Every cricket club has a resident ginger. To see these individuals in mid summer, the sun gleaming off their auburn follicles, is a sight that we are all used to. Here we look at a species who is known to all across the world....the ginger cricketer.
Whether it be at village, club, Premier League, county or even England level, the greens of England are awash with ginger people not only playing cricket but cultivating freckles. I bet your club has at least one. If you are reading this in Ireland, then no doubt more. One club I played at had five, six foot five, ginger left handed batsman. I don’t know too much about life in this Hertfordshire village but I bet there was some flame haired lothario doing the rounds there in the Seventies.
For ginger people and the sun do not get on. Think Israel and Palestine, think Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, the relationship between the strawberry blond player and the big orange thing in the sky can lead to trouble. You see, for every time a ginger bloke goes and represents his club cricket team, he is literally putting his life on the line.
The ginger clubbie is always the first one to moan about the heat once the mercury in the thermometer goes above eighty degrees. A ginger whinger, not to mention a cringer. Duracell might go on for longer when it comes to batteries but for those club cricketers with a copper coloured top, the stamina tends to go first. The orange haired cricketer is much maligned. Having gone to a barber on a Saturday morning before his game of club cricket his day starts badly and can only get worse due to the ribbing of his team mates. Even barbers aren’t a fan, as they blunt their scissors with their coarse, wiry hair.
Gingers often have a temper on them too. A combination of heat and their freckled forearms going lobster like, can lead to some titian tantrums. The thing is, is that they rarely go at each other. Heard of the wicket keeping union? Well gingers have a code of conduct amongst each other. It might just be a nod at the start of play when you turn up or a warm shake of their mottled hands but there is definitely a solidarity amongst these carrot-topped clubbies. Even the post-match shower is an odd sight for us non gingers. To see someone with a good cricketer’s tan (face, v-neck and arms glowing) with the rest of them looking albino, with a small acorn nestling in their rusty brillo pad is a sight that no one really wants to become accustomed to after a game of cricket. Think Boris Becker’s pecker. Or even worse, the johnson of Boris, as the Americans call it.
The ginger cricketer is up against it. From the age of five, school has just been a dress rehearsal for the sledging that they come up against on a Saturday afternoon. They have been teased mercilessly since a young age so often have a load of comebacks up their dotted sleeve to give back to the abuser. However, give love to your club ginger. They need protection and with me being an ambassador for the wonderful charity at Melanoma UK, I know that the expense of Factor 50 sun screen that they must apply is more than most. A game of cricket in a hot summer must cost them a fortune. I would suggest that if the forecast is good and you have a side awash with those of a ginger nature, then buy shares in a sun cream company such as Uvistat. I think they even sponsored Jonny Bairstow for a while.
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Without these cricketing gingers, the Ashes of 2019 would have resulted in an Australian victory after the bravery of one of our very own on a warm Sunday at Headingley. Nor would the World Cup belong to us. The luck of the ginger, almost certainly resulted in the ball ricocheting off Ben Stokes bat down to the boundary in front of the Warner Stand. There was even a lifting of the trophy by a man with this clementine colouring.
As we read this in the cold of mid-winter, an ideal temperature for the natural habitat of this species, the ginger is far more content in the December climate than most of his team mates.
So be kind to ginger club cricketers. After all, my son is one.