The cricket season is over. Our boy’s teams did really well, with both making their respective semi-finals. No2’s team lost their semi, while No1’s team won their semi-final making the U12 Div1 Grand Final. The team, as a whole, worked really hard on their fielding this season, and that seemed to make most of the difference. Catches win matches, as the saying goes.
The final was a difficult match. Our team was expecting to have to fight hard, against a team that had outplayed every other team in the division this season. To add to that, they had a reputation for unsporting behaviour; sledging and the like. In the end, the reputation was correct. Our opposition pushed the rules as far as possible, even with the presence of a professional umpire. They had many little underhanded tactics, such as seating the scorers (a volunteer from each team) with their team. The scorers are supposed to sit away from the players and their parents. This team used the excuse of the shade, or lack of, to seat the scorers with them. And then spent the first innings (while we bowled) niggling the scorers.
“That was a no ball”
“No, the umpire didn’t call it. No run” said our scorer. This was continuous, an attempt to wear down the scorer and inflate their run tally.
Near the end of their batting innings, they made a complaint to the umpire that we’d been sledging. The umpire declined to write that down, as we hadn’t. It was their attempt to set up a complaints process in case they lost.
When it was our turn to bat, they sledged. They slowed down the play. U12s works on time, with a minimum over rate, so it is in the advantage of the team bowling second to slow down the overs and ensure the other teams faces less balls (giving them less chance to get runs). The real kicker was their coach, standing as the square leg umpire, giving two runout chances out. In U12s, out means out. No second chances (unlike U10s when you just get negative runs for a wicket). One of those runouts was quite close – the rules of cricket are that you give benefit of the doubt to the batsman. This team gave it out. The other runout was clearly not out, as the keeper took the bails off with his hand after dropping the ball. The paid umpire can’t overrule the square leg umpire (coach) in this circumstance.
The worst part of all this unsporting behaviour was that our team was going to lose anyway. They put on 147; and we were 7/90 when they unfairly called those wickets. They were looking at a win, and yet they chose to cheat anyway. And did they celebrate the victory? No. Our boys walked onto the field and shook their hands, and they trudged off with their heads hanging low. When our boys won the semi, by contrast, they tore around the field yelping with joy and wrestling each other. I wonder what the point is, and what lesson those poor kids are learning from that environment.
The best thing about the semi-final win was that our lads won the game with 30 overs to spare. This meant that we finished early, and had time to go out for lunch. It was a hot, humid, Sydney day, so we decided to explore a beer garden nearby. The Golden Barley Hotel in Enmore markets themselves as having the biggest and best beer garden in the Inner West. We had to try it.
The beer garden is worth the visit. It’s tucked behind the pub, and the entrance way is down a little walkway with vegetation growing up and over the walkway creating a little green tunnel. The beer garden has plenty of plants, and all with nice height so you can’t see the neighbours. It is a well designed garden with lots of nooks to seat, and a designated spot for smokers out of the way. It does live up to the hype on the website. It is the best part of this pub. The inside attempts to be hipster (not really my kind of thing), and the carpet smells slightly of old frying oil. I’m glad we sat outside in the gorgeous garden setting, with the warmth of the sun filtered through the overhanging trees.
They have a good beer selection, with most of the local craft brews on offer, as well several others. The food menu is fairly standard and the kids meals seemed cheap at only $8 each. It was a good thing that we let the older boys order from the mains menu, however, as the kids meals were tiny when they arrived.
The main meals were quite good, flavourful and medium sized. It is really a mark of the expectation that we have now, that we expect pub food to be amazing. This didn’t quite live up to that expectation, yet it was good enough to satisfy.
In summary – the garden is excellent on a hot day, the beer selection is broad and interesting; and the food is quite good, even for burger snobs like us.