Match Reports

Match Reports

19th September 2023
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V&A vs. All Sorts

    The ALL SORTS are named after a box of liquorice sweeties. Like Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts they’re a mixed bag. Some are butch and young, others not. David Pitlarge suggested, by the way, that I have a Manichean view of cricketers, they are either butch or effete. But there are exceptions and skipper Adam Jacot falls in between: his feminine side is dominant in the kitchen but his virility is apparent in his bowling and robust batting. His manliness was evident when a ball smacked him in the mouth. He retired reluctantly from the field, was patched up by the wonderful Emma and returned to his bowler’s mark, bloodied but uncomplaining. His captaincy was typically tactful, with late-order batsmen bowling and everyone getting a chance to do something, however badly. Adam’s fielding was as always languid, and generous to the batsmen. Christiaan and I had a chat about the […]
21st August 2023

V&A CC v. Raedarii CC

  V&A v RAEDARII CC, STONOR, AUGUST 19, 2023   When Colin Cowdrey faced the Aussie paceman Jeff Thomson in his last innings, the conversation went like this – Cowdrey: Good morning. Mr. Thomson, I believe. My name is Cowdrey, pleased to make your acquaintance. Thommo: That shit cuts no ice with me, Fatso. Now piss off. I mentioned this exchange at lunch because – apart from it being exactly as old as our club – it typifies two cultures, that of the venerable MCC, patrician and courteous, and that of the Brave New World of sledging and swearing. Faded flannels v lurex. Raedarii CC (‘coachmen’ in Latin) are very much old school, polite and helpful. They cleared their dishes. Said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and called me ‘Sir’. Their charming skipper, Rupert Baddock, even emailed to ask whether it was true that our dress code demanded jackets and cravats […]
13th August 2023
conington 23

V&A CC v Howitzers (tour)

There are two Coningtons near Peterborough, and I found the wrong one. I gave Joe and Nick Constantine a lift and they weren’t too impressed. We drove around the lanes of a scrubby village and asked yokels for the cricket pitch. ‘No idea’ was the stock answer and I thought them moronic not to know their most picturesque spot. ‘It’s by the church. Opposite the manor house,’ I said. Blank, stupid looks. ‘Mark Braid is the owner.’ Who? Then a bloke said – ‘You might mean the other Conington.’ Fuck. So we were late. We were 13 for 0 when we arrived with Jasper and Marc looking comfortable against goodish bowling on a flat pitch. But Marc, a very good batsman indeed, contrived to nick a fastish ball to the armpit of a bemused first slip. Out. Enter Lachlan who looked set for a good score but played back to […]
1st August 2023

Sarah Jenkins’ retirement

When Mr. and Mrs. NICK JENKINS joined us at Stonor almost 40 years ago we benefitted in two ways. Sarah brought her culinary skills and Marigold gloves; and Nick brought his drinks cabinet in the boot of his Renault Alpine. What Nick did not bring was cricket skills. He was, technically speaking, useless. One year he caught a catch but it was a mistake, the ball nestled in his armpit as he was trying to duck. He was ignorant of the terminology of cricket. He thought a yorker was a bloke from Leeds. He was unwordly too. I asked him to field at square leg. Where’s that? Adjacent to the umpire, I said. ‘Adjacent?’ But he is a wonderfully affable man who gives good pub. His missus may be more erudite but is no less congenial in the face of some provocation, the worst of which was Bruno Wollheim’s barb […]
18th June 2023

V&A v Bacchus XI

‘Cricket is better than sex’ (Harold Pinter). I quoted this old chestnut the other week and one V&A stalwart told me – ‘I tried his theory out with the missus after the pub, it being Saturday – a sort of practical. The missus said Pinter was right. And she hates cricket.’ He went on: ‘Cricket is actually like sex. It involves absurd positions. And etiquette, confrontation, argument and disappointment. And recrimination.’ We had all the above on Saturday, to a lesser degree. There was ‘organised loafing’ too (Archbishop Temple), as we hung about for an age before wandering out to play. We batted first in a 35-over game skippered with his customary skill and tact by Rob Taylor. I umpired and was soon embroiled in a minor argument and confrontation with a very reasonable bowler who asked politely why his LBW appeal was rejected when the ball would have hit […]
28th May 2023

