A Good Innings is an uplifting and entertaining half hour documentary about a group of men from diverse backgrounds, tastes and nationalities who have one thing in common – their love of cricket. The programme which spends time in the multi cultural male dominated world of one of Ireland’s oldest junior cricket clubs who have been batting it out in Dublin’s Phoenix Park since 1863. By spending time during the 2005 season in lazy summer days of around the club we get to know some of the characters and get into the mindset why the love this game so much.
The world of the Irish Civil Service Cricket Club.
Men aged from 60 to 16 make up the four teams who represent the club, which is unique in Dublin because it not only attracts a large contingent of foreigners, but also has a long tradition of recruiting working-class urban players to its ranks. Many of its players come from areas like Crumlin, Walkinstown and Inchicore where they never played cricket at school but taught themselves in local greens and on street corners whereas most Dublin clubs draw their talent pool from the private schools on Dublin’s south side.
Presently the club is experiencing a unique renaissance with economic migrants from cricket-mad countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand now making up more than 50 per cent of the current players. In fact the captains of all four teams at the club hail from countries of the former British Empire.
We meet characters like Joe Brady the loner grounds man from Inchicore who proclaims that ‘cricket is chess on legs’. Augustine the clubs youngest recruit who has only recently arrived from India, Cliffy the Aussie who struggles with the fact that cricket in Ireland involves a break for tea and sandwiches – not the Aussie way and Gerry Kelly the club secretary who was once beaten up for playing this ‘British sport’.
Names like Steve O, Bash, Sayyam, Bros, Jezz, Phiall, Jizzie, Bottle, Lick, Alam, Urvy and The Big Man can be heard echoing around the clubs rather basic but yet idyllic surroundings in the Phoenix Park under the backdrop of the Dublin Mountains.