Sunday Sesh #17 – Five of the Best

So unfortunately, this is my second Sunday Sesh with no beer, since I am bogged down getting ready for Santa’s arrival and a road-trip home. I will, however, do a double-beer Sunday Sesh next weekend, so keep an eye out for that one.

Last week I promised you something special, and I hope you agree that this one is exactly that.

Tomorrow is Boxing Day and marks the first day of the Boxing Day test in Melbourne against the Indians. It’s no secret that Boxing Day is my favourite day of the year – closely followed by Christmas and then my birthday. Then there’s End of Financial Year Day (for the accountants out there), but I digress.

Since as I write this, no cricket has yet been played, I thought I’d bring you some crickety goodness by rehashing some of my favourite classic catches. My top five in fact. These videos are all thanks to youtube (what did we ever do without it?).

So, counting down from…

Number 5

Paul Collingwood shows off his amazing reach against the Aussies in 2005 to dismiss Matt “The Bat” Hayden.

Collingwood was a great fieldsman, and this rates as one of his best.

Number 4

You can’t have a classic catches reel without including one of our best ever gully fieldsman, Mike Hussey. He’s pulled off some unbelievable catches and saves back there, but this one rates as one of his best. Reflex catches look pretty awesome, but judging a catch going over your head is deceptively hard. As usual, Hussey makes it look easy – but he does do it one-handed, just for kicks.

Number 3

This next one from Dinesh Kartick of India, to dismiss Graham Smith of South Africa. Smith can’t believe his bad luck. As you’ll hear the commentator say, Kartick is one of those frustrating players who can produce moments of brilliance out of his back-side, but drops the simplest of catches under no pressure. Again, catching a ball behind you isn’t easy, but he makes it look like a piece of cake.

Number 2

We’re travelling back in time to 1999 at the MCG for this one.

Mark Waugh – need I say more? Mark Waugh goes down as one of our best fieldsman of all time. He produced some brilliant catches in slip, but this one at short cover defies belief. The hand-eye co-ordination required to make a catch like this stick could only be pulled off by a soccer goalkeeper, which Junior was before he chose cricket.

Also, watch the way Shane Warne moves his field around. Not one player remains unchanged – this catch is equally down to Warne getting into the head of the batsman – in this case, Nick Knight of England.

Number 1

Paul “Fatty” Vautin, football legend, and hero to backyard cricketers everywhere, thanks to this screamer taken in the Allan Border Testimonial match in 1993. This is a bit of pure Queensland genius. Tim Horan, caught Vautin, bowled Langer.

Why does this rate as my number one, above the “real” cricket catches and against some that are arguably much better? Simply because this is the thing us backyard cricketers do every summer, without cameras and without the crowds. We’re legends in our own minds and families, and catches like these in backyards, parks and cul de sacs all over Australia go down into family folk lore and legend, getting better and better with each retelling.

Incidentally, stick around after they replay the catch to hear Fatty’s comments.

One thing before I wrap up – what ever happened to these testimonial matches? I think a charity match for the McGrath foundation or something similar each year, maybe to kick off the summer or to wrap it up would be brilliant. I love seeing all sorts of sports men and women have a go at cricket. It’s a great equaliser, and nothing draws people from around the neighbourhood like the screams of “Howzat!” and the thump of a piece of wood on a tennis ball covered in electrical tape on one side.

What do you think? Any catches I’ve missed? And what do you think about bringing back testimonials or charity matches?

Finally, Merry Christmas everyone, and until next Sunday’s Sesh,

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