GOOGLIES & CHINAMEN
An Occasional Cricketing Journal
Out & About with the Professor
We all have disappointments in life. Most frequently they are fairly mundane: “I should have ordered the fish” or “I should have been polite to the judge”. Sometimes they can be rather more profound: “I should have married her sister” or “I should have voted Remain”. I’m not too sure where my most recent disappointment sits on this continuum because, some months’ ago, I bought tickets for the first two days of the Headingley Test.
I was very happy with my decision in the weeks up to the Test, on the days of the Test, and up to about 10 minutes before the end of the match. After all, on Day One I saw England bowl out Australia for 179, which could have been half that. I don’t think I am imagining it but do Googlies readers share my impression that the ball has beaten the bat far more often in this series than is usual? Burns 133 in the First Test seemed to involve almost as many played-and-missed as it did runs; at Headingley, whenever Warner played forward there seemed to be about a 50:50 chance that he might actually hit the ball. I saw some graphic when I got home about Warner playing and missing but I wasn’t sure if they were only counting those balls that had flown through to the keeper. He also had numerous deliveries that missed the inside edge as well. Most often they hit him and Stuart Broad (almost always) appealed for LBW. Even if the ball hit Warner in the chest Broad appealed…well he is rather short.
England’s “Australian” field on the gloomy first day at Headingley
Since this has happened at all three venues it directs attention to this special (if it is special) batch of Dukes balls that must have seams like razorbacks. If Burns of the planted right foot plays and misses a lot you might question technique, but they all have: Root, Stokes, Warner, etc. Even Australia’s new South African Labuschagne, when not being felled by England’s new West Indian, played dozens of air shots. It must be the balls.
Arriving at the Ground for Day Two, however, the situation was clear. Things could scarcely be more propitious. Smith ruled out, we won the toss, the murky cloudy Day One had been perfect for our bowlers, the rain intervals had given them regular sit-down breaks…and now, well the sun was shining, a perfect day to bat. 27 overs later I was somewhat less sanguine. By the close of play I was appropriately depressed. But at least now I was certain – we would not recover the Ashes. What would happen, as all Googlies readers would know, is that Australia would bat on the next day and set us an impossible target to win. And so it proved. I even knew, as all people who know anything about cricket knew, what would happen in England’s innings – we would make a better fist of it than in the first innings (how could we not?), there would be a couple of decent stands which would make it look “respectable”, and we would end up about 100 short. Goodbye Ashes. At 15-2 even that was looking a touch optimistic.
So, I was smugly smiling to myself when people who clearly knew nothing about cricket at all (or the Sky team for whom “excitement” is a marketable commodity) started to talk about an England win. Don’t they know anything? Don’t they know that 359 in the final innings is impossible (even if that final innings began on Day Three). I knew what would happen. Why did I even bother to switch on. It was all too familiar and too depressing.
And then what couldn’t happen, happened.
I don’t know how many times I have watched replays of that penultimate over: the six, the run out, the LBW. Somehow only one of those happened. Minutes after the game ended I had a text from my chum Frank who said that he had dozed-off after Broad was out and dreamt that England had won…could I please confirm that he was now awake? Difficult. I wasn’t sure that I was.
Only sport can do this, I think, and only cricket can generate such stunning periods of high tension. Wonderful to watch. And what a proper person Tim Paine appears to be – surely he could have a political career after cricket should he so choose. None of Stokes’ heroics (surely not a hyperbole in this instance) can paper-over the big cracks in the England team performance but it does at least give some respite to just reflect on the long drawn-out physical and emotional drama that is Test cricket.
So now on to Old Trafford. Sadly, I will be on holiday for the whole week and so reliant on SkyGo. I hope I won’t regret it.
This & That
I didn’t see any of the Headingly test and so won’t comment other than it seemed to be a test of errors throughout. I now think that there will be some sort of further constraint on short bowling as the authorities will fear being blamed for some imminent catastrophe. Smith was hit in the neck and it could have been a kill blow.
I think I must have heard it before but in the second test when edges fell short of the slips Nass said that they should “buy a ticket”, by which he apparently meant they should take a step or two forward.
It has puzzled me why the Aussies call Nathan Lyon “Gary” or “Gazza”. It was eventually explained by one of the Aussie commentators who said that Gary Lyon was an eminent Aussie Rules player. The off spinner, as he goes past Lillee’s total of test wickets, must now be a bigger sporting figure and so perhaps the footballers will start calling their man Nathan?
