|The Authentic All-Action Cricket Game|
The way this game worked is that you rolled cylinder number one, and this gave you either 1,2,3,4,6 or Owzthat. You then had to roll cylinder two which had Bowled, Caught, Run Out, LBW, Not Out or No Ball. You needed a scoring sheet, and this game was the source of many a wasted afternoon in an era when we had only three television channels, and one of them showed Open University programmes for most of the day. Owzthat kept you occupied as your parents, or grandparents watched the delights of Pebble Mill or Crown Court.
|The cylinders of Owzthat...lethal!|
Then along came Test Match. A proper game, with action and needing skill to play. Made by Peter Pan games (Peter Parfitt would have struggled to get a big score in Test Match), this was the ultimate, the Don Bradman of cricketing games, the daddy. Mine had a photo of Ian Botham playing a hook shot on the box, although I believe that earlier versions had Freddie Trueman on there. Later versions showed Beefy with David Gower, with Botham resplendent with his Duncan Fearnley Attack bat that he was promoting at the time. You know, the one that cost £19.99 that he slayed the Aussies with! Yeah right...In the other corner were a group of kids, with bowl headed haircuts, coiffeured by lazy barbers of the time or to save 50p, by their mum.
As for the game itself, the bowler had the silver ball in a cup and if you flicked his left arm the ball left the cup and went down a long chute towards the batsman. Experienced aficionados of the game worked out that if you jiggled the bowler about the ball would then slalom down towards the batsman, with inswing, outswing, leg spin, off spin and top spin all in the same delivery. Deadly Derek Underwood on a wet one couldn't even do this, and this was long before cricketers had learned to scratch one side of the ball up for reverse swing.
|The Test Matcher even built stands with lego!|
As for the batsman, he was held together by an elastic band and you would have to pull his bat up with a bit of string. The bat would than come down and strike the ball, albeit by a batsman who moved his feet as much as an out of touch David Gower. Fours were scored by hitting the ball to the edge and sixes, impossible to hit when a ball rolls along the deck as Trevor Chappell taught us during this era, were scored by two small corners at deep mid wicket and deep extra cover. Often these were more by accident with a thick outside or inside edge as the shag pile of many a seventies carpet would have the bias of a crown green bowl, and what was a silky off drive became a six. Rings were in place for dot balls, singles, twos and threes.
Catches were by a group of fielders who caught the ball in an area between their legs. No I am not talking where Bumble copped one off Jeff Thomson in 1975, but in a plastic area between the feet. If the fielder fell over, as they often did, then we would deem that a dropped catch. Listen, these were our rules, in our game ok!
|Lack of foot movement? No problem|
Test Match could also be a painful experience. Kneeling on a fielder was beyond the threshold, whilst the odd swipe of the cat's claw as the silver ball came down would often interfere with play. No need for George Davis style protests when feline interjections would regularly occur in this arena. Playing on a carpet would favour the bowlers, whilst on a formica MFI table the batsman was in the ascendancy.
We all loved Test Match. If you are between 35 and 55 you will have nodded your head in agreement numerous times as you read this and will understand completely what I am talking about.
The rest of you...you have seriously missed out.