I’ve never met a South African who didn’t love meat. It’s true – these people are mad for meat. Even if meat goes bad, that lot will still eat it: they just load it up with spices, dry it out and call it biltong. They’ll even eat those big antelope looking things that can play rugby. At least, that’s what my local Walkabout bar has lead me to believe. It could be Aussie bias.
I work with a Saffa who seems genuinely fascinated by my vegetarianism. She enjoys learning about my new favourite recipe and is quick to like my foodie pics on instagram, but the one time I mentioned to her that she seemed like she might like to be veggie herself my mother heard her laughing all the way from Australia.
If you think I’m wrong, you should ask Dan Whiting. In his new book, the Definitive Guide to Club Cricket, he mentions that Saffas are “as strong as an ox (before eating the ox, presumably) and like to eat meat”. In fact, he dedicates two whole chapters to the food in club cricket. One is, in a rather misleading manner, titled the Overseas player but don’t let it fool you – it’s Dan’s personal celebration of the great food that invariably accompanies the well-travelled team members.
This is not a book about food, however, despite that fact that Dan has betrayed his obsession with it. It’s actually a tongue-in-cheek look at life within club cricket, and it’s bound to resonate with a lot of readers.
Whiting has clearly been around the club cricket block a few times; you’ll enjoy what he has to say. The Definite Guide to Club Cricket is a run down of typical club cricket characters and situations, my favourite being the only man to ever be pleased to get a phone call about PPI, followed closely by the away-game-fat-bastard.
It covers a load of familiar things, like the kit and the yips, as well as incredibly important things, like the well-honed skills of the jug avoider, ball-on-box reverberations and the joys of the club cricket tea that has made its way through the system a little too quickly. Note to self: keep an eye on Dan when out for a few tipples – the man is a self-confessed master of jug avoidance.
I confess I didn’t enjoy it as much as Whiting’s earlier offerings and its demographic is probably narrower, but it’s still a book to make you smile. Anyone who has ever been involved in club cricket – the overseas player, the aging player, the wife, the scorer, the bent umpire or even the cricket club dog – is sure to get a giggle out of the Guide.
And hey, Dan, I might have a beach-addled Aussie brain but I’ve been both a cricket and a swimming mum, and I’ve been the cause of male cricket widowhood more than once – we bolshy women deserve a chapter of our own. I curse you with the Shidas touch!
The Definitive Guide to Club Cricket by Dan Whiting
Published by CreateSpace Indepedent
Available from Amazon for £7.99