V&A v. Acme
5th September 2015
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23rd April 2016
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V&A v. A Few Good Men


V&A PLAYERS: L Jacot, A. Jacot, R Smith, C Jonkers, M Bowden, R Ashcroft, N P-G (SKIP), Tom P-G, A Taylor, R Taylor, S Jacot, S Julka, N Bird (sub fielder)

A splendid day to end our season. Charming opposition (alumni of Durham University), a warm sun, no Muzak in the Park, a fine lunch (voted Best Cricket Lunch by AFGM) and tea (both prepared by the Catering Committee: N Bird, N P-G, the Morrises, Jessica, Megan) with only a naturist to disturb the view. This turned out to be Steffen Collings, our Cleaner of the Year, taking a break from kitchen duties. If you think I bang on try him. He does add variety to my topics of smut and malarkey, I grant you. Steff lectures on colour coded refuse bins, as well as Hamlet, and has strong views on those perennial debating points, cloth or mop, dishwasher powder or tablet. The morning started badly with Rob Taylor misdirecting a ball in catching practice and hitting little Octavia Ashcroft. Octavia is now walking and as she is half Aussie I expected her to toddle over and wallop the Pommie Bastard, but someone held her back. Then Rob threw the ball and hit her buggy. Most unwise.

Nick P-G was skip in his favoured format, a 70 over game in which the side batting first can have up to 38 overs. The format offers the option of a draw. He lost the toss and AFGM put us in. It had rained and the pitch was a pudding to start with. We opened with Jonkers and Ashcroft, a successful pairing which steered us to 50 without loss, at 3 an over (their bowling was tight). Christiaan (17) was caught forcing the pace and then in and out came the Taylor brothers (Andy needed 10 to pass Ross as top 2015 batsman) and Simon and Louis Jacot, with only one measly run between them, a collapse of England proportions. But crises like this call for the Old Guard, Adam Jacot. He has, incidentally, upgraded his flat with a nice new blue rug (really ties the place together) and a white swivel stool and new pictures. Some men improve their appearance when they have a new lady friend, others refurbish. Adam and Ross set about the bowling and when Adam was out (for 25, three 4s, one 6) Annette, his proud mother, noted that their partnership was a valuable 53. Enter Roger (Fuckoff) Smith, the expletive specialist, and promptly hit three 4s and a whopping 6. At 154, with 4 overs to go, Ross was finally out for a magnificent 84. Nick P-G then declared. There were protests from Roger and those batsmen who were padded up, but Nick stuck to his gamble. He reckoned that we had the bowling to get them out, but we needed more overs to do so (we could have scored another 30 or so, leaving AFGM to get 6 an over).

Rupert and Kitty Morris arrived for lunch, and I had a discussion with Kitty, the textile expert, about Marilyn Monroe and her dresses, which she has been conserving. Kitty said she clearly had water retention problems as her weight, from the evidence of her costumes, varied hugely. Frank Sinatra once criticised her lack of personal hygiene. Both problems I could live with if Miss Monroe had played her cards right and responded to my fan mail. During lunch Corbyn was elected. Rupert, a man who values clarity in words, admired his unambiguous English, if not his beard, which apparently he wears as a form of dissent against New Labour. Any man who has been punched by Robert Kilroy-Silk cannot be all bad.

AFGM started slowly. Roger Smith and Andy Taylor tied them down, both conceding just 3 an over. But it was wickets we needed. A straight forward chance of a catch fell to Rob Taylor, an immaculate fielder, at point. He fluffed it. The cries of anguish were audible in the kitchen where I was on catering duties (I am a peripheral figure on the field but not in the kitchen, if Steff is sunbathing). However, with 57 on the board, Rob made immediate amends by bowling their No. 2. And then Louis Jacot, bowling belatedly, immediately delivered a beauty to dismiss their other opener. Unfortunately this proved a false dawn because their No. 3, Sheen, dominated our attack and smacked 6s and 4s to all boundaries, being particularly harsh on Tom P-G (5 overs, 0 for 41) and Martin who went for 20 in his only over. A 50 partnership was only ended when Louis bowled Sheen, but by then it was too late. We had rotten luck, balls flying just wide or over players. Despite some economical overs from Sunil (3 overs, 9 runs) AFGM neared our modest total, and although Andy bowled their No. 5 they whacked the winning run with 21 balls left.

In the pub Nick conceded that his bold declaration had backfired but he still thought that with luck our bowling should have been good enough. Al, the oppo skip, thought Louis should have bowled earlier. Nick agreed. But Louis had not bowled so well in the last couple of games.

So the season ends on a fine day out. We have lost only one game to rain, and oppositions have been agreeable. 2015 has seen unsurpassed excellence in catering. We are in fine nick, being oversubscribed for every game, and with money in the bank (thank you Rupert). Our yoof policy has paid off. The National Theatre, without one, have died. We discussed with Steff why local villages are struggling to field teams this year and one reason is that state schools are not playing cricket, partly because they sold their pitches (cricket is also considered expensive, dangerous and elitist). It is no coincidence that we are public school boys. Apart, that is, from Martin Bowden who has overcome his rough West Country origins to join the Oxfordshire squirearchy, a hugely successful retired publisher. In contrast I had every advantage of birth but drive a 20 year old car, drink budget whisky and live in Acton with a woman from Birmingham.

Dennis will be back next year, the news is good. In the meantime the V&A CC wish SUNIL JULKA the very best in his forthcoming wedding(s). I used Club funds to buy a generous present but in a moment of amnesia I drank it last night, sorry. Sunil says that the Hindu ceremony involves him riding a horse wearing a pink turban and pyjama bottoms. The purpose of this ordeal is to teach you humility by making you look a complete twat.