Something was rotten in the state of Denmark. Bags were packed, bats polished, baggy caps… baggied. Yet to the Scotties assembling for their treasured Sunday game, there was something off. It was SATURDAY. Like jetlag without flying, we arrived a whole sixty minutes early for the game. The Beard Hawson claimed this was simply contemptuous familiarity by the Royal Household CC, knowing that the Scotties treat ‘time’ as a fluid concept, rather than an agreed international standard. Maybe they had had The Skipper and The Mex rather too many times. Oh, actually they didn’t meet The Mex last year because he got locked out of his flat, wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts and holding a toothbrush waiting for a food delivery. (Sorry Hareen, waited a year to put that in writing). I suspect there was some skulduggery going on somewhere, but it was to the benefit of Kyle pack, fuming at those conspirators at TFL who delayed his tube.
New addition to the club Jake Smart admitted quickly that he loved seeing Kyle get annoyed and hoped the day would bring more gifts. Mother Cricket quickly provided them. Apparently, the Royal Household treat time as a fluid concept too, in which they play a ‘timed game’ which strictly ends at tea. Thus, completely robbing the concept of any value at all. Kyle was immediately unhappy at the prospect. So, you should have seen his face (and Ant’s) when it emerged that there was only one ball used for the game, and we were batting second. As his face turned thunderous, so Jake’s radiated with further joy. Oh, what gifts, when we found out he was batting at 10. It was set to be a most entertaining day for those on the boundary as one or two chilled libations started to slip down. The Royal Household really are blessed with the most high-security pub in the country, manned by members of the resident Prince’s close protection unit. Many different plans were quickly hatched about how we could get Aidan tasered, especially after we thought the bloke turning up with a pistol might be the umpire. One or two over-enthusiastic appeals might result in a quick 9mm to the kneecap. Spare a thought for Mr Jimmy Slatter, who will currently be choking into a pint of some kind of Kangaroo-excrement with glee as his colonial lot have smashed the English. He was not quite informed of the traditions of the household and very reasonably, chose to bat. Some batting happened, I missed loads of it as I was sleeping off the effects of the night before (thanks, James Reilly for the red wine – delicious, from what I could remember).
Thankfully the score card reminds me that the RHCC umpire made a questionable decision for Mr Slatter, who was out on 8 from a LBW that looked to be heading rather closer to her majesty’s residence up the road, than to the stumps. Oh well. 33 proved an unlucky number for Messrs West and Watson, D(anny) as they both perished and the last real honours were taken by Bruce Martin, a relative of some form of The Beard Hawson from the plains of the Highveld, freshly finished wrestling buffalo and ready to hit some big shots. 44 came up pretty quick.
Okay, now a small aside. The ‘timed’ game (which is bloody ridiculous anyway) *the views of the author are his own and do not represent the Captain Scott Invitation XI as a whole* is supposed to allow the batting team to bat on after tea if needs be to get a few more runs. Not so. It would appear, we were told rather stiffly, that this was ‘not how we are play our cricket’ here and that you declare at tea. I rather gather that the person who told this to our captain was still a bit miffed about the business of losing the Empire and could not believe that an Australian – a colonial – was allowed to captain The Scotties. So, I ask, what the f*cking hell is the point of a timed game, if you are to declare at tea? Just play 40/40 surely? Answers on a (small) postcard please. Did I mention this concept annoyed me? It may have appeared further up the article too.
The machinations of village cricket will always be skewed in the favour of the home team (cricket, a gentleman’s game? Pah!). As such, we were then made to bowl after tea with the old ball. This may be the one and only time in my life that I agree with Aidan Naude. Next year, we may need to find a couple of sharp spinners and bring 8/9 batsmen. (Or bowl first, was the eminently sensible alternative). RHCC knocked off the 160 required and only lost one wicket. Kyle looked utterly miserable, which made Jake and I even happier. That’s about it for the game.
Enough. Cricket is a game, RHCC is a wonderful place. If there is anywhere on earth that should be allowed to foster a little eccentricity, it is the 22 yards on that strip, in the gardens of the castle. The tea is another level, the opposition are great fun and the location is phenomenal. I can only hope Jamo’s hangover cleared by the time we got home.