Ben Zika and his alter ego
Benny Zika Captains the 3rd XI at the Royal Park Reds Cricket Club. He’s the inventor of the ‘Goanna Ball’; a delivery that scuttles along the deck to bamboozle opposition batsmen. He’s also a bloody good bloke and it’s his birthday today.
When Dennis Denuto fronts the local court in the iconic Australian Film ‘The Castle’ he walks to the judge to ask for a little advice.
‘Am I even close on this one? Give me a hand here’
It’s this endearing audacity and desire to explore all options that makes this northern suburbs lawyer a unlikely insouciant peoples champion. Unaffected by the office and stakes around him, he’s going to have a go in the nicest way possible.
So here we have our own Brunswick Conveyancer turned High Court Heavyweight, Ben Zika.
Benny Zed, aka Mr Park Cricket (that's his twitter handle and yes, he's funny) understands the comic function that park cricket serves in the sporting landscape.
Thus, our Thirds Co-Captain almost always wears his wide-brimmed cricket hat, the most comic of all cricketing attire to purvey his deep commitment to the larger role he plays in park crickets narrative.
Benny Zed’s colourful and good natured career throws up some consistent scores. His career average of 13 is dwarfed by his most recent seasons average of 40.50. A bit of persistence and the good humour to stick at the sport clearly has paid off for the Royal Park Reds Legal Beagle.
BZ has ridden the park cricket dodgem car with an affable smile despite the obvious knocks.
It’s his disarming affability that is his park cricket super power, particularly when faced with figures that take the whole thing a bit too seriously.
His smiling approach to the lunatic Opposition 2nd XI (team name redacted) skipper to advise of a dog-turd at mid-wicket was indeed a foolhardy manouver.
There had been a bit of bad blood between the sides in the initial part of the game and Ben had approached the particularly gruff opposition Captain during tea.
It was his chuckling logic and wide smile that seemed to disarm the Shrek-like opposition skipper, who despite towering over Benny promptly meandered away from the tea break towards the offending stool armed with a plastic bag.
Benny Zed’s glowing grin was beaming like some glowing Jedi light-sabre as he turned to me and with mock authority pointed his hand towards the now out of earshot poopa-scooping captain and said ‘Yeah, that’s right buddy, you pick that dog-shit up!’
Benny’s humour around the game points out its ridiculousness as well as the lunacy of suburban sport played for sheep stations by people that should know better.
The Everyman appeal of Benny is that he’s also one of the clubs deep thinkers. We’ve spoken after long days in the field of the need for cricket and its meditative qualities, of the place it holds for him personally and of how it lets him engage with others in a relaxed context.
He selflessly adopted the Vice-Presidency of the club in order to prevent squabbles at a board level. Once he saw that things were running smoothly, he stepped into the captaincy of the thirds as a true clubman.
To fulfil The Castle gambit, Ben was in full Denuto mode as he held the floor to put forward our clubs position at a Melbourne City Council meeting while we were under threat from the East West Tunnel.
Cr Robert Doyle peered over his glasses at Benny who put forward our version of ‘It’s Wik, it’s Mabo, it’s the vibe’
Benny’s pre-amble was cut off by a terse Bobby Doyle
‘It might be helpful if you tell us who you are’
‘Oh’ said Benny, as if the Lord Mayor had never heard of him
‘Ben Zika, Royal Park Reds’
And with a quick nod, Ben was back to his speech.
Onya Benny. Hit em well, fella!
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