THE MAESTRO of interpreting football and cricket commentary, LAWRENCE MONEY, digs out more gems from his priceless archives:
IT WAS a disappointing draw for both sides,” said a Channel Nine cricket panellist during the Ashes. It made me ponder – have there ever been any draws that involved only one side?
According to Krishanu Karmakar on the Quora website, there were 464 international test matches played between 2000-2009 of which 114 were draws. Over the next five seasons there were 201 matches with 52 drawn.
The stark fact is that all 166 drawn matches involved two sides. Yeah, I hear you. Cricket is full of freaky coincidences like that.
For example, Ray Bright once told ABC radio listeners that: “They lost two quick wickets, close to each other.” It’s positively eerie how quick wickets do that. F’rinstance, look how often the three wickets in hat tricks are squeezed together.
But let’s get back to the commentary box. The late great Norman May is at the mike again: “There’s a big appeal but the umpire’s not interested.” Bob Simpson: “He’s bowled him, Norman.”
It is possible that Norman needed better spectacles. Here he is, winning my In Slips Award back in 1984: “It’s a big swing, it’s in the air, and he’s out. Bowled.”
Well, whatever. Here’s Drew Morphett: “He’s made five 50s and three of those were 98s.” Drew was pretty sharp at maths. In the footy the previous season he had told Seven viewers: “You could count Schimma’s kicks on one hand – he’s had seven.”
Drew was also the bloke who noticed in 1984 that “the members stand is side-on here at the Adelaide Oval”, no doubt the reason why so many spectators had cricked necks. (Damned builder must have been holding the plans the wrong way around.)
Max Walker’s specialty often seemed to be bodily quirks. “The fieldsman is holding his hands in his head.” (No wonder he had trouble wearing a cap.) And how about: “His hands seem to be cupped upwardly down.” That was the first ascending descent since the invention of computer socks and the biggest sporting shock since Tony Greig noticed: “He’s not having any trouble getting his leg around the bat because his leg is no longer in the way.”
Tony had a sharp eye for anatomy. Here he is at the SCG in January 2009: “Slowly but surely the South Africans are clawing their way back into this match. (Pause, while Nine cameras pick up young woman with large chest.) “Oh boy, doesn’t she look gorgeous.” (Another pause, then to Bill Lawry), “Well then, say something. He won’t say anything. It has to be a pigeon before he comments.”
Lawry: “You dig a hole, you fill it up, mate”.
Wise words indeed.
Author: Lawrence Money
Lawrence Money has twice been named Victoria’s best newspaper columnist by the Melbourne Press Club. He wrote columns for 37 years on the Melbourne Herald, Sunday Age and daily Age — and in Royalauto and Your Sport magazines — before retiring in 2016 after a 50-year career in journalism.
He still treads the speaking circuit, does radio gigs, tweets on @lozzacash and chases a long-gone 13 golf handicap. He clings to the eternal hope that the Melbourne Demons will once again win a flag.