the vendor took in preparing it, another roar, this time somewhat muted.

Rushing back to the grass, I saw the scoreboard. Ashwell Prince had been caught behind off the fourth ball of the over.

"See. See what you've done,' I said to Robyn despairingly. "What? What happened?" she asked. "When do they start playing?"

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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