The latest bowler to suffer from Bairstow wicket keeping was Joe Denly at Edgbaston where he would have claimed his first test wicket if Bairstow had gathered the ball cleanly with the batsman well down the pitch. As is usual after this sort of lapse almost nothing is said by the commentators.
In the same test Root decided to bowl and when he should have run out Steve Smith from Denly’s excellent throw he was to be found in front of the stumps and unable to effect the execution.
Burns received much praise for his maiden test hundred, but it should be noted that he played and missed 42 times during this innings. It could go down as the luckiest hundred in test history.
During these tests it has been good to see the players on both sides apparently wearing proper sweaters. The days of the bright white polyester jobbies favoured in the Vaughan era have apparently and deservedly consigned to landfill. On sartorial matters I noticed that Kent’s kit for Vitality Blast matches has featured skin-tight trousers. As far as I can remember the argument for loose strides in our day was to not inhibit movement. The logic on this has apparently changed.
One of the improved features of the Ladies game has been that they hit the ball harder than they used to. Playing for The Surrey Stars against Lancashire Lightning Lizelle Lee scored 75 from 28 deliveries with 3 sixes and 13 fours. This gave her an overall strike rate of 268.
T20 is usually considered to be a young man’s game but Surrey who normally have a load of youngsters slogging around up the order have regularly fielded spin twins Tahir(40) and Batty(42) with combined ages of 82. In their match against Somerset these two took 6 wickets in restricting Somerset to 157 and then Finch almost single handedly knocked them off with 102 not out from 53 balls in an innings that included 9 sixes.
Against Kent Will Jacks, who has prior form for this sort of thing, scored 63 from 27 balls in an innings which included 8 sixes and no fours. It is increasingly the case that players who have the biggest impact on these short form games hit a preponderance of sixes. Maybe in the Hundred next year they will do away with fours altogether?
ABdeV subscribes to this philosophy and at Richmond scored 88 not out from 35 balls with 9 sixes and 1 four as Middlesex beat Somerset. This was back in the heady days of July when Middlesex were winning T20 matches and looked like cruising to finals day. The bowling of Finn and Rowland-Jones also contributed to these victories, not least in the win at Lord’s which gave them a rare double over Surrey.
Leicestershire’s fortunes in the short format have varied. Yorkshire racked up 255 for 2 against them including 19 sixes. In reply Leicestershire made a creditable 201 for 4 but they were well beaten. Then they made 189 for 6 against the Birmingham Bears. The Bears were cruising to victory at 114 for 2 but then Colin Ackerman returned to the attack and took 7 for 18 and the Bears were all out for just 134. These were the best bowling figures in any T20 match.
Northants comfortably knocked off 189 against Worcestershire with Josh Cobb batting in the modern idiom scoring 62 from 32 balls with 7 sixes and 1 four.
But the best is left for last and amazingly features Middlesex winning at Taunton and thereby qualifying for the quarter finals. Tom Abell won the toss and scored 101 not out from 47 balls as Somerset racked up a formidable 228 for 5. I guess that Middlesex felt they had nothing to lose in the chase and Malan, Stirling and ABdeV all made contributions and scored at over 200. But the piece de resistance came from Morgan who made an astonishing 85 not out from 29 balls with 8 sixes and 5 fours. Morgan’s strike rate was 286 of which the stuff of wins is made. Middlesex’s chase was the highest successful chase in the history of the competition.
We can again enjoy excerpts from the GJM’s diary
S Finn has signed a new deal with Middlesex until the end of the 2021 season.
In Ben Fisher's Championship Preview in the G, he classes Rs as "relegation candidates", but he does not sound too pessimistic, he laments the loss of Luke Freeman to the Blades "but Mark Warburton has padded out an extremely green squad with some senior heads and Marc Pugh and Geoff Cameron are accomplished at this level".
The G has 5 full pages on the Test and 6 lines on the 3 T20 games played, which is about right, I suppose, but I want to know who to blame for Middlesex losing to Kent at Lord's by 28 runs! So, I looked it up on the Beeb w/s and found that A Blake made 66* off 29 and TSRJ's figures were 0-47 off 3, de Villiers and Morgan both returned, but managed only 10 and 28 respectively, Simmo (37 off 27) and TSRJ (31* off 19) did better, but could not find a way back from 65-4 after 8 overs.
