The Amateur Gentleman’s Review #3


Salutations, fellow members of one’s Eleven and honoured guests. ew swantonMuch time has elapsed since one’s last exposition, during which the fortunes of our Eleven have prospered to a high degree, as one shall now attempt to recount.

The triumph over the Essex villagers was most intoxicating. Contrary to popular legend, they were not all in possession of twelve toes and related to each other, but instead as fine and hearty a bunch of sporting fellows as one could wish to encounter. His Lordship effected his finest fettle, which was distinctly expeditious, since most of his batting colleagues had left their brains in the changing room! As the tension mounted, one was reminded of the 1902 Oval Test against the convicts, where Mister Jessop’s superb innings had contrived an unlikely English victory, with the last pairing of Hirst and Rhodes scrambling the final runs required.

Having assisted the dauntless Mister Buttocks in the aforementioned denouement, Professor Bigglesworth additionally garnered a five wicket harvest in the Graces contest. It was as if Mister Bosanquet had risen from the earth and returned in all his pomp to deceive one and all with his spin, flight and guile. Whether this turns out to be a brief shaft of sunlight amidst the ever darkening clouds, one can merely surmise.

Most recently there occured the fine feat of the Reverend Stewart, awarded three hats in the triangular tournament. His reformation is almost complete, apart from a minor hiccup on the return journey from the Eleven’s most successful sojourn to Portugal, where he had purchased aeroplane chits for himself and his young ward, Master Atkinson-Cruise, only to discover on arrival at the aerodrome that they had expired the previous day! The situation was rectified with some alacrity, but at a severe cost. The collection box may be a little less full for a while. There remains also some concern over his young protege, whose recklessness at the wicket is costing him dear. A steadier hand may be required.

The reverend and his 'young ward' awaiting northerly conveyance
The reverend and his ‘young ward’ awaiting northerly conveyance

A brace of unfortunate incidents have occured of late, to which one must allude. A ruffian in the Graces’ Eleven bumped the ball most severely at Senor Albanian (a more mild-mannered and inoffensive fellow one could not imagine) fetching him a nasty blow to the noggin. In the international fixture with Ceylon, an English batter was run out by the bowler backing up to slight excess. Now, the intrepid pioneers of our British Empire have accomplished wonders, spreading the honourable game of cricket to all our colonial cousins. Unfortunately, it has not been such plain sailing to inculcate them on the spirit of fair play. No English captain would have sanctioned such behaviour, except perhaps Mister Jardine, but then of course he was a Scotchman.

In conclusion, one’s hat must be tipped to the Eleven’s Association favourites Woolwich, who procured the Challenge Cup in a momentous tussle with Grimup North End in the Final Tie at the Empire Stadium. Additionally, they have been invited back yet again to the Grand European Tour in the autumn, at the expense of the toffee munchers and Woolwich’s great rivals, Middlesex Rovers, they of the interminably tedious anthem ‘Glory, glory be. The only team in Middlesex are we. Alleluia! Alleluia!’.

It is rumoured the Rovers are proposing to construct a new playing arena, presumably after the local pyromaniacs have reduced the old one to a smouldering ruin, thereby qualifying for a lucrative redevelopment grant from the Lord Mayor, Boris Whittington. Au revoir until next time Vyvyan


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