Tom Bird was skip in a 35 over match v THE BUTLERS XI, the team from Radio 4. A most agreeable bunch. Extremely voluble in the field, competing in decibels with the Craft Fair opposite. The Fair is a lesson in how to make hideous things in raffia. The Butlers batted first in the morning heat. They are young (their keeper excepted) and agile. I fielded, and was not. I missed a tricky chance in the slips that I would have palmed 40 years ago. Lachlan is quicker than ever nowadays and soon bowled their openers. Enter Leo Townsend, a man with a fabulous eye. He smote the ball far into the Craft Fair (our track was practically on the road), right into the melée of cars and people by the gate. We are insured, but our legal position might be iffy if we did nothing to address the problem […]
What a business this fixture was! The NOMADS, who we were due to play, cancelled on Friday owing to the Lord’s Test, and doubts about the weather (wrong on that count). Phil and I spent the day looking for an opposition, fruitlessly. The South London teams wanting a game all thought Stonor Injun country, fearsomely rural, and declined to travel. So we cancelled on Friday night. But then at 10.15 on Saturday morning a bloke from a Kingston (Surrey, not Jamaica) team rang to say his lot had just been let down and they could make it to Stonor by 1.30. Nine of them made it. Actually, they made it to Lord Camoys’ big house, late, because I gave them the wrong postcode, but they were charmingly gracious throughout the day. And as talkative on the field as us. Nigel Allsop did a sterling job in rushing to the ground […]
Match Organizer for a ‘new-to-V&A’, Sunday afternoon fixture. Last time it was Hermits… Are these trials? Or is this paranoia? Eight days before the game in the garden of the Golden Ball over chips and drinks after victory over Legends, Ross and Lachlan volunteer simultaneously to skipper. They agree to do the job jointly whilst Phil organizes the off-field stuff. To help recruitment, the beauty of the W&SCC, village-green ground is discussed loudly. The pub and the extensive playground, both adjacent to the pitch, also get mentions. Onto research: Their website shows lots of youth cricket but only two of their last seven Sunday afternoon games have been played or reported. An email is sent to their Match Organizer, re-assuring him V&A can get a side out. Four days pass without response… Martin B played for Acme CC at W&SCC in May and makes himself available to play for V&A […]
The season ended not with a bang but a whimper. Our last improvised fixture at Stonor was not to be. God intervened as She/He often does, though for most of the summer you’d have thought cricket was what God did, so glorious was the weather. And for much of it I was in the mountains of upstate New York in persistent rain. Fuck it. I am not sure that improvised games work, oppositions are cobbled together and inquorate. We should ensure, though, that we do not get any more fixtures snaffled by the bohemians of the Chelsea Arts Club. We had an astounding number of close, even nail-biting, finishes. Not of the engineered type I used to contrive when I was a sort of permanent captain. If the opposition looked to be needing help I’d put a wally bowler on. The trouble was the wally bowler knew why he was […]
A new fixture for us which got off to a bad start with the opposition fielding a mere 8 players and blaming both RyanAir and hangovers. In order to even things up, we lent them Nichal Sethi: recent recruits to the V&A are often bullied into playing for the opposition or, if they stay in our side, they have to field at forward short leg. We didn’t play our standard game (35 overs per side) but one designed to make the most of the day (first team bats for 2.5 hours, second team gets 1 hour and 20 overs). In the circumstances, it was decided that the V&A would bat first. The Refreshers are a team of barristers, but very decent company indeed. Their skipper had defended Stokes. Rather successfully. If you are involved in a pub brawl he is your man (not Stokes, the lawyer). Ashcroft and Taylor opened […]
__________________________________________________________ ‘An umpire should be a rock of insensitivity. He must be insensitive to raucous and determined appeals. He must be insensitive to being hated by 11 men, one of whom, the bowler, would like to see him impaled on a stump.’ – Simon Barnes ‘When I retired from first class cricket, I turned out for my village side. But I gave up ‘cos the pitch was a cabbage patch. And the dopey umpires were swayed more by loud appeals and a yen to get to the pub than the laws of cricket.’ – David Steele __________________________________________________________ I was a football ref for many years, at a lowly level. I was called a w*nker most days. Fair comment I thought. I now umpire at Stonor more than play, and although I am still a w*nker, cricketers are more couth and (mostly) only call me rude names as they trudge back to their mark. We […]
‘Cricket makes men of boys, sportsmen of dullards, gentlemen of ruffians, Englishmen of foreigners.’ History of Cricket, Ward Lock, 1898 ‘Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. Sport is war minus the shooting.’ The Sporting Spirit, George Orwell, 1945 Orwell was right about SERIOUS sport, but we are hardly serious. I prefer the first quote, though how playing cricket can make Johnny Foreigner an Englishman is a mystery. Our serious sporting moment in the Battersea Bandits game came right at the very end, a moment of high drama that tested our Corinthian pedigree. I am back on match reporting duties after a prolonged absence due to not playing and other people doing it better; and being incapacitated through drink, dicky knees or battlefield touring. Am just back from Normandy. A […]
Our Annual Cricket Dinner passed off without incident. The evening was graced by babies and dogs and if it didn’t match the splendour of the National Liberal Club at least the staff were younger and more comely.