Footy started today and I was shocked to read that Rs won 1-2 at Stoke with goals from Jordan Hugill (making his debut on loan from WHU) and Eberechi Eze (a fine solo goal following good work by Bright Osayi-Samuel), who are all well known to you, I am sure. Rs are equal 4th in the embryonic table.
Smith is the 8th batsman to score 2 tons in an Ashes Test (the others are W Bardsley, H Sutcliffe, W Hammond, D Compton, A Morris, S Waugh and M Hayden), is joint 2nd on the list of Test century makers v Eng 9 behind Sir Don (who has 19) and level with G Sobers and S Waugh (10), is also 2nd on the list of top Test averages (62.96) behind Sir Don (99.94) and just ahead of A Voges (61.87) and is well ahead in the list of best averages at no 4 (77.86), next best is S Ganguly on 66.
Footy: so much for the good start at Stoke, Rs are 0-1 down to a Huddersfield penalty with only ten minutes left. But wait: Rs have equalised through Hall on 83 mins. All the other games have finished, but they are still playing at the Rs after 95 mins. Oh the tension! Oh the drama! Eventually we get the final score: 1-1.
Radlett T20: Glo 168-8 (S Finn 3-18), Mx 156-3 (D Malan 91*, P Stirling 33), which apparently meant that Mx had won by 9 runs! No sign of Mr Lincoln. There was a sell-out crowd of 2,227 for this one! We are 2nd in the South table, ahead of Kent on run rate.
Carabao Cup, first round: Rs are through to round 2. Having drawn at home 3-3 with Bristol C, they won 4-2 on pens.
E Morgan wants to stay on as England limited overs capt, but he is another with back problems and he is uncertain whether he will be fit enough to continue.
Hove: Middlesex 75 a/o (O Robinson 8-34), which included a 10th wicket stand of 25 by Murts (20*) and Finn, Esky was top-scorer with 25. J Harris finally returned to the team after his broken thumb... and made 0. Hope springs eternal (and other clichés): Sussex are 15-2... later 128-3. Middlesex's fight back at Hove (Robson 68, Simpson 89, Harris 66, Finn 56 and Murts 25*) was not such a bad effort (378 a/o, O Robinson 6-101), but their pathetic first innings had already guaranteed defeat as Sussex strolled home by 7 wickets.
More good news! Rs thrashed Wigan 3-1, which is actually a fairly ordinary sort of triumph as Wigan were one of the few teams below us in the table. Nevertheless, Rs zoom up to the dizzy heights of mid-table. Rs continue to do well in the silly names league: their scorers v Wigan were Nahki Wells, Eberechi Eze and Jordan Hugill, while Wigan's goal came from Cedric Kipre: how about that for a quartet!
The current Cricketer (Vol 99 no 6) tells us all about the mysterious Dan Lincoln, who played a couple of T20s for Middlesex this season... and I have seen him play! He is 24, keeps goal for Bognor Regis Town (having been with Reading and Arsenal) and plays for Finchampstead and Berkshire! He "scored heavily for and against Middlesex 2nd XI" and Middlesex drafted him in for the Blast due to the absence of Eoin ("winning the World Cup"), Paul Stirling ("on Ireland Test duty") and AB de Villiers ("injuries to both hands"). "He debuted with an impressive 30 from 24 balls at Cheltenham, then scored 8 in the next match at Cardiff, where he took a stupendous one-handed catch". When I saw him at Finchampstead, he made 45 at no 4 before being caught and bowled by David Wainwright. The C says Lincoln "is leading the run-scoring charts for both his childhood club Finchampstead CC, who he captains in the Home Counties Premier League, and Berkshire, who have won the Minor Counties Championship three years in a row. Berkshire are top of the Championship Western Division and will play in the Minor Counties Trophy final at Wormsley."
Ex-Middlesex man G Berg has joined Northamptonshire, initially on loan, but permanently from next season.
The GJM reports on a trip with his Surrey supporting cousin, Jim Revier
Cousin Jim and I went to the Oval to see the County Championship (Division One) clash between Surrey and Hampshire, which started on August 18th. Hants won the toss, chose to bat first and made a sound start as Felix Organ from Sydney (26) and Ian Holland, born in the USA, but grew up in Melbourne (51 off 112 balls with 7 fours) put on 73 for the first wicket. Captain James Vince made 47 off 71 balls with 8 fours, but three wickets fell in quick succession and the visitors were struggling on 172-5. Liam Dawson (28) from Swindon and Aneurin Donald (32) from Swansea staged a partial recovery, but the visitors slumped again to 234-8. However South African Kyle Abbott (72 off 101 balls with 11 fours) and Ryan Stevenson (51 off 99 balls with 7 fours) from Torquay put on a remarkable 114 for the eighth wicket before the visitors were all out for an unexpectedly challenging total of 367. Rikki Clarke was the outstanding bowler for Surrey with richly deserved figures of 28-8-74-7.
