'A Farewell to Rodders'
by Neil Harrison

Past the elms, and through the snicket
Strolling down to watch the cricket
Settle there on new-mown grass
Wond’ring what may come to pass.

See the bowler, feel the thrill
As leather thuds on Rodney Hill
The gasp at unexpected bounce
Read the imprint - 5 ounce.

Down goes Rodney to his knees
Show not it hurts – pretend to sneeze!
See the bruises, black and blue
And on the fringes, yellow too.
Even though convulsed with mirth
The opposition know his worth
Know he will not freely give
His wicket away – more chance to live.

Rodney faces up again
Grimaces, ignores the pain
Driving forward, edge past leg-peg
Fizzes down to deep fine leg
The bowler’s hands in supplication bend
Rod hastens to the other end.

Then Rod receives a savage blow
On comes an opposition bowler, slow
The ball of guile, thrown high with flight
Causes Rod some heart-felt fright
Relief! The ball bounces off the pad
Eludes the field – now Rodney’s glad
No need, now, for two-strength Pampers
As down the pitch our hero scampers.

Finally, Rod skies a catch
Safely taken, no mismatch
Thirty seven runs (not zero)
Rodney leaves the field – a hero
No ‘Raging Bull’, no savage Nero
A quiet smile – then cakes baked with Be-Ro.

The weather dulls, here comes the rain
We shall not see his like again
Stroll from the ground, pass through the snicket
We’ve seen Rodney playing cricket . . .

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