I was bowled by a girl on Saturday. I am sure it is sexist of me to make a distinction, but there is still a certain stigma attached to it, which most males will attest to. As it happens, the girl who bowled me plays for Devon and fielded brilliantly throughout our innings. Her bowling was a bit short, but that delivery nipped in off a good length and went through my swinging gate. Of course, my â€˜friendsâ€™ in the pavilion celebrated louder than the opposition.
Is this all wrong? I genuinely donâ€™t know. It is so rare that we play against women that it is never usually an issue. But somehow it is always an issue whenever we do. Men tend to react in two different ways to this scenario. They either get nervous, because they know that if they get out or get creamed round the ground, their team-mates will remember it for ever. But if they hit her out the park or get her out, they will get no credit for it.
The other reaction is to come over all patronising and bowl really slowly or just pat the ball back. This tends to backfire if the lady in question is better than they are. Given the standard among the men is so varied in village cricket, there is no reason why women of all levels shouldnâ€™t be involved, but somehow I can see that being resisted by what is a male-dominated sport. Perhaps most women would prefer to leave us competitive men to beat our chests and measure egos for six hours, while they do something else more productive.
Am I simply being a sexist oaf who should get over it already and stop wittering? Do lady players find opposition blokes patronising or do they relish the challenge of making them look stupid? Do other guys have the same views? Have you been cleaned up or smacked about by a girl? Is there perhaps a girl who leads your clubâ€™s attack or scores lots of runs against the men? Is it more common in other countries? Is this the same in other sports? Help me out here.