FROM OUR POLITICALLY INCORRECT TOFF-IN-THE-KNOW VYVYAN BARTINGTON-PHYPPS
Good day, as they are wont to say in the penal colonies.
Hot news off the presses, as I believe those earnest scribblers of the Fourth Estate may affirm, is that the Reverend Stewart has been elected skipper of one’s Eleven for the forthcoming summer. One has to admit that one did not perceive this arriving, as one might say. Nevertheless, after constantly professing that his hellraising days are behind him, in conjunction with the complete reformation of his character over the past year, then convincing the assembled membership at the annual gathering of same in stirring tones, captain he undoubtedly will be.
Said promotion has come at the expense of the Laird, who has been dramatically ostracized by the proletariat (for non-classical scholars from the Greek ostrasarz or ostraka – meaning the broken shards of pottery used for voting purposes by citizens of a city state to banish officials no longer required). One has to feel slightly sorry for His Jockness, a decent fellow and the sort of chap one would gladly follow out of the trenches and into no man’s land, who has done little wrong and led the Eleven well by example, but has paid the price for his protracted bicycling tour of the Himalayas which occasioned him to be absent for many vital fixtures, together with the downturn of the Eleven’s fortunes in the latter part of the summer. However, his exile has been mercifully rescinded and he will hopefully remain a valued member of the team for the coming season.
At present, one is uncertain as to what to expect from the new regime, His Reverence being a talented though complex fellow of manifold moods.
The Major will remain as steady 2-i-c with Sgt. Buttocks (described by the noble knight Sir Simon de Warrenne as ‘a positive light in a gloomy management structure’) as back up on all fronts, along with Messrs. Wright-Herbert and Dangerfield, together with the ubiquitous Professor Bigglesworth.
Now, for many years it has been the tradition for certain devotional members of the Eleven, once the post-match dressing-room rituals have been observed and the ale commences to flow, to withdraw themselves to a distant part of the cricket field for a prayer meeting, with some quiet contemplation and spiritual refreshment, from whence they duly return metaphysically uplifted. One is given to understand that this praxis will not only be forwardly encouraged, but will be augmented by bible readings and the rendition of stimulating hymns prior to the commencement of every contest.
Additionally, some further inspiration will be occasioned by a pre-season ‘pep talk’, in the fashion of the one designated by that old codger with the red nose to the European team of little white ball chasers toward their splendid victory over the Yankee colonists. To this consideration I have thus invited my erstwhile chum from the Hellfire Club, Mister Neville Garage, charismatic chief of the English National Socialist Party, to which end he has happily concurred to oblige if not overly engaged in rallies or the forthcoming hustings.
Meanwhile, with little cricket being experienced, one’s attention has now turned to one’s Association favourites Woolwich, who have proceeded into the new season in a somewhat sketchy manner, with a number of drawn fixtures and having had their colours lowered by Mister Moseley’s blueshirts, outwitted by the Portuguese bandit and his gang of Latin American desperados (of whom it is whispered indulge in unnatural fellowship with goats!). One has also to report a rather embarrassing touchline contretemps betwixt the bandit and Woolwich’s secretary-manager Monsieur Wonga. Luckily, Msr. W skilfully avoided the bandit’s usual modus operandi of a sneaky poke in the eye, the only serious damage occurring to his bespoke red necktie! Of course, this disgraceful behaviour would never be tolerated upon a cricket field, except perhaps if one’s Eleven were playing the Acme Eleven.
Sad news has also reached one regarding the fate of Woolwich’s great rivals, Middlesex Rovers (‘Glory, glory be, the only team in Milton Keynes are we!’) of whom it is reported that their Association Eleven may be rendered homeless upon the forthcoming demolition of their playing arena. I understand there have been several offers of temporary accommodation, but might one suggest the Paulin Ground at Winchmore Hill, where the local Eleven play in the Southern Amateur League (so, a similar calibre of the Association game to Middlesex), and, additionally, as many of the dwindling band of Rovers’ fanatics appear to permanently reside in the cricket pavilion. A good compromise all round, n’est-ce pas?
Farewell, until we meet again.