Dating terms for Cricket fans

Not long ago I was having a chat with an American friend of mine and I happened to mention to him that I’d never really understood how various expressions derived from baseball apply to dating. I’ve heard, in movies, phrases like “I only got to first base” but not knowing much about baseball -or dating, for that matter, although I am, as you all know, extremely dated – I never really knew what they meant. Now I do, of course, because he spelled them out to me, but I’ll spare my innocent readers the graphic details…

Anyway, I got to wondering about what it would be like if we British used cricketing expressions in this context in the same way as our American cousins do with those from baseball.

Some would work fairly well, of course. I think  leg bye has an obvious connotation for anyone who strays down the legside. I’m sure we’ve all also been in situations where we might have wanted to run out or even perhaps retire hurt. However, the mind boggles at what might have to go wrong in order for you to have to declare a wide or a no ball;  the latter may well involve a bouncer.  An outside edge would be an unfortunate occurrence, and it may have the same result as being stumped.

The presence of a third man is probably a rarity for most people on a date, but perhaps I’m just making a silly point there. Generally speaking, a fine leg is greatly appreciated, and a long leg would be a pretty good alternative. I’m not myself sure about short leg – let alone a square leg – but whatever floats your bat boat.

Cover or extra cover is usually recommended these days but, even then, there’s a risk of one or more slips. Things would have to go very badly wrong, however,  for there to be a risk of a leg-break. A late cut sounds too painful to contemplate and most would be satisfied with a pull if there was no alternative. I’ve always been partial to a quick single, and would even jump at the chance of a full toss, but most would prefer to make it through to a complete innings which probably involves finding one or more boundaries.

Phew! I’m glad I got all the way to the end without making a corny joke about bowling a maiden over


19 Responses to “Dating terms for Cricket fans”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    The presence of a third man used to be common, and was known as a chaperone. Your follow-through is very important, of course.

  2. telescoper Says:

    Wouldn’t the third person usually have been a woman?

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    Er, yes… which reminds me that the England team might consider taking some coaching from the women’s team, which has just added the world 20/20 trophy to the 50/50 trophy it won a few months ago.

  4. telescoper Says:

    Yes, well done to them, although I have to admit I can’t bear 20-20. All that excitement and running about is just not cricket.

  5. Nick Cross Says:

    I thought the chaperone was usually a woman, and then she would normally be the second woman, not the third. I think they had third men (and fourth etc) at Greek Symposia and similar events, but you could argue over whether this would count as a date.

    • telescoper Says:

      A Symposium used to consist of lying about on couches, drinking wine and being fed grapes by naked boys. I was most disappointed to find out that this practice has been discontinued, at least as far as the IAU is concerned.

  6. Alan Heavens Says:

    Peter, the advice is always to play straight

  7. Alan Heavens Says:

    But you could go over the top

  8. telescoper Says:

    It might also be a problem if you get a bit too forward.

  9. Anton Garrett Says:

    I actually like 20/20 much more than 50/50. It is so OTT compared to 2-innings/side cricket that nobody is going to confuse the two, whereas 50/50 has pretensions. And it develops batting skills (improvisation) and bowling skills (economy – NB the most economical bowlers in the IPL are all spinners); both of these skills can be needed “at the death” in traditional cricket. A friend made the astute comment that it’s like 50/50 with the boring bit in the middle of each innings cut out. It is better called “half-day cricket” than one-day cricket, which is the point: there is room for 4/5-day genuine cricket, 1-day cricket (a fairly natural quantum), and half-day cricket on weekday evenings. What amuses me is the claim that 20/20 is an innovation. Until last year I had played more 20/20 than the England team, starting 30 years ago.

    • telescoper Says:


      I should probably clarify what I said. It’s not so much the 20-20 format I don’t like. It’s all the silliness that goes with it. I’ve actually played in 20 overs-a-side matches myself (years ago) and it’s a good format for village-green games. I guess the thing that puts me off is that, as someone who used to try to bowl, the slogging sometimes makes me feel a bit too much sympathy with the bowlers. I always got very upset if I conceded more than 5 off an over, which would mean I’d definitely have a nervous breakdown in modern 20-20.


  10. Anton Garrett Says:

    Slogging gives you a better chance to get them out – think positive. As for run rate, perhaps you need to renormalise what counts as a moral victory according to format. Calculate the median first innings total in 20/20 that leads to victory (ie 50% victory to a team making that score, 50% loss) and divide it by 20. If your economy as a bowler is below that number of runs per over then your team owes you a beer.

  11. Anton Garrett Says:

    No, and I’d be interested in it.

  12. Alan Heavens Says:

    150. My guess.

    • telescoper Says:


      I suspect that’s pretty close (for internationals anyway).
      There have been sufficiently few 20-20s that it wouldn’t be too difficult to find the answer but I don’t have time to do it myself.

      Maybe I should set an undergraduate project on it for next year?


  13. The par score in international 20-20 matches is actually closer to 160, which implies that a bowlers who concedes anything less than 8 an over has done well. The idea that Brett Lee could be happy with an analysis of 4-0-30-1 is too horrid to contemplate . . . and yet is forced upon given that Lee conceded 90-odd runs from the 8 overs he bowled in the recent World Twenty-20.

    In the club-level knock-abouts that I play, Anton used to play and Alan may still play 130 is generally enough to win. (Incidentally, Alan, Anton and I have all played for the same club, which also boasts Steve Rawlings, Steve Gull, Mark Birkinshaw, Mike Hobson and Chris Doran amongst its astronomically-inclined ex-members.)


  14. Anton Garrett Says:


    Thanks for that – how did you get the figure? And have you any idea why the par score among the pros is higher than at club level? The difference would be even greater if the fielding were the same. It’s not necessarily that the bowling is better relative to the batting at club level; do better pitches and modern bats (for which pros can afford to pay 250 pounds and then throw away after 1000 runs) make a significant difference?


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