“Let’s play under-18s against over 18s,” suggested Mrs R, swinging the Rounders bat athletically.

I ducked.

“No, let’s play over-45s against under-45’s,” responded one of the children, rubbing salt into the wrinkles.

The parents rose from their chairs with a collective groan (it is very hard not to groan when you are over 45 and have to stand up from a lowish seat) and sluggishly took up position on the field.

Why is it that when you are with friends who have children of a similar age, you often end up in some sort of generation battle? It’s the same thing that you can observe in troops of apes, where the young males goad the grey-backed elder. In primates such behaviour often ends with the bad-tempered alpha male giving a young upstart a sharp bite.

The young people made a good start. 12 and a half rounders before we got them out. It took us a while to warm up, then we got three catches in almost as many balls.

I took the bat and swung my arm to loosen up. It was OK as long as I didn’t move too violently. My track record with a rounders bat was poor. But today I had my contact lenses in.

“Young people,” I expostulated pompously, “watch and learn”. And with that I thwacked the ball into the distance over the heads of the startled fielders.

I was so surprised that I forgot to run for a moment.

It was a close fought innings. I was on fire. Metaphorically. (Barbecues and open fires are banned at the forest park where we were playing). As I jogged home on the adult’s twelfth rounder I jeered “so, who’s winning now?”

“Well, we are,” they said and pointed out that they were still half a rounder ahead. Which was a shame because we only got one more half before we were all out, not helped by the way in which our star batsman managed to throw his bat further than the ball he had just hit, narrowly missing his wife’s head.

After a long breather we played a second innings. This was a good move. The adults were now in the groove and were fielding like a well-oiled mobility scooter. The youth team was bored and tired of our banter. We dismissed the young upstarts for just 4 rounders with some brilliantly coordinated run-outs.

In just five strikes we matched and overtook their total. My personal contribution was match-winning. My own children were open-mouthed at my prowess… or yawning.

We went on to inflict a defeat of Norwich City proportions. Followed by a nice cup of tea.

I hope they don’t notice how much my limbs ache tomorrow.

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