Heaven may help us

There is the possibility of light rain showers on the fifth morning of the WACA Test and where there is the possibility of light showers, there is the possibility of heavier showers. And where there is the possibility of heavier showers, there is the possibility of…

Perhaps looking to the heavens for a different form of intervention may be the answer to saving the first Test. There are certainly some pretty powerful men with sympathies towards Graeme Smith and his team and they may just have a little influence with whoever makes the important decisions upstairs.

On Sunday evening the Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, presided over a Christmas Carols service in Perth Cathedral. Being originally from Sri Lanka, the Archbishop is unashamedly fond of his cricket as is the Dean of the Cathedral, John Shepherd.

Naturally, both felt it entirely appropriate to have a cricket theme to the service and, of the nine readings during the service, eight were given by cricketing folk.

John Moody opened the batting, known internationally as father to former Australian all rounder and now coach of Sri Lanka, Tom, but appreciated in Cathedral circles as chairman of the restoration fund.

WACA chief executive and former Test cricketer Tony Dodemaide made an appearance further down the order as did former Test leg spinner Tony Mann who played four Tests against India in the mid 70s but will be best remembered for scoring a century as nightwatchman.

South Africa were represented by Sunday Times correspondent Colin Bryden and, reading lesson number six – the birth of Christ – the SuperCricket correspondent. In last place was the Governor General of Australia, His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC, CVO, MC.

The crowd figure, excuse me, congregation numbered around 600 and the organist, who like so many unsung heroes remained anonymous, was rivetingly good.

As was the dinner in the Dean’s house afterwards where his wife, Joy, herself a hard-working headmistress of a local school, produced a magnificent meal for 25 while appearing to expend as much energy as most of us do in making a sandwich.

The Dean, it quickly transpired from the Dean’s opening remarks in the build-up to grace, had a shameless ulterior motive for inviting Mann. He now works for one Perth’s most exclusive wineries and he just happened to bring three cases of the finest Shirazes most had ever sampled.

With the finest, rarest fillet safely washed down and attention turning towards desert, the Archbishop turned conspiratorially towards me, peering over the top of both his spectacles and a half full glass of wine, and said: “Now then, are your boys going to give the Aussies are decent game, or not?”

“I hope so,” I replied hesitantly, “…but we’ll need all the help we can get.”

“Yes, I see,” replied the Archbishop looking upwards. “I’ll have a word…see what he can do.”

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