V&A CRICKET 2020 – END OF TERM REPORT BY THE CHAIRMAN, NICKY BIRD
COVID WREAKED HAVOC WITH THE FIXTURES but we had half a season, which the Stonor chaps thought impossible in early July, and so did not waste money and energy preparing a strip or the outfield. Worms enjoyed themselves, bunnies too. I came for a picnic at the pavilion at that time and the pitch was a field, seemingly returned to nature and poppies and clover and birds. It was desolate; no walkers about, not even Lachlan camping in the environs with his primer stove and pocket edition of Aeschylus.
I wrote to the Telegraph pointing out the absurdity of cricket being banned while netball and outdoor gym was allowed. The crap about a cricket ball being a ‘vector’ was palpable nonsense (and so it proved). Boris read my letter and relented. Stonor worked miracles to return the long grass to a cricket pitch in two weeks.
Our cricket was mixed in quality, there was shite (like the 61 all out on the penultimate game) but there were moments of inspiration, and absurdity. There were fantastic or commendable innings by (in no order) Nick C, Vin G, A Knight, O Marsh, l Nieboer, J Poynter, N P-G, M Terblanche, H Turpie, R Taylor, N P-G, J Tetlow, C Jonkers and B Street. Rupert would have been included if he had excelled; but he didn’t. And then he buggered off to France. Dennis was an absent Hamlet. So were Martin Bowden and his dogs, who graced us for one match only. His catering, and the quality of his tobacco, is a class act. It is missed.
Our bowling wasn’t helped by the pitch but it was the same for both sides and Turville’s proved even soggier. We also missed Andy Taylor and it would be nice to see Sunil again and his seemingly innocuous bowling that gets wickets. Tom Ayling was busy flogging Jonker’s ‘rare books’; Louis Jacot was busy with his marquetry. Otto Grundy is one for the future. His Dad not so much, but he is an excellent artist and chauffeur. Lachlan was the pick of the bowling. For sheer style Jago, the Chelsea Potter, is my batsman of choice. I think there were some super catches. I wasn’t always looking but trying to do brainy crossword clues with Kitty, and failing. Failure, they say, is not an option but to well-versed practitioners it is the option. The only regret for serial failures is the lack of compensation – a football manager who fucks up gets £2m to sod off, your average cock-up merchant gets nowt. I have always thought that almost the definition of a fuck-up is to shoulder arms to a ball on the wicket – it makes one look twattish, ask Lachlan.
Phil G continues to defy the years behind the sticks but was frustrated by the pitch at times. He is a limpet at the crease however. Jacot is the man for a crisis, Emley too. There is a subtle difference between them. Emley runs. Jane has gone to Wiltshire, which is a great pity; Sarah Jenkins is too often unavailable because of a sick husband. We have missed the ladies. Annette Jacot was unwell. Estelle was roughing it in Barbados, Megan was watching her man elsewhere. Lucinda was lambing.Steph Bird – the Dame Mary Berry of the V&A – was also missed for her flapjacks, angelic Ottilie and Tom who was away fishing (unsuccessfully) on the Tweed for too many games; his unpretentious little Burgundy was also missed. Lish was my Supporter of the Year as she listened uncomplainingly for hours to the faux erudition of Jonkers and myself. She even laughed politely (albeit briefly) at a ‘joke’ about Dada and metaphysics. Mike and Lizzi Constantine put in dogged stuff umpiring or washing up. Next year they might enjoy reversing the roles.
Jonkers asked me not to mention the chicken he wrestled to the ground at the Golden Ball which subsequently died, so I won’t.
Things to forget (apart from the occasional vulgar ‘chuntering’ in the field) are 1. Nick P-G’s red beard 2. Andy Jones’ hangovers (ditto Joe T/Nick D’s) 3. A couple of moronic run-outs 4. A young chap calling Lachlan a ‘public school wanker’ or something close to it (nothing could be further from the truth) 5. Those Tupperware lunches some goodygoodies bring of wholemeal alfalfa sprouts, the worst sort of dietary virtue signalling.
Next year we are determined to tour (Covid willing) to Bordeaux to play Chateau Giscours, a Third Growth I grant you but a Growth nonetheless. And we will have our annual AGM as soon as more than 6 can meet. Rest assured all will be welcomed, and be insulted. Those not offended are entitled to a discount.