Cricket clubs are the beer soaked heroes of uni
It’s a glorified drinking club
When you hear of horror initiations, sexist events or blacking up for nights out, it’s almost never the Cricket Club.
Are they really boring? Or are they just getting away with it? Or maybe they don’t carry with them a label that makes you reel at the site of a blue shirt and club tie.
They’ll be on your Wednesday night out, you just won’t notice them immediately. Side comb, clean shaven, windsor knot tie and top button done up. Given the more gentlemanly look about them, you might mistake them for polo or fencing.
It’s not just a glorified drinking club. They might only play 10 games a year, but they’re a far friendlier crowd in colours than your run of the mill sports teams. They’re still loose, they’ll still line up and crawl like snails across Market Square on their way from Walkabout to Crisis, but they don’t get carry that dickhead sportsman tag with them.
Rugby boys, hockey boys, footballers – they all carry with them a stigma that is hard to shake after years of smashing VKs and forcing freshers to do things no one would dream of.
Rugby are the forceful angry lads, the ones who take things too far, where other people get hurt. They mean well, but they never quite get it right. In the game of oneupmanship, someone takes it too far, poos in a sink and gets the whole team banned from Varsity. Because of their size and presence, everyone immediately knows who they are. They’re under an inescapable microscope – they can’t get away with making a fresher down a pint without being accused of bullying.
Football are the prima donnas. If you were really good, as good as you think you are, you wouldn’t be at uni – you’d be in a youth academy. But they’ll still gel their hair, slit each other’s eyebrows on socials and wear tight Adidas tracksuit bottoms. They don’t mean to look arrogant, but if you’re going to get a place in the first team, you need to walk around with a swag element, with an essence of dickhead.
The slimy ones, letching a bit too much and going out of their way to push everyone’s buttons – that’s Hockey. The first to get naked or piss on each other. They’re that bit more immature than everyone else, with a bit more to prove because no one really cares about their sport.
But what about Cricket? Who are they and what makes them tick? Why have you never read about a scandal about those who wear all white and spend their days in a field with beers and sunshine?
What’s the point, you might ask, in joining a club that relies on good weather to compete? James Rimmer was the socia sex in his second year at Exeter, and club captain in his third.
Now studying for a PGCE, he told The Tab: “Rugby care a lot when they go out about being the biggest lads, about throwing up, pulling the most. But with cricket you’re quite content to have a laugh with your mates. You probably drink as much you just don’t boast about it.
“At cricket you could have the best cricketer and the club 11 boundary fielder who is just there for the booze and the cricket badger and the real nerd – you get the whole spectrum of people.
“You won’t get that bunch of guys together if it wasn’t for the sport. You spend so much time with your team mates, you strike up a better relationship, and you end up looking after them. You have just as much fun, you’re just not bragging about ending up in hospital after one too many jugs.”
The slower and more gentlemanly nature of the sport, where you don’t have to prove yourself in an aggressive way like rugby, seems to rub off on the Wednesday socials. You still drink too much and throw up on each other, you just don’t shout about it from the rooftops.
Jayden Clark is at Southampton. The 20-year-old always knew he’d play at uni, but was surprised how good the social side was.
He said: “You get about 40 people turning up to each social. It’s a big affair. We do play a bit in Winter, but until April it’s pretty much a social club
“When you are a rugby fresher, you get treated like that and return it right back. You do conduct yourself with decorum when you wear the tie. It’s because of the balance of people in the club, everyone knows the line between fun and downright disgusting.”