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V&A v The Unabombers

Warborough cc, Thu Mar 13, 2003,  4:18:03 AM,  8C, 5638x10884,  (1666+614), 150%, bent 6 stops,  1/20 s, R67.0, G52.3, B72.0

V&A PLAYERS: M. Terblanche (skip), L. Nieboer, O. Marsh, C. Jonkers, N. Derewlany, J. Tetlow,  N. Emley, C. Hunt, Jo Someone, A. Jacot, M. Bowden, Nicky Bird (12th Man)


[Virile young V&A cricketers and Christiaan Jonkers enjoying the rain at Lord’s last Thursday.]



‘Nothing matters very much and few things matter at all.’

This wise comment by Prime Minister Arthur Balfour is the antidote to that Scots obsessive Bill Shankly and his nonsense about football – ‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. It’s much more important than that.’ Shanks also said: ‘Of course I didn’t take my wife to see Rochdale as an anniversary present. It was Rochdale reserves.’ I don’t think he was joking. Anyway, the point about quoting Balfour is that he got it right, but that he should have added that one thing is important and that is ‘walking’ at cricket. Martin Bowden told a story of how an Aussie he was playing with seemed to snick a ball to the keeper, it was audible from the pavilion, but the daft old umpire didn’t hear it and the Aussie stayed put. The day was ruined by the disgruntlement. Later, Martin asked the Aussie – ‘did you hit it?’ ‘Of course’, was the reply. Martin never played with the team again.

On Saturday the opposition, the charming Unabombers, appealed confidently for a caught behind when Joe Tetlow might have gloved one to the keeper. Umpire Jonkers paused to consider. But Joe ‘walked’. Say what you like about Tetlow (and they do), he is a gent.

But the pity was we rather needed Joe’s batting. He’d got a horrid lifter (the pitch misbehaved occasionally) that would have defeated Bradman. The pitch is a great leveller. Our batting looked good on paper, but we struggled. Nick Derewlany, fresh from lockdown in Oz, was out cheaply; so was Lachlan and so was Nick Emley, who later pulled a hamstring which needed some relief from a substance from Afghanistan, crucial medicine whose supply is threatened by the Taliban. Charlie Hunt batted with confidence and style, until another lifter enticed a top edge and a catch. The Unabombers fielded rather better than we did.

Only Ollie Marsh dominated the bowling (after a hesitant start). His array of drives and pulls showed his technical ability and fluency. His 87 was his third score over 50 this year. What a player. And he is an excellent bowler too. With a nice doggie, a miniature greyhound who was my audience for the afternoon when I took him for a walk and told him about changes in the LBW laws, my desire for Liz Hurley, wormcasts, Lachlan’s new Spanish girlfriend, which interested him greatly.

Our last overs saw stylish runs scored by skipper Marc Terblanche (35* – he should have batted higher up) and Jonkers (12*). We made 157, which was an OK score given a long boundary and slow outfield. But only OK.

Lunch was provided by a revitalised Sarah Jenkins, with Bird N. doing the butch manly stuff, the beef and ham. Some teammates make asides about my grabbing lunch before the oppo. One man made an offensive analogy: ‘Bird regards a queue for lunch like Boris regards truth – as an inconvenience.’

My usual speech of thanks to the tea lady was deemed unsatisfactory by Mr. Tetlow as it ‘failed to insult more than a couple of people’. Mr. Jonkers, and Mrs. Jenkins, were perplexed by my reference in the last Match Report to ‘trans’ people; they thought it meant transvestites. How out of touch! They probably think ‘dogging’ is what I did with Ollie’s greyhound. I explained that ‘trans’ is all about gender fluidity. By the way, if you come across insensitive fuckers who question your status as a woman, teach them to be more compassionate by a smack in the mouth.

We discussed those banes of modern life, the ‘happiness index’ and ‘satisfaction survey’. My father’s undertaker sent me a ‘client questionaire’ [sic] in which they asked whether ‘satisfaction had been provided’. I replied that my father made no mention of his experience but it wasn’t very roomy in his pine box. They sent a nice form letter – ‘We note your comment about our burial facility’. Denmark scores top in the happiness stakes presumably because they’re happy they’re not Swedish and topping themselves through sheer boredom at all those pastel colours and vodka at £52 a nip. Happiness indexes are bollocks. Obviously, someone in Chorley Wood is happier than a dosser in Glasgow.  Hugh Grant, who played football for the V&A, came back famous after making Four Weddings and someone asked him in the dressing room – ‘but are you happy?’. Actually, yes… ‘I can make any film I want and have lots of money.’ And Liz Hurley. Bastard. Happiness at cricket is not fucking up or being run out by a cretin or given out by a tosser of an umpire. There were two LBWs our umpires gave which were eminently fair (perhaps generously so) but could have gone the other way. If we had scored another 30 we would have been comfortable.

We opened the bowling with Lachlan and Ollie. Ollie started with his offies, which aren’t as good as his quicker stuff, which he thankfully soon turned to. The Unabombers strategy was wise and simple. Keep up with the run rate, and preserve wickets, by seeing off Lachlan (whom they respected) and hitting the loose ones from the other end. Our skip, Marc, later said that he should have put fielders on the boundary sooner than he did as we rather leaked runs. Jonkers and Terblanche somewhat divided the onfield captaincy which wasn’t entirely satisfactory, rather like – as I mentioned to Christiaan – the confused German leadership in Normandy on D-Day, with Hitler in bed and no one brave enough to wake him. Would you? ‘Sorry Mein Führer – ooh nice jim-jams – sorry Eva, but the Allies have landed and Rommel would like to know what to do.’

I did not take a photo of the scorebook and so the stats are a bit fallible. But chances came; and went. Their best batsman, their skipper Simon, was missed at square leg by the nice chap with the blue Mustang they loaned us, and balls disappeared through legs alarmingly. Some of our older fielders have a habit of falling over after the ball has passed them. But things looked up when Charlie Hunt got two run-outs, when Ollie bowled one of their better batsmen, Nick D behind the sticks caught a blinder off Lachlan (diving high and right) and Charlie Hunt’s beautiful control brought a wicket to make them – at tea – needing about 80, at over 5 an over.

‘We’re in control’ said Christiaan, the sage of Lower Assendon, as he sipped his Typhoo and munched Sarah’s home-made almond cake. While he went for seconds, and I waited for his return and more wisdom, I was reminded of Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ which I saw the other day. Christiaan turned up which is more than can be said for Godot. The fucker never shows. What a waste of a play.

Despite Jonkers’ confidence the Unabombers returned to the crease with determination, continuing to smack the loose one. Adam Jacot bowled a chap with a beauty and kept a really nice line. But despite my coming on to replace Emley, bringing some welcome athleticism, balls continued to be fumbled over boundaries and our total was looking reachable. Lachlan came back and bowled a maiden, but at the end they needed 9 in two overs. Up stepped Joe Tetlow, my man for a crisis, he had bowled magnificently in his first spell, much better than the shite of two weeks ago. But, alas, his compass was awry and a couple of wides and over-pitched balls saw the Unabombers score the winning runs.

Christiaan took the oppo to The Rainbow, The Golden Ball being closed again for a wedding – but, sadly he was the only one of us to go. Some departed to nurse injuries, others to party. I thought I had a date with Sarah’s randy dachshund but he’s pretty fickle and spent all afternoon shagging Lachlan’s leg. Lachlan gets all the nooky.

V&A CC: 157 for 6 (O. Marsh 87). UNABOMBERS: 158 for 5 (Simon, their skipper, 40; L. Nieboer 1-8 off 7 overs)