V&A v Invalids

A glorious day! Sunny, cloudless, a slight breeze, charming opposition, brilliant lunch – pulled pork courtesy of Steph Bird – and no riff-raff. Thankfully, it is some time since we had a moron like Richard Adamson who used to smoke at square leg and thought it funny to call me Mr. Turd. Or that bloke Julian Stewart who thought Churchill was just a nodding dog.  Things started badly from the cricket point of view. Lachlan cried off, Tom Bird buggered his back. Christy came in for Lachlan and Dominic Scott at the very last minute for Tom. We missed Lachlan’s pace, batting flair and acting prowess, particularly his impersonation of a brooding thespian.  We played a 35-over game, captained by Jonkers. We batted first on a dry, well-behaved pitch (thank you, groundsman). Their bowling was good, if not terrifying. David Pitlarge and Jasper Arnold opened, and progressed steadily, with some […]
29th January 2023


V&A TEAM: VIN GRANTHAM, NICKY BIRD, CHRISTIAAN JONKERS (CAPT.), TOM BIRD, STEPH BIRD, STEPH’S MUM FIONA, NICK PRITCHARD-GORDON THE V&A QUIZ TEAM won last year, and we have won it before. I am embarrassed that we look like a cocky bunch of St Custard’s swots, who know things about books and history and stuff, and bring our own claret. But our Achilles’ Heel is popular culture; with no one under 40 our knowledge ended with the Tellytubbies. Jonkers, for instance, thinks TikTok is what a clock does.  Stonor’s great quizmaster John Powell sets the questions which are brainy and fair – designed to challenge clever dicks but not bamboozle the unlearned. We once had a chap on our team – Ernest Franklin – who failed to answer a single question. Partly due to drink as well as senescence (and doodling inanely on the tablecloth).  This year our team met at […]
30th December 2022

V&A awards dinner 2022

On arrival, Nicky Bird was leaning on the bar at the City Barge in Chiswick, like a Whykamist Del Boy Trotter, spinning yarn and selling stories. The rugby (England v New Zealand) wasn’t on the TV, so a Bird broadcast sufficed as mild entertainment; politics sprinkled with smut, as usual, and that was just his take on Liz Truss. She had apparently made a pass at Andy Fraser in a cab once, and he demurred, which Nicky struggled to believe; not because Liz is “top of the range”, but Andy has “never knowingly turned down anyone”. Truss’ successor, Rishi Sunak, went to Winchester College. “£45,000 a year to board, a rowing club, and a rifle club!” Sir Keir  hurled at the despatch box recently. It also produced Nicky Bird esq, which would’ve been my line of attack. The awards ceremony this year was complimented by a wine tasting, port challenge, […]
27th September 2022

2022 Season Review

The 2022 SEASON was notable for an amazing number of exciting finishes, which weren’t contrived. The most memorable ending was in the second game of our Cambridge tour, against Mark Braid’s XI. Joe Tetlow needed to hit 10 off the last two balls. He hit two sixes. The bowler was their opener, the deliveries were good. As an aside, few remember the bloke at the other end when something dramatic happens. Who was batting with Bradman when the Don was bowled for a duck by Hollies in his last test? Arthur Morris, who went on to make 196. Who was batting with Tetlow? Bird N.  We saw some bright young talent who we must nurture, with bribes or fine wine. Niam Scott-Ram, Aubrey Bamber, Otto Gundry, Theo Grantham and Alex Pitlarge for example. Charlie Hunt, who shone for us briefly, is too good and plays proper cricket for Turville or […]
18th September 2022

V&A v Refreshers CC

THE QUEEN was Lying in State as we played and the queues to Westminster Hall stretched back to Berkshire. There were queues to get in the queue. Were we guilty of lèse-majesté by playing? David Beckham probably thought so; unlike your run-of-the-mill royal or president, he joined the queue – possibly to show his man-of-the-people credentials in a last bid for a gong. But a Scottish actor (or ‘moron’) claimed the coffin was empty and the body had been secreted elsewhere for ‘security reasons’. Someone suggested she might be in the locked container behind the pavilion at Stonor; but the lock didn’t prevent the mower being nicked so this was thought unlikely. It was a sunny day but cold. Beautifully green. Joe Tetlow had worked hard to get a decent team together. I gave him a lift. There was something strange about him. He was unhungover. He talked sense. We […]