Every batsman surveys the field before taking strike, and usually the fielders get imprinted on his mind. But in my head, I don’t see the fielders. I only see the gaps!

Ricky Ponting, cricket tea nuffie

And lads, that’s how I see it, week after week at home games every time I put the final squirt of Rosella on the pie plate!

Overall, it looks pretty darn good (like Elvin in the nets), but there’s always a few contributions that drag down the quality of the spread – and we all know that the best team is not determined by it’s top three players, it’s determined by how good its bottom three are.

Quite simply boys, I come from an era of sporting coaches like Neil ‘Knuckles’ Kerley and the Great Ron Barassi.

Ron Barassi was very particular about his afternoon teas.

They didn’t calmly ‘re-assess where we could improve our game plan’…they got up in the grills of their under performers with a good old fashioned spray!

I’m talkin’ the kind of stuff that would strike the sort of fear in their players that would inspire them to dig deep for seriously gutsy stuff…the sort of guts it would take Barra to actually get that tattoo after six flags.

So sorry boys, but here goes…don’t get me wrong here, last season’s win made me proud of each and every one of you – but now we’re in the Big Show we just gotta lift our game on the tea table, for as we know you’re only as good as your last smorgasboard.

Let’s start with dip.

If ya gonna bring dip then bring a decent cracker to dip in it.

Seaweed crackers are as thin as Mitchell Dearing’s hair and once swiped through the old French Onion, snap as easy as an Alex Cotter hamstring at the crease.

The Jatz is a trustworthy, reliable stalwart…the Tim Viner-Smith of the cracker world.

To entertain any other imitation is simply un-Australian.

Speaking of TVS, there’s an obvious secret behind his incredible longevity in the whites…it’s his Mum’s brownies.

Mary-Anne started baking these little beauties 40 years ago –  around the same time Tim’s trusty old cricket bat was made.

Mary-Anne celebrates winning the Gawler Show baking contest for her cricket brownies.

The other obvious A-grade selection other than TVS for great form is Stef Lainas.

When Benjamin Franklin was asked how he would cut down an oak tree in three hours, he responded, “I would spend the first two hours sharpening the axe”.

And it’s this preparation by Lainas each week with those delicious fruit skewers that have made him the marathon man of Tosser cricket that he is.

Take a note fruit suppliers – watermelons should be cut up and the next full, un-cut Sunshine State pineapple that lobs on the bar will be delivered quickly to where the sun don’t shine.

And yes Jace, that would hurt…more than not receiving the BOG in the GF.

So now I’m going to mention something that takes up a lot of time and energy…no, not a Schaper over – I’m talking about party pies, pasties and sausage rolls…not glamorous at all, but just like Brad’s run-up it’s worth the wait for the delivery, and these little classics never fail to deliver.

Keep the Patties 24 packs coming, lads.

Frozen dim sims – boys, some things just weren’t made for a pie warmer.

These things are made of so much ‘real’ meat that Brad Cameron could eat them without compromising his Vego status, and they’re so bloody frozen I think they would be better utilised in the drinks eski to keep the cordial cold than put in the oven.

But spring rolls…now there’s a thought – dipped in a little sweet chilli they would add a little Asian diversity next to the Aussie pies and snag rolls.

Moving onto Italian cuisine…pizzas?

A little high maintenance cutting ‘em up – I agree they are tasty but trouble is usually the one ham and pineapple is gone by the time the opposition dive in first, so I have to question having them up there in the top order.

Better off to go and ask your Mum how to make pinwheels – easy and a perennial team favourite.

Let’s be honest, we could do with more pinwheels at afternoon tea.

Cookies – make sure they are those nice home-made style – not the el-cheapo, on special dog biscuits that nobody ever eats…they wind up left on the table looking sadder than Austin Smith nursing his latest injury.

Lamingtons….do I need to say anything?

Probably. These icons of the old-fashioned cricket summer have had their time.

And like Boonie being carried off of the plane in England after breaking Marshie’s 51 beer can record, the lammies are a thing of the past probably never to return. Think upgrading…nice moist muffins?

So boys, let’s make 2019-20 a quality culinary, cricketing season.

Let’s strive to be the best we can be and put in the time and interest that Furnell puts into studying MyCricket stats and we won’t be beaten on the tea table this season.

Thought, Creativity, Preparation and like the TVS brownies or Lainas skewers – let’s put in a bit of love into it.

Admittedly, these two guys are hand-balling the job over to their Mother and Girlfriend who do all the work, but hey, they are living by the ethos of “Do as I say, not as I do” – a direct core value instilled by team coach, Ali Forwood.

See you at the bar, boys!

Cheers, Dears.

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