After the early loss of Ryan Patel and Sam Curran, Mark Stoneman played a reassuring innings of 63 (off 165 balls with 8 fours) and shared an excellent stand of 93 with Scott Borthwick for the third wicket. Borthwick did even better with his next partner Ollie Pope, who looked in great form as soon as he reached the crease. These two put on 132 before Borthwick fell for a very valuable 100 off 188 balls with 11 fours. Pope found a fluent replacement partner in Aussie Aaron Finch and these two put on a terrific 188 for the fifth wicket until Finch fell for a thoroughly impressive 90 off 126 balls with 12 fours and a six. Clarke (29) helped Pope put on 54 for the seventh wicket and Pope had reached a brilliant 221* off 337 balls with 22 fours when the declaration came at 579 for 7 off 156 overs, a lead of 212.
With time lost to the weather on days 1 and 2 and the wicket now posing few problems, Surrey had to declare in order to go for the win, but their chances of shooting the visitors out on the last day were low. Fidel Edwards was the pick of the visiting bowlers with 5 for 125, but spare a thought for England's Liam Dawson who toiled through 53 accurate overs, but ended with the unflattering figures of 0-180.
Hampshire had only the draw to play for, but they started badly with both Holland and Vince back in the hutch with only 39 on the board. However, Organ (77 off 89 balls with 12 fours and a six) and Dawson (65 not out off 88 balls with 10 fours) ensured that the visitors were not going to lose. They got some useful assistance along the way from Sam Northeast (32, sharing a stand of 62 with Organ), Rilee Rossouw from Bloemfontein SA (40, sharing a stand of 65 with Organ) and Harry Came (grandson of RWV Robins) who shared an unbroken stand of 78 with Dawson as Hants finished on 253-5 off 64 overs. Off-spinner GS (Amar) Virdi, from Chiswick, was the pick of the bowlers in the second innings with 3 for 54 off 25 overs. Ed Smith has noted Pope's excellent form and has called him up to the England squad for the Third Test. Match drawn: Surrey 12 points, Hampshire 10.
Somerset State of Mind
Long standing readers will recall that Andrew Baker was the long-suffering Manager of Kelvin West’s Ladies Football team. He recently introduced me to Steve Tancock who has sent me this
ESPN’s Paul Edwards is one of the finest cricket writers. He is probably one of the finest craftsmen of the English language, writing reports that set your heart soaring with their beauty. If Constable was a cricket writer ……
Edwards is a Lancastrian, living in Southport travelling the country over the summer months to report on first-class cricket but I have a sneaking suspicion that he is a little less than impartial when it comes to this season’s Somerset County Cricket Club.
Listening to Edwards in the lunch interval on the second day of Somerset’s County Championship game against Nottinghamshire and reading his match reports has got me thinking. Edwards sensed something all Somerset supporters are aware of but haven’t verbalised. Even in early July with five more games remaining in the Championship campaign stretched out over the next two and half months, there was a tension around Somerset supporters that hasn’t been there for as long as I can remember. Why?
Edwards identified it as a case of Somerset being “The Hunted not the Hunter” at that stage of the season. Last season and in the other four seasons where they have finished runners-up in the Championship they have been chasing a leader, often close enough to be in with a real shout but ultimately the team ahead of them did not falter so despite a run of excellent results, the title eluded them.
And that is what was different this season up until the trip to Leeds, it was in Somerset’s hands. An innings defeat in Leeds and more worryingly an anaemic performance changed that, Somerset were overtaken by Essex, a team who won the championship two years ago and know how to get it done. While the difference was only 4 points it seemed like a chasm had opened up at the top of the table, one that the start of the T20 Blast only widened as the team had to wait over a month to resume red ball action.
But the feeling in Somerset did not seem to change making me think this mindset is not situational, it is cultural. Somerset is a county like no other, a county where cricket is the main sport. Where a large proportion of the population either support or actively follow the fortunes of the county side.
