Earlier in the year I was pitching for a contract and the head honcho on the panel asked what is my greatest strength. I thought here we go and snapped back “I’ve got perspective.” Nods all round from the panel- when can you start mate? I ‘m sharing this with you because the dust has now settled on the Tigers 2014 season and without being arrogant I can provide some perspective on the going ons at JST to supplement Stevie B’s thoughtful analysis.
The Tigers rocked up for the AGM/ End of season drinks in early November in good spirits. This was soon tested by the prices at the Island Queen in the heart of Islington-just south of £5 per pint. As a resident of an even higher rated London postcode I tried to explain the process of gentrification to our Essex cousins, Renster and Wrighty but I am not sure they got the message. I’ll leave that one with the estate agents.
However the real wake up call emerged from Stevie (Mr Cricket) B’s analysis of the season, full of stats and facts and no hiding place for the Tigers. The mood changed and it was clear that heads needed to roll to account for the second half of the season slump. Fingers were being pointed. Batsmen sought an explanation from the bowlers, bowlers from the fielders and fielders pointed back at the bowlers. In the words of Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys 2- the shit had just got real.
Captain Craig ‘I work for HMRC’ Murray made an impassioned plea to keep the job for 2015. With Chatham House rules applying I cannot reveal too much about the process. In summary Craig’s pitch was a cross between Nasser Hussain (I got you intothis mess and I will lead you out of it) and Ed Miliband (I really do feel your pain, Britain is going back to the 1920/30’s etc). On the latter that is quite good news as a Huddersfield Town fan- we won the league 3 times in a row under Herbert Chapman. The other contender Stewart ‘We are Raving’ Taylor made a more emotional plea for votes- a bit more Russell Brand like with images of hot tub marathons and nitrate fuelled rubdowns- but short on strategy. The 2 candidates left the room and the rest of the Tigers gave their individual thoughts on the way forward. Stewart emerged victorious, defrosting the cynical hearts of the meeting. Thankfully there was no repeat of the 2013 voting fiasco where even Mugabe and Sepp Blatter would have raised their eyebrows.
It was clear the crowd wanted change and for Vice Captain they rejected Craig and liked what they heard from Richard B. The crowd also got stuck into Stevie B as Treasurer and it was good to see some challenging questions from the rank and file. Shame the Cooperative Bank’s Audit Committee could not have adopted the same robustness. Stevie B had the answers and carefully explained the need for the stationery requirements although personally I would still like an answer as to how many pints the Winchester touring party necked at the club’s expense. I’ll pursue this one off line.
The rest of the meeting was prizes time. The uncharitable amongst the gathering believed this to be an exercise in self delusion. The bowler of the year deservedly went to Matt ‘I live in Winchmore Hill’ Webster. Matt does a sterling job for the team on and off the field so it will be churlish of me to criticise this metropolitan liberal media-luvvie. Barnaby, who seems to have taken like a duck to water to the less challenging aspects of fatherhood, dedicated his batting award to the latest family arrival – Brooklyn or some similar name. The emotional moment was Mike ‘I am the music man’ Delanian winning champagne moment of the year for his 6 wicket haul earlier on in the summer when our bowlers actually took some wickets. MD takes his music seriously, scouring South America for salsa samples. When I mentioned there was one right under his nose in North London, he wasn’t impressed replying ‘We don’t listen to music anymore, we just hear it.’ I’ll leave you to be the judge of that.
The rest of the evening was an exercise in brushing the performances in the second half of the season under the carpet. The bowlers were angry that the jug bar was to be lowered for taking wickets, which was a bit rich when you think in 3of the last 4games we managed about 1 wicket every 15 overs. The Winchmore Hill bar will be wise not to factor this into their income projections for 2015. Chairman Wright told us we are all doing very well, no need to get any young fast bowlers, the nets will sort out any shortcomings etc etc.
So there you have it. The evening ended with man hugs and high fives and 2015 will see these plucky characters take to the field once more. Perhaps the words of H Rap Brown from the Black Panthers will resonate with the Tigers hierarchy. ‘You can’t do your own thing if your own thing ain’t the right thing’.
Until the next time.