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A Land of Backyard Cricketers

by Rupert McCall

When I sit and watch the cricket, there's a place I often go
Through a window, where I stare upon a yard that needs a mow
There I am - the youngster with the grin from ear to ear
Although those days have left me now, the memories are clear
Of a willow hurled in spirals to the call of "Hills or Flats"
By a kid who knows for certain - if he wins the toss, he bats
On a track where something well pitched up
could whistle past your scone
Where no man got out 'leg before' though 'nick behind' was gone
'One hand off the house' was fair, the road was 'six and out'
And that six was often worth it if the fruit was there to clout
"Hit the car - you're gone my friend - the shed is that way son!"
In the name of backyard cricket, geez we had some bloody fun.

The rubbish bin was put in place and everything was apples
Your neighbours were the Poms of course,
and you, the mighty "Chappells"
To be bowled by one's own brother was the ultimate in shame
And until you knocked his melon off, you hadn't cleared your name
Then, sometimes when you took the crease,
you'd face like Allan Border
If you were naturally right handed,
there were problems made to order.

Still, you'd raise your bat to barking dogs
when runs were flowing freely
While the keeper chewed your ear off like his idols, Marsh and Healy
To bowl and stare like Thommo often had the batsman itchy
As you 'walked the walk' like David Boon
and 'talked the talk' like Richie
You'd shout HOWZAT like DK did and chew the gum like Viv
For the sake of dreams, there was nothing that a player wouldn't give.

In a land of backyard cricketers - it's always been the way
From the boyhood dreams of Bradman to the yards of kids today
Where, once, they played like Morris,
Brown and Miller for their scores
Today they star as Glen McGrath, as Warney, or the Waughs.

Remember all those years ago in days of make believe
When your country's hopes depended
on the magic you could weave?
A record score was needed and the odds they said were 'zero'
But they didn't know the script was being written by the hero
As the winning runs were belted down behind the barbecue.

You wondered in your wildest dreams if fairytales came true
But that's the land we live in and the people that we've been
And the glitter at the rainbow's end well, that's the baggy green
And just ask Adam Gilchrist if that dream was worth his while
Just ask Justin Langer - and I bet you'll get a smile.
It's a smile that spells the future for this cricket-loving nation
And gazing out my window, now it gives me inspiration
Yes, I think I'll tape the old ball up and mow myself a wicket
Then I'll ring the boys,
"The square's prepared - let's play ourselves some cricket!"

Find more poetry by Rupert McCall at


Australian English has an exstensive library of creative, colourful slang and colloquialisms. If you need help translating "A Land of Backyard Cricketers" you can access the Brink Glossary.

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