Keep It Down!

Keep It Down! by David Warner

Book: Keep It Down! by David Warner Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Warner
    â€˜Warner, you’re reserve keeper!’ Sunil Deep was speaking in his team captain’s voice, even though they were just having a hit in the playground before school.
    â€˜Aye, aye, cap’n.’ Davey Warner bowed and doffed the old trucker’s cap he called his baggygreen, but he wasn’t exactly ecstatic as he trudged to the spot behind the wicket.
    â€˜It’s not my thing,’ he said to his friend, George Pepi, who was at the crease, bat in hand, waiting for Sunil to bowl. ‘Batting – yep, definitely. A bit of spin bowling – if I’m needed. But wicket-keeping?’ He shook his head.
    Sunil ran in and bowled a fast ball on leg stump. George hit it off the front foot straight to mid-on. Ivy Mundine was there, and she quickly got her hands to the ball and threw it back. George didn’t try for a run.
    â€˜Yeah, well, as soon as Dylan turns up you’re free,’ George said. He frowned. ‘His mum must have forgotten to wake him up again.’
    Dylan was often late. He told his friends it was his mum’s fault, but Davey had noticed that Dylan’s mum always seemed to be ontime for parent–teacher interviews and when she had to see Mrs Trundle, the school principal, about Dylan breaking school rules again.
    Still, nobody really minded. Dylan was one of those kids everyone liked – everyone except Mrs Trundle and their teacher, Mr Mudge.
    With an invisible bat, Davey slogged an invisible ball for six. ‘I wish he’d hurry up. I need a bit more time at the crease.’ A real ball whizzed past his ear and George took the opportunity to run for a bye, bringing Kevin McNab, another of Davey’s good friends, on to strike.
    â€˜What’re you doing, Warner?’ Sunil shouted. ‘You’re supposed to be keeping wicket, not pretending you’re batting for Australia!’
    Max, Davey’s dog, was fielding at deep fine leg, even though Mrs Trundle had banned him from the school grounds for life. Now he chased the ball and, moments later, dropped it at Sunil’s feet.
    â€˜I have to practise my shots for Friday,’ Davey shouted. ‘First game of the school comp. We’ve got to beat the Batfish!’
    The last time Sandhill Flats Primary played Batfish Beach Primary they’d lost. Now they were thirsty for revenge.
    Kevin nodded. ‘Yep, gotta get those Batfish back.’
    â€˜You’re a batfish!’
    It was Mo Clouter, school bully and cricket detester. He and his friends Nero and Tony had wandered down to C playground tolook for something to do. They’d found it – bothering the cricketers was one of their favourite pastimes. Now they were standing right behind Davey, talking loudly and whistling, trying to put him off his game.
    Davey tried to block them out. He focused on Sunil, who let loose a fast bouncer down the pitch.
    Davey then Kevin ducked as the ball flew over their heads and sailed past Mo and his friends. ‘Hey, watch what you’re doing, Deep!’ Mo shouted.
    Sunil gave them a friendly wave. ‘Sorry! Better get out of the way!’
    But Mo didn’t move. ‘Hey, Shorty!’ he called to Davey. ‘Guess you’ll have to be wicket-keeper from here on, now that Dylan’s gone . . .’
    Davey and Kevin glanced at each other.
    â€˜He’s just late,’ Davey shouted over his shoulder.
    Davey turned around. Mo and his friends were holding their bellies and laughing like they’d just watched the funniest YouTube video ever.
    Davey shook his head. ‘What?’
    â€˜Yeah, three years late by the time you see him again. He’s left. His whole family’s gone. Didn’t he tell you?’
    Davey and the rest of the cricket team looked at each other. Dylan gone? Without telling them? He’d never do that.

‘I don’t believe it,’ Davey

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