I have been a Somerset supporter for 50 years. My Dad was a Somerset supporter for over 70 years, my grandmother (a mean left arm bowler who inflicted many bruises in back garden games of cricket) followed the team’s fortunes avidly. And in all those collective years, we have never won the County Championship.
This current Somerset team has something else, over and above its on field prowess which endears them to us. They are, on the whole, a bunch of local lads, all brought up through our own academy, led by a Tauntonian who is the pride of our town, our county. We can identify with them as they understand what it means to us. Never, in all my years has there been such a strong bond between players and supporters. We want them to win it all, they want to win it for us as much as themselves.
And then there is Tres. Marcus Trescothick has been playing for Somerset for over half the time I have watched the county. His contribution to Somerset cricket is enormous, we will probably never see his like again in county cricket. A man with the courage to face and dominate the best international bowling attacks but also to be so open with his mental issuers and as a result change the world for many many people.
It is sad that Marcus has not been able to keep his place at the top of the order for Somerset this season. Not just for sentimental reasons but to give him the opportunity of a farewell tour and for opposing fans to have the opportunity to see him bat one last time. The question I have been most asked at away grounds since Tres left the first team is where is the great man. Evidence of how synonymous he is with Somerset cricket and how loved and admired he is throughout county cricket.
I was one of the lucky ones who saw his hundred at Old Trafford last May, an innings truncated by a broken metatarsal which resulted in a lay off until late July. Truth be told he has not been the same batsman since then although he came close in the Championship game at Taunton against Essex last August. There is a part of all Somerset fans which still believes that there will be one further twist in the Trescothick tale. But then perhaps we are all being a little to romantic there.
Speaking from personal experience I feel a weight of the generations who have gone before me in this title pursuit. My Dad passed away four years ago and one of his greatest regrets was never to see his beloved Somerset win the County Championship.
If you aren’t already convinced let me conclude with a personal story. In one of the last conversations I had with my Dad in the Spring of 2015, as his health failed him, he told me he hoped with all his heart I would see Somerset win it all in my lifetime.
The baton was passed and every day of the cricket season it weighs heavy on my heart.
Murray Hedgcock sent me this
Commendations James on the double century achieved by Googlies, always an appreciated contribution to the enlivening of cricket debate. I am proud to be mentioned, especially alongside The Professor.
Skipping the rights and wrongs of the Steve Smith debate (I was appalled when his misdeeds came to light, and still am not satisfied whether justice has been properly done), I air a thought arising from watching his bizarre technique.
Would he or any of his like be able to bat effectively if required to stick to “classic” methods, tested say in a practice match? Smith is the most extraordinary of all, but we also have had Burns’s eyes swivelling to midwicket before he plays his shot; Chanderpaul’s exaggerated two-eyed stance; Dhoni’s endless unfastening and fastening of his gloves (others do the same); and of course the protracted procedure adopted by Jonathan Trott in marking his guard.
Could any of these characters actually force themselves to bat “properly”, or would engrained habit prove too strong? I think we should be told.
Ian Harris sent me this
23 July 2019 - the day before the inaugural test match between England and Ireland. I had arranged to play real tennis at Lord's that afternoon, but got the call to see if I could play "senior gentleman's doubles" at noon. This was not especially convenient for me, given my chosen 16:00 slot for singles, but I acquiesced to play "if they were desperate". I got the call at about half-ten. As it turned out, the main senior gentleman had got his dates mixed up and wasn't there, so I ended up playing a not-quite-so-senior gentleman's singles. I played rather well, perhaps spurred on by the presence of two of the Ireland test cricketers; Kevin O'Brien and Andrew Balbirnie, who took a great deal of interest in the game and watched for a good 20 minutes or so.
Returning to Lord's for my 16:00 session, I realised that playing two hours of singles on a very hot day was not ideal, but it went fine. Coincidentally, as I arrived at the ground Kevin O'Brien was leaving Lord's. I leaned out of the car window:
"Don't you want to watch some more tennis?"
"You're back for more?"
"Yup, I must be mad".
24 July 2019 - Day One of the test. Dominic and I had been talking about finding a day to go to Lord's with Janie and Pamela for a county match, but as I had tickets for this match, it seemed a good idea to use this Ireland test for our gathering.
