You, dear reader, may blame Suldog for this post, if indeed blame is to be attributed. You see, Jim wrote about how, when he was a few years younger than he professes to be now, he managed a baseball team which was known (or maybe unknown) as the Green Sox. You can read about it right here if you feel so inclined.
I told him (in the comments), "One day - if you twist my arm very hard - I'll explain how I opened the batting for England against Australia"
Jim, who is never one to shirk a challenge, immediately took me up, replying, "I would LOVE to hear the story. Cricket, I assume"
So you see, it really is his fault that I am inflicting this cricketing tale on you.
I had quite forgotten about this story until I read Jim's post and I would have thought that it probably happened in the summer of 1954. That may well be the case, but I had also thought that the Australian cricket team were touring England whereas they were in England in the summer of 1953. But exactly when it happened is immaterial.
At that time, it was possible to buy a game which I now find is spelt "Owzthat". The tin measures just over an inch on the longest side and contains two hexagonal dice. One is the batsman's die and the sides are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and Owzthat. (I should perhaps explain that, in cricket, the fielding side appeals to the umpire by shouting, "How's that?") The second die is the umpire's and the sides are marked ‘bowled’, ‘caught’, ‘not out’, ‘stumped’, ‘L.B.W.’ (leg before wicket) and ‘no ball’.
The batting side starts the game by rolling the batting die. Any runs
signalled are recorded on the scorecard. When a 'owzthat' appeal is
signalled, the umpire die is rolled for a decision. The batsman has a
1/3 chance of being not out, if the 'Not Out' or 'No Ball' is signalled.
As in real cricket a 'No Ball' entitles the batsman to an additional
strike (roll) and an extra run. A batsman is out if 'bowled', 'stumped',
'caught', or 'L.B.W.’ are signalled, and the next batsman comes to the
crease. Depending on the cricket format the batting side is dismissed
when all the batsmen are out or and if the over limit is reached. The
other side then bats in an attempt to score more runs and hence win.
The game I remember was the one in which England (me) played Australia (can't remember who) and I opened the batting together with the now legendary Len Hutton. Among the other members of the England team were Peter May , Colin Cowdrey and (my favourite) Godfrey Evans.
I know that England won the real-life Ashes series of 1954-55, but just who won the match in which I played is a fact lost in the mists of time.
There are several Owzthat games for sale on Ebay with asking prices as high as £30 - but I don't think I will be tempted, although this was a very popular game 60 years ago.