A week before the start of the new season of Singapore’s indoor cricket competition, I enthusiastically accepted an invitation from Andrew Er of the Bedok Kings to come along and watch the action. We even agreed that if one of the Kings’ teams was short on numbers, I could fill in, thereby reliving my cricketing glory days. (Though, as a tail-end batsman and a “dibbly-dobbly” bowler, these days were few and far between.)
All sorted, then. Except for one thing. I had overlooked the date: my wedding anniversary.
Arranging a game of indoor cricket on this important night may not be the most stupid thing a man can do, but it ranks fairly high. To employ a cricket analogy, it’s a bit like Aussie batsman Dean Jones asking West Indian fast-bowler Curtly Ambrose to remove his wristbands during the 1993 one-day final at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Fortunately I have a very understanding wife. (More understanding than Curtly Ambrose, certainly.)
And so, with her blessing – and her breezy yet acute suggestion that I might think about arranging some romantic dinners in the coming weeks – I made my way to The Cage, near the National Stadium in Kallang.
If you’ve not been to The Cage (www.thecage.com.sg), it’s exactly that. A series of cages, in fact. They look like warehouses where battery hens might once have lived; these days, they’re full of sweaty blokes kicking footballs and smashing cricket balls after work.
By 7.30pm, more than a dozen Bedok Kings had gathered, along with other players from the 10 teams in the league. A game was already underway. The Kings were showing a few signs of rust from a six-week layoff, but there were flashes of brilliance, too.
Most of all, it looked like plenty of fun. Which probably explains why there was no spare slot for me to play – either that, or someone had gotten wind of my mediocre cricketing exploits at school.
But the Bedok Kings may not have seen the last of me yet. I’m thinking seriously about joining up for the next season, starting some time in late November.
Indoor cricket: how to play
Each team has six players, and each player takes a turn at batting (four overs) and bowling (two overs). Rules of traditional cricket still apply: you hit the ball and run between wickets to score runs (though there are also unique scoring “zones”), and you get batsmen out by having them bowled, caught or stumped. The main differences are the size of the playing surface (the same as futsal or indoor soccer) and the game time (around an hour).
The Bedok Kings
The Bedok Kings started primarily as a rugby club in 1996, with players from Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, England, Wales and elsewhere. Fourteen years later, aside from becoming the most successful rugby club in Singapore, the Kings have embraced new sporting endeavours including touch football and netball. This year, they added indoor cricket to the fold. The club currently has over 300 active members.
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