The “Yipes” can be defined as the following: ‘The loss of fine motor skill in athletes’. But can this term be associated with our very own Ian Ball? Firstly, Ian is a batsman (despite his wicket tally showing 18 victims #whodidballypayoff?) And therefore, can batsman get the yipes? Should we class our Ball as some kind of strange yipes all-rounder? The term yipes also implies the ‘loss’ of something. Is it possible to lose a you’ve skill never had? Can we count the nudge for single down to fine-leg a skill? It’s a run I suppose, but what happens when they put three behind square? And does the yipes only apply to athletes? I’m not knocking Ball’s age, but he does start every conversation off with “during the war.” Of course I jest. Our Bally isn’t talking about the Second World War. He’s talking about the Boar War. I mean this fella is so old he has pants and socks older than me. Can you smell that, that’s called jealousy.
But a fine figure of a man our I-Ball is. The club’s second leading run scorer only behind D. Fannon. Ball has hit three marvellous centuries for the club, his highest 120* against Bluehouse (never heard of them either – must have been a pre-war game I think). If you scan your eyes across a cricket encyclopaedia (or just ask Manu) it/he will tell you how the fielding position ‘slip’ was named after our very own Bally, because whenever the ball would fly off the edge it would either ‘slip’ out of his hands, or he would slip over in the process trying to snatch a belter of a catch. But when he does take a screamer, my god. It’s like watching a Gazelle. A Gazelle that’s been shot a couple of times and half-eaten by a lion mind you, but a catch is a catch. Now in the winter of his cricket years Bally has taken up the role of the old wolf. The calm head of the 1’s. The satirical comment waiting behind the bat. The salt of the earth kind of guy, ready and waiting to supply sweets to the team like a dirty old man at a playground. Mind you, as dirty old men go our Bally ain’t half bad. Heart and teeth of gold. Has offered to give his bat to the British museum after he has hung up his boots. They just don’t make them like this anymore.