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Australian Bush Poetry, Verse & Music

How McDougal Topped The Score

A peaceful spot is Pipers Flat. The fold that live around
They keep themselves by keeping sheep and turning up the ground
But the climate is erratic and the consequences are
The struggle with the elements is everlasting war
We plough and sow and harrow, then sit and pray for rain
And then we all get flooded out and have to start again
But the folk are now rejoicing as they ne'er rejoiced before
For we've played Molongo at cricket and McDougal topped the score

Molongo had a head on it and challenged us to play
A single innings match for lunch, the losing team to pay
We were not great guns at cricket, but we couldn't well say no
So we all began to practise and we let the reaping go
We scoured the Flat for ten miles round to muster up our men
But when the list was totaled we could only number ten
Then up spoke big Tim Brady, he was always slow to speak
And he said, "What price McDougal who lives down at Coopers Creek?"

So we sent for old McDougal and he stated in reply
That he'd never played at cricket, but he'd half a mind to try
He couldn't come to practice - he was getting in his hay
But he guessed he'd show the beggars from Molongo how to play
Now, McDougal was a Scotchman, and a canny one at that
So he started in to practise with a paling for a bat
He got Mrs Mac to bowl to him, but she couldn't run at all
So he trained his sheep dog Pincher how to scout and fetch the ball

Now, Pincher was no puppy, he was old and worn and grey
But he understood McDougal, and - accustomed to obey
When McDougal cried out "Fetch it!" he would fetch it in a trice
But, until the word was "Drop it!" he would grip it like a vice
And each succeeding night they played until the light grew dim
Sometimes McDougal struck the ball - sometimes the ball struck him
Each time he struck the ball would plough a furrow in the ground
And when he missed the impetus would turn him three times round

The fatal day at last arrived - the day that was to see
Molongo bite the dust or Pipers Flat knocked up a tree
Molongo's captain won the toss and sent his men to bat
And they gave some leather hunting to the men of Pipers Flat
When the ball sped where McDougal stood, firm planted in his track
He shut his eyes and turned him round and stopped it with his back!
The highest score was twenty two, the total sixty six
When Brady sent a Yorker down that scattered Johnson's sticks

The Pipers Flat went in to bat, for glory and renown
But, like the grass before the scythe, our wickets tumbled down
Nine wickets down for seventeen with fifty more to win
Our captain heaved a sigh, and sent McDougal in
"Ten pounds to one you'll lose it!" cried a barracker from the town
But McDougal said, "I'll take it mon!" and planted the money down
Then he girded up his moleskins in a self reliant style
Threw off his hat and boots and faced the bowler with a smile

He held the bat the wrong side out and Johnson with a grin
Stepped lightly to the bowling crease and sent a "wobbler" in
McDougal spponed it softly back and Johnson waited there
But McDougal crying "Fetch it!" started running like a hare
Molongo shouted "Victory!" He's out as sure as eggs
When Pincher started throught the crowd and ran through Johnson's legs
He seized the ball like lightening then he ran behind a log
And McDougal kept on running while Molongo chased the dog!

They chased him up, they chased him down, they chased him round and then
He darted through the slip-rail as the scorer shouted, "Ten!"
McDougal puffed, Molongo swore, excitement was intense
As the scorer marked down twenty, Pincher cleared a barbed wire fence
"Let us head him!" shrieked Molongo, "Brain the mongrel with a bat!"
"Run it out! Good old McDougal!" yelled the men from Pipers Flat
And McDougal kept on jogging and then Pincher doubled back
And the scorter counted "Forty" as they raced across the track

McDougal's legs were going fast, Molongo's breath was gone
But still Molongo chased the dog - McDougal struggled on
When the scorer shouted "Fifty!", then they knew the chase would cease
And McDougal gasged out "Drop it!" as he dropped within his crease
Then Pincher dropped the ball and as instinctively he knew
Discretion was the wiser plan, he disappeared from view
And as Molongo's beaten men exhausted lay around
We raised McDougal shoulder high and bore him from the ground

We bore him to McGinnis's where lunch was ready laid
And filled him up with whisky punch for which Molongo paid
We drank his health in bumpers and we cheered him three times three
And when Molongo got its breath Molongo joined the spree
And the critics say they never saw a cricket match like that
When McDougal broke the record in the game at Pipers Flat
And the folk are jubilating as they never did before
For we played Molongo cricket and McDougal topped the score!

Thomas E. Spencer

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