When the day is done, and the ball has spun, in the umpire's pocket away
And all remains, in the groundsman's pains for the rest of time and a day
There'll be one mad dog and his master, pushing for four with the spin
On a dusty pitch, with two pounds six of willow wood in the sun

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, you never know whether he's gone
If sometimes you're catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be Geoff, and it could be John, with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me, and it could be thee, and it could be the sting in the ale
Sting in the ale.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he's gone
If sometimes you're catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be Geoff and it could be John, with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me and it could be thee, and it could be the sting in the ale
The sting in the ale.

When the moment comes and the gathering stands and the clock turns back to reflect
On the years of grace as those footsteps trace for the last time out of the act
Well this way of life's recollection, the hallowed strip in the haze
The fabled men and the noonday sun are much more than just yarns of their days.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he's gone
If sometimes you're catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be Geoff and it could be John with a new ball sting in his tail
And it could be me and it could be thee and it could be the sting in the ale
The sting in the ale.

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he's gone
If sometimes you're catching a fleeting glimpse of a twelfth man at silly mid-on
And it could be me and it could be thee.


Lyrics submitted by azkm

When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease song meanings
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    Song MeaningClassic song from Roy and oft quoted - I think the meaning is pretty clear - a wistful look at the end of life in terms of playing your last innings....
    Roy says he took the title from a comment from the late great cricket commentator John Arlot about a retiring batsman.

    But there many specialist terms and references used - see below my take on them - originally written for an American who was asking:
    1.
    "When the day is done, and the ball has spun"
    - The ball is the thing which is bowled at the batsman, often with spin and/or pace, who when tries to hit it for runs - or more often than not just tries not to get out.
    "In the umpire's pocket away,"
    - The umpire is a basically the referee who stands at the opposite end of the pitch to the batsman and makes decisions as to the rules of the game. There are 2 umpires, one for each end, and these are normally retired/elderly statesmen of the game who's views should never questioned...........
    "And all remains, in the groundsman's pains"
    - The groundsman lovingly and painstakingly prepares the pitch (and is constantly blamed by losing teams for his bad pitches).
    "For the rest of time and a day."
    "There'll be one mad dog and his master, pushing for 4 with the spin"
    - when batting against a slow spin bowler, a batsman may be able to get a boundary (4 runs) by reading the spin of the ball correctly and with good timing tickle it behind him with just a defensive forward push shot.
    "On a dusty pitch, with two pounds six, of willowwood in the sun."
    - when a wicket dries out in the sun it often becomes slow and dusty and makes for a long slow games with the spinners on........a traditional cricket bat is made of willowwood and weighs 2lb 6 (about 1Kg).

    Chs
    "When an old cricketer leaves the crease, you never know whether he's gone,"
    - the crease is the area of the pitch where the batsman stands to play the ball, just in front of the stumps - "leaving the crease" means you're "out" (bowled, caught, run-out....), your own personal innings has ended...
    "If sometimes you're catching a fleeting glimpse, of a twelfth man at silly mid-on."
    - silly mid-on is a fielding position close to the bat (and not often used) which is generally a silly place to stand! The twelfth man is a substitute fielder - not usually placed at silly mid-on.........
    "And it could be Geoff, and it could be John, "
    - ref to two old famous players from the 70s: Geoff Boycott (one of Englands greatest ever batsman and controversial Yorkshireman) and John Snow (fast bowler, but not quite as famous as Geoff). Both were quite old England players at the time when this was written (Geoff Boycott actually went on for many years more, though John Snow retired quite soon after I think).
    "With a new ball sting in his tail."
    - a new ball is given to the fielding team at the beginning of each innings (matches can have two or one innings each) and also after 80 overs in "test matches" (international matches over 4 or 5 days). There are six balls bowled in an "over". The "new ball" is usually given to the fast bowlers, who will be more fired up with it as it's more dangerous than the old one.
    "And it could be me, and it could be thee"
    - north English dialect to use "thee" for "you" - many old great cricketers were Yorkshiremen or Lancastrians (as Roy is)
    "And it could be the sting in the ale.........sting in the ale."
    - too much alcohol blurring everything.......?!

    2.
    "When the moment comes, and the gathering stands, And the clock turns back to reflect,
    On the years of grace, as those footsteps trace, For the last time out of the act."
    - ref to WG Grace, perhaps the greatest ever cricketer, esp of 19th century
    "Well this ways of life's recollection, The hallowed strip in the haze,"
    - this just refers to the pitch - basically a 22 yard strip specially prepared in the middle on the cricket ground.
    "The fabled men, and the moonday sun, Are much more than just yarns of their days."
    - more nostalgic ramblings.
    GPWon March 26, 2019   Link

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