Kensington CC had pulled out of our original fixture, so we searched far and wide within the Royal Borough and invited the Chelsea Arts Club back. They had also been cancelled on, by a team called ‘The Butterflies’, which got me thinking about the butterfly effect. More on that later*.
The forecast was poor, but having squandered a few fair days this year, the dice was rolled and the coin tossed. Andy Jones put us in to bat, with Matt Wright and Christiaan negotiating five an over from the first half a dozen on a seeming greentop. Matt Wright had been performing at the Hundred just that week. He was playing the drums at half-time, not batting, and was out LBW for 13. Christiaan was also out LBW (though never is) for 12. That started a minor collapse. Constantine threatened his talents for one, bowled by Peake, a left-arm off-spin pace bowler. Tetlow was greeted at the crease, like many that day, with a hard stare and an insult. He succumbed to a ball lobbed above the eyeline, for three. Emley, batting at four, looked untroubled and the man for the job, until he was also gone for 11.
Back at the pavilion, an amiable member of the opposition had left his hound. Jacot tutted, Tetlow patted, the hound yapped. Horan noted down the score. Constantine’s parents drank Rosé. Annette did the crossword. Nicky, with a twinkle in his eye, offered to teach Max Martin’s new girlfriend a few things about the laws of the game. Emley, having seen it all before, walked away shaking his head, puffing on a cigarette.
Having scored 80-odd last time out against the Arts club you would’ve thought they’d put some men back for Lachlan, but they didn’t when he strode out, and he took advantage, as he so often does. Accompanied ably by Charlie Hunt, who has great technique and temperament if not muscle, the two did well until the interval.
Henry Blofeld arrived just long enough before lunch for it not to seem obvious. We sat inside, owing to the threat of rain, and tucked into beef, ham, tomatoes, potatoes, polite conversation and pure smut, as is customary. Bird teased Blofeld for the second time this year, remarking that he had done well to make it at the BBC given he wasn’t gender fluid. Bird then turned his attention to Rob and Sandra Taylor, who were getting married that weekend.
*In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. The term is closely associated with the work of mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz.
Had the Taylor brothers not hit a cricket ball into Nicky Bird’s garden in Acton, 20 or so years ago, the Taylor brothers would probably never have played for the V&A Cricket Club. I certainly wouldn’t be playing, or writing this. The newlyweds wouldn’t have had Nicky Bird’s lunchtime speech dedicated to them – and the Chelsea Arts Club, including those of TMS fame, would certainly not have had to listen to it. But they did.
His wedding message to the happy couple of an ‘epic ode’ in limerick form was, as he suggested later, ‘inappropriate, unfunny and not fit to repeat, pathetically rhyming
googlies with goolies.’
It’s not only Rob who enjoys an agricultural hoik to the legside; Lachlan does too. This was the basis of a technical point Jonkers aimed to make to our number six, slightly too soon after he had just been caught at deep square leg for a crucial 41. That said, a revved up Lachlan is no bad thing for a V&A victory push. After Max Martin had been adjudged to have left his station by Umpire Bird for five, and Andy Jones attempted a suicidal run with a few overs to spare, the innings petered out. Charlie Hunt hit the second highest number of runs in our innings with 16, though extras were twice that. We needed to defend 130, a modest total. But we had good bowlers and the pitch was doing a bit. Add to that some first innings chatter and we had a game on our hands.
On chatter, or sledging as it might be, I would say there are some golden rules to stick to:
If you do feel minded to, ensure it’s funny
Say it to someone on your own team, but within earshot of the intended recipient, to avoid accusations of direct aggression, impoliteness, hate crimes, or indeed sledging
Do your research. Don’t sledge their fast bowlers if you are yet to bat
The first ten overs of their innings went for just ten runs, with very few balls pitched up. Tetlow and Lachlan bowled with hostility. Matt Wright was tidy behind the stumps. Emley grassed a tough chance at gully, only for a run-out to spawn as a result. The amiable owner of the yapping hound stuck at it though, ducking, weaving, and avoiding his dog out in the middle. Charlie Hunt came on and bowled attacking lines, trapping their number three LBW. Peake, who sported the kind of confidence that comes with the Eton College cap atop his head, ended up in an eton mess, bowled by Hunt. He had apparently scored 800 runs this season, according to him, so it was a great shame to see the back of him so early.
Max Martin bowled well, conceding only 15 from his seven overs and taking a wicket (Horan with the catch). The required run rate was being counted and recounted to the opposition. Andy Jones felt the margins were there to have a trundle and did so nicely, whistling it past the outside edge, picking up a wicket with a difficult chance snaffled by Tetlow. Jones also got one to spit off the surface, striking the helmet of their batsmen nastily, but he was ok. However, the helmetless houndmaster was still there on 35, though the game had all but gone at this point. He later confided that “Jacot always gets me out” – and so he did again on this occasion, bowled. Constantine and Jonkers both had some overs of spin (Constantine particularly well). I teased Jonkers, who had borrowed his daughter’s car, that I hoped he had third-party fire and leg-spin insurance…
The old ones are always the best. Lachlan was brought back on, like a retired boxer for one last pay-cheque, and took 2 wickets off as many paces. The game was done and scores settled, with the Arts club falling almost 50 runs short of the total needed.
At the impromptu opening of the golden ball, we sat and discussed weddings amongst other things. Jonkers encouraged Jones to get married, though not to him. Ayling looked on. Emley threatened to retire, again. The Constantines drank wine. There was no talk of Covid, only of cricket and life. Later, down in Peckham, I fertilised Jones’ girlfriend’s plants with Brakspear. Nature called – and I dare say – has well and truly healed, butterflies and all.
by Joe Tetlow