Adam Jacot, who captained, said we were a difficult team to motivate. He might have been right, but the weather was grey and remained so thoughout the day until obligingly brightening up whilst we sat in the garden of The Golden Ball.
“They are a small, hardy, intelligent and gentle people, who have eked out life for themselves, while the rest of humanity developed along completely different lives” – John Simpson Our opponents were not the people of the Kalahari desert as Simpson describes but, spiritually at least, from Bush House, the home to the BBC World Service until its move in 2012. Theirs is a distinguished, if eccentric history: their first match, organised in 1942 by Hugh Carlton Greene, brother of Graham Greene and later the Director-General of the BBC, was against the Political Warfare Executive at Woburn Abbey. It was said that match was interrupted by news that Tobruk had fallen, but that the BBC cricketers, not unlike Drake at Plymouth Hoe, played on regardless. This has since been shown, like much of the V&A’s match reports, to be pure fiction. Bushmen alumni include the poet Edmund Blunden, former Foreign […]
The Legends, as is proudly emblazoned on their score book, was founded in 2004 by the urbane Matt Simmonds, and are a team who approach the game with a sense of fair play and general joie de vivre which has been sadly lacking in recent matches.
“It is poor form to take offence at personal comments in a match report”, whined old has-been, Tim Young to me over lunch. He might regret that. The rest of the Thebertons team where rather young and fit (or in the case of local estate agent, Alexander Risdon, young).
It is said, to get on, it matters not what you know but whom you know. This is why I am second hand bookseller. Dennis de Caires knows plenty, but is also well connected in the cricketing world, a useful attribute when selecting a team.
There is, about the start of The Cricket Season, a quite tangible sense of excitement: anticipation of flannel clad heroics to be performed over the coming months. It is a sense, amplified by the fresh smell and rising sap of spring, which I have been aware of from the earliest days of my cricketing youth. Cricket is essentially a bucolic game which, although it has its headquarters in London and is played throughout the world, owes its origins to the South Downs and its soul to the English countryside. There can be few better representations of this than the cricket ground at Stonor, which occupies an elevated site to one side of the ancient Assendon valley, overlooking the Stonor Park estate with a view of rolling patchwork farmland down the valley. It was this scene which greeted us as we arrived on a bright but decidedly chill morning. Well, most […]
This was the first fixture between V&A and the Authors XI, which is curious given the apparent synergy between the two clubs. The Authors own opening batsman, the lugubrious Anthony McGowan, describes his team as “crammed to the gills with the quite ludicrously posh… the full rage of characters from a 1950s public school story – the hearty, sporty type; the etiolated intellectual; the endearingly modest earl; even an exiled Ruritanian princeling."
The week of Henley Regatta can be a trying one. This is not to take anything away from the Regatta itself, which remains one of the most important events of its type for rowing buffs; rather like the Lord’s Test is for cricketers. The problem lies with the attendees.
It was a textbook day of cricket. The weather was fine throughout, the Stonor valley looked a resplendent study in emerald in the late spring, the very essence of the English countryside; both lunch and tea, prepared by the saintly Megan Ashcroft in spite (or possibly because) of a ten month old daughter, were delicious and the cricket was, for the most part, a tight and good natured contest. Unlike the V&A most of the NTs have a connection to that august institution; however on this occasion late illness to a couple of regulars saw substitutes drafted in from Brighton. The wicket might, as usual, have benefitted from a bit more rolling and mowing. The crease at one end was marked at such a rakish angle as to cast doubt on the sobriety of its executor. The NT, who won the toss and invited the V&A to bat, took full advantage […]