Tom Bird was skip in a 35 over match v THE BUTLERS XI, the team from Radio 4. A most agreeable bunch. Extremely voluble in the field, competing in decibels with the Craft Fair opposite. The Fair is a lesson in how to make hideous things in raffia.
The Butlers batted first in the morning heat. They are young (their keeper excepted) and agile. I fielded, and was not. I missed a tricky chance in the slips that I would have palmed 40 years ago. Lachlan is quicker than ever nowadays and soon bowled their openers. Enter Leo Townsend, a man with a fabulous eye. He smote the ball far into the Craft Fair (our track was practically on the road), right into the melée of cars and people by the gate. We are insured, but our legal position might be iffy if we did nothing to address the problem of this lethal rain. We talked about it. And did nothing. Martin had two expensive overs when he couldn’t get his customary swing and was punished (0 for 21). Andy Taylor (1 for 35 off 7), who opened with Lachlan, bowled Homem – who had just whacked three fours and threatened mayhem – with a beauty. Andy had recovered, just, from his stag weekend in Latvia, where he suffered three hangovers, kidnapping and tasering by ‘paramilitaries’, and being assaulted by a grannygram. His fiancée need not worry about his virtue, he was too pissed on Latvian beer and schnapps to interfere with anybody.
Lachlan (3 for 18 off 7) was the pick of the bowlers. Mark Terblanche was precise and economical (1 for 14 off 3); new boy Steve Boag (0 for 30 off 4) less so. Adam Jacot can still cut the mustard and his 5 overs (one maiden) went for a meagre 15 runs. He spent much of the day playing frisbee with the lovely Emma who looked gorgeous in an orange frock.
Leo’s innings (104) was chanceless, apart from a difficult missed catch behind, a possible stumping late on and a missed catch by Tom Bird at short mid-wicket. With typical foresight Tom had just moved himself there but ‘had not got my mind right’ he said. By that time Leo had already got a ton. He was well caught in the deep by Martin off Ben Horan (2 for 57 off 7 overs) who was otherwise smacked a bit. The Butler XI scored 204. Without Leo they would have been in trouble.
Lunch, courtesy of Lucinda, was wonderful: moussaka made with Lucinda’s late sheep. Actually hogget, to be technical, which is twixt lamb and mutton. The hoggets did not die in vain, they were excellent. Her tea was equally scrumptious. By golly we eat well these days. Those banana sandwiches of old are a distant (and vile) memory. Martin is a lucky man to be daily pampered by Lucinda. In a touching scene during tea I saw them sitting in his huge car enjoying what seemed to be a large Havana cigar.
At luncheon, Martin Bowden and I discussed Mayflies and how they eat, drink, copulate and die. All in a day. A good life but a short one. We moved on to Praying Mantises and how Mr. Mantis is eaten by Mrs. M after copulation. You’d have thought the word would have got around the chaps in the bar – one fuck and you’re dead. Stick to onanism. We also spoke of Mr Trump wanting to buy Greenland. Perhaps he was confused and wanted to buy ‘Iceland’, the frozen food supermarket. The name Greenland is a lie, as any fule kno. Erik the Red, a Scandinavian yobbo exiled for murder, settled on this miserable icecap. Wanting to attract louche women with whom to breed he named it Greenland on the brochures to attract totty to its supposed lush pastures. When these mugs got there it was too late to fuck off out of it. Erik had his filthy way. He would have felt at home in the V&A CC for we have our own rough Scandinavian, Christiaan Jonkers, though I have not seen him wear horns.
We opened with Emley and Terblanche. Emley was out for 4, which he found depressing. Annette Jacot urged him not retire as we would all miss Jane dreadfully. Andy Taylor came in and he and Marc promptly attacked the bowling, scoring freely and elegantly at 5 an over. There were a couple of dropped catches, Andy being missed by Leo at point, an easy chance. Their partnership of 110 was potentially match winning but when both were bowled (Taylor – 74; Terblanche – 66) there was a dreadful collapse, with Tom Bird, Ben Horan and Adam Jacot all going cheaply. Ben was caught behind but the keeper and the bowler – who both appealed optimistically – neither heard nor saw anything (nor did the umpire, me). But Ben walked.
It took the bronzed Apollo that is Lachlan to steady the V&A. With Steve Boag (6*), who is deceptively spry, the total was neared. And with a mighty 6 and 4 from Lachlan (35*) their total was passed.
Last week I was criticised for implying, in a Match Report, that Vin Grantham was a fat drunk who smokes too much. Someone reminded me of my old school chaplain’s homily that before you make an assertion ask yourself – is it true, is it kind, is it necessary? Two out of three isn’t bad.
The game was convivial. Most of the Butlers went with Tom and a few of ours to the Golden Ball. I buggered off to Phyllis Court, that club in Henley for the incontinent. Dinner is served early as old people need rest. When I tell you that Peter Collings, Steffan’s father, is considered a toy boy at Phyllis Court you’ll get some picture of the average age. Steradent is by the bed, and a Gideon Bible with large type. The food and ambience is like school in the fifties. I was late down on Sunday and missed assembly; porridge was cold.