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Badgers, Guns and Pies: An A-Z of Village Cricket

Updated: May 17

Sometimes the jargon of cricket can be quite overwhelming for anyone new to the game.


So we've put together a little village cricket dictionary to help the uninitiated get to grips with the language of the not-so-beautiful game.


Agricultural

Ugly but effective. Generally, it’s when the batsman swings at a ball outside off stump and hacks it over the legside with ‘all the grace of a reversing dump truck’.


Not one for the purists.

Badger

Lives and breathes cricket. Wakes up every morning and checks his Play-Cricket average... it’s still 10.21.

Cat

The old bloke in the team who still gets a run out every week. Every time the ball approaches he pounces on it and underarms it back to the gloves (see keeper).


Down-the-throat

The ball loops up from an ill-advised lofted drive and it’s a simple catch at mid-off. Straight down the fielder’s throat... still manages to drop it though.


Eleven

Number of players you have on a Friday night for your 1pm game on Saturday. Eight is the number you have on Saturday morning when one is hungover, one has to look after the kids and the other has no transport to the game.


Fishing

‘Wait for the bad ball.’ The non-striker says trying to calm your nerves as you’ve viciously hit out at the last three balls on a good length outside off. You’ve no longer got a bat in your hands but a rod, you’re fishing for the ball.


Gun

Best player on the pitch. He’s Barry’s best-mate’s son who’s just in town for the weekend, used to play for Gloucestershire U14s, bats, bowls, can keep if you need him to as well, played a season of Grade Cricket too. Unfortunately your skipper fancies himself today so gives him 5 overs to bat at the end and only bowls him 3rd change.


Howzat!

The correct way to appeal for an LBW or catch behind. Often gargled by the alcoholic at 2nd slip becoming any sort of exclamation if the ball passes the outside of the bat. The Umpire gives it not out.


Inches

Fresh from being hit back over his head for 6, the next ball is generously left well outside the stumps by their best (see Gun) bat. The bowler howls and cries ‘INCHES’. Clearly a man who has a better understanding of metric rather than imperial.


Jaffa

Also known as: ‘Rip-snorter’, ‘Bamboozeler’ or ‘Corker’. A ball that is completely unplayable; swings in, then out, fizzes, dips, seams and turns the wrong way. At least that’s what your number 8 says as he gets another single figure score.


Keeper

Arguably the most under-valued member of the team. Wicketkeepers are constantly involved in the game, but their hard work often goes unnoticed. However, one mistake and everyone knows about it.

Loosener

The first ball of your opening bowler's spell. It flies fast, wide and to the boundary. ‘Sorry mate... loosener!’ He shouts to the Captain. Goes on to bowl another 3 in the over.


Minefield

The pitch has been prepared by the only man in the club willing to do it. Mad Phil. No one knows what he does for a job but he’s definitely not a groundsman. A par score on the ground is 85 and hopefully someone doesn’t fall into a badger set.

(Photo credit: "Village Cricket Pitch"by mikecogh is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Nibble

Has multiple meanings:

  1. The pitch is doing a bit, slight movement away from the military medium second change, movement he hasn’t seen since 2006.

  2. You’ve been trying to get in the batsman’s head the whole innings, a little comment here and there, finally a little ‘shut up’ under his breath. He may be winning the war but you’ve won the battle.

Offie

Where the captain goes during tea to grab some fags and a can of Stella after you’ve been bowled out for under 100 again.


Pies

You have your 5 bowling options. Perfect. Until your opening bowler injures himself fielding on the boundary and you need 3 overs from someone. You turn, begrudgingly to the pie chucker. Usually only bowls during inter-club games where he gets smashed all over the park. Exhale… let’s get through this, everyone out on the boundary.


Quality

A sight seldom seen in village cricket and so is often incorrectly used to describe a leave or a long barrier.


Ringer

Comes in two forms. The Gun (as mentioned earlier) and the Novice. The Gun as we’ve previously mentioned can win you the game single-handedly. The Novice can lose it. Hasn’t played since school and only plays because his mate begged him as ‘it’ll be a good laugh before the pub’.


Seed

Another form of the word jaffa but a seed (often used in a sentence as an ‘absolute seed’) takes wickets. Swings out and hits the top of off, wow!!


Trigger

Everyone disappears when it’s time to swap over the umpires but the captain who’d usually do the honours is currently hogging the strike. As a 14 year old heads out to fulfil the duties, one of the seniors teaches him the basics and says ‘Anywhere near the pads, trigger the captain, we need to up the run rate.’


Unplayable

The moon ball. Looks like it’s there to be hit. You miss. You’re bowled.


Village

The lowest form of the game. Missed catches, bad throws, dodgy umpiring decisions, stupid shots.


Wouldn’t change it for the world.


Wall

Your 60 year old opening batsman, this is how he’s always played. Always good for 30 runs but my god does he bore you getting there. Time to send out an inexperienced umpire to trigger him and get the game going.


X-Rated

Ian Bell’s cover drive should come with a parental guidance warning. It’s absolute filth.



Yes-no-yes

The immortal words from the indecisive batsman as he hits it straight to gully but reckons he’ll be safe to run to the non-strikers end. He leaves you stranded, staring at the stumps as a direct hit ends your day.


Zip

Mrs Brown has repeatedly told the captain that Noah won’t be playing any cricket for the village until his exams are over. Everyone has heard great things about Noah, apparently he’s in Derbyshire’s junior set up but no one has seen him bowl since he was 13. Finally he plays and bloody hell he puts some zip on the ball. Unfortunately he gets a girlfriend a week later and you never see him play again.


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