I brought smoked salmon bagels and Dominic brought a superb selection of cheeses from La Fromagerie. Dominic was one of two people who sent me messages, within a few minutes of each other on the preceding Sunday, wondering about brie cheese given the weather forecast for very hot weather. The other brie-enquirer was Charles "Charley The Gent Malloy" Bartlett.
It was indeed a blisteringly hot day, especially as the sun came out full pelt in the afternoon, making my excellent Mound Stand seats a little over-exposed. Fortunately, we managed to find our way to a clutch of newly-shady seats in the Warner mid-afternoon. It's not what you know...
By that time, England had long-since been rolled for diddly-squat and Ireland looked to be in the ascendancy. Still, it was a most enjoyable day of cricket-watching, eating and chatting.
Day Two of the test.
The weather was set to be even hotter. I knew I'd need to get to Lord's pretty early to secure shady seats in the Warner. So I did that. My guests for Day Two were Charles "Charley the Gent Malloy" Bartlett and Nigel "Father Barry" Hinks. On the water front, I brought a spare refillable flask but in fact Chas brought one for each of them, along with the picnic, which Dot "Mrs Malloy" very kindly made up for us all. We'd agreed in advance that we'd have an alcohol-free day given the extreme heat. I suspect that bar takings were much lower than the MCC had hoped for too. Despite that, the St John's Ambulance people were kept busy that day - it really was a scorcher - a record July day apparently.
The cricket was good - England set a fairly modest but probably defensible score ending the day nine-down, which meant that there was to be cricket on Day Three. Hurrah. Mostly thanks to an unexpectedly dogged night-watchman job by Jack Leach for England.
Day Three of the test.
The original plan had been for Chas and Nigel to join me on Day Three as well, but circumstances intervened and they both dropped out several weeks ahead of the match. In the end, for reasons far too dull to explain, I ended up with three guest tickets to dispense, which ended up in the capable hands of Simon "Awesome Simo" Jacobs, Bobbie "Báirbre" Scully and Pamela (see Day One). Dominic was also going to join us once he had escaped from the Tower of London.
The weather was less than special first thing, so my early morning mission to secure good seats on Day Three comprised finding a similar level of cover as was required for the shade the day before, but also in a position that would avoid any squalls of rain. Again, success. I took plenty of reading matter as I guessed that none of my guests would be turning up early. Pamela, who lives nearby, texted in to say that she was going to wait until the showers passed (smart move). Simon was slightly delayed, but not as delayed as the start of play, so he got to see the first ball which was also the entirety of the remainder of the England innings.
But before that, I had already received a text from Bobbie. I have previously described Bobbie's timekeeping, which, traditionally was based on leaving Place A for an appointment at Place B at roughly the appointed time to be at Place B. This works fine if Place A and Place B are very close to each other; less fine if they are some distance apart. Bobbie had, in fact, confounded all my temporal expectations by being early on the previous occasion we had met but for the Ireland Test Match she reverted to type. At 10:57, three whole minutes before the test match was due to start, I received this text from Bobbie:
Right, I am leaving [home] now - somewhat behind planned schedule (you will not be surprised to hear). Actually, with the rain delay, innings break and then another rain delay very early in the Ireland innings,
Bobbie and Pamela (both of whom arrived around 12:15/12:30) only missed about eight balls and no runs. Just the one wicket.
In the meantime, Simon and I were able to have a good chinwag without mentioning our hateful politics and sickeningly awful politicians too much.
Once Bobbie and Pamela arrived, the cricketing day moved on very quickly indeed, in fact, the cricketing side of things was done and dusted just over an hour later. That's not enough time to get through a whole picnic. It wasn't even enough time for Bobbie to get through her cricketing anecdote. It turned out that this wasn't Bobbie's first experience of international cricket; it was her second., from 1977.
The stewards allowed us and the assembled masses to continue our picnics and convivialities for some time, although the arrival of the marching bagpipe band to "entertain" us seemed like an excellent way for the considerate host that is the MCC to make everyone feel that they remain welcome while driving all but the sturdiest (and/or deafest) away.
Simon decided to depart quite swiftly. Dominic joined us briefly before going off to change for his game of realers. Pamela, Bobbie and I watched Dominic play real tennis in the absence of any real Irish folk playing cricket. After that, Bobbie and I retired to The Bridge (home to the Canal Cafe Theatre) for a more comprehensive catch up. A most agreeable end to a convivial and sporting week.
All the back editions of Googlies can be found on the G&C website. There are also many photographs most of which have never appeared in Googlies.
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