WITLESS 2012

WITLESS 2011

Index

WITLESS 2013

 

Alex Page signs off with a rum tale.

Single Entendre
St Radegund vs. Village C.C.

                The following are all true facts. Richard Naisby had broken both his wrists. He could not use his hands. He had got his wife pregnant. He had now recovered. He was using the internet again. Safe Mode was disabled. This was the backdrop to the Village match.

“Do you know what happens when you Google ‘Carina O’Reilly?’” Richard asked.

Before I could respond he handed me his iPhone. The first photo in Image Search showed our friendly Labour Councillor beaming out a comely grin. The second showed her Facebook photo. The rest were the stuff of erotic lithographs. One showed a certain Karina O’Reilley, apparently a noted actress; though I had not come across her face before, many others had. Though the Arbury member is a global arms and terrorism expert, her namesake was involved in international relations of an entirely different kind. It can be hard to negotiate between rival factions, and it was fair to say that the intermediary in this case was shafted from either end. It was not your usual pre-match.

                   That  said, innovative coaching reaps rewards. Should you struggle to appreciate a good length, there were many reminders amongst the images. It would not help me to bowl a maiden over but I was prepared to face balls bouncing from the member’s end. The gentlemen exemplified the nature of a long and hard innings on even the stickiest of wickets. Making my way from pub to match, these thoughts flashed through my head like an itinerant streaker.

               The pattern of events mirrored an O’Reilley storyboard. Following a perfunctory toss, the opening pair were inserted. The batsmen came and went. Some had trouble playing straight. With Burbs (2 for 14) swinging constantly the Rad assumed a dominant position. Youdan, though, then entered into the scene. He nibbled, nudged and nurdled his balls with delicate strokes easing his way to a top score (36). I came up short prematurely and the big guns of Bomb (30*) and Collins (30*) finished it off with something explosive. They crossed boundaries and spanked it hard.  

              Chasing a big score, Eagle and Mack (16) came out together. The pair struggled to penetrate Village’s tight ring, however. Mav (2 for 10) and Moroney (2 for 7) banged it in hard and player after player quickly filled the crease. Collins got involved within his googlies (2 for 6) and stumps tumbled.

              The O’Reilley oeuvre includes the Penthouse classic Caught From Behind. Rather appropriately Village completed the romp as the final shot fell into the keeper’s hands. Keeping up with industry standards, the men had had a lot of fun on either side.

Dr Up!

 

*

A tribute to club founder, Terry Kavanagh (1937-2012)

 

Bunter: An Appreciation

                With unfortunate timing, Bunter took his leave of us just after the St Radegund marked the twentieth anniversary of its first ever match against the Champ, depriving us of his thoughts through the pages of the magazine he founded on two decades' worth of high jinks, Pyrrhic victories, valiant defeats and an awful lot of beer-drinking. Given how much he enjoyed writing I've no doubt it would have been worth a look. Instead, then, of a humorous trawl down memory lane, we have a space to fill almost as large as the Bunter-shaped one in the life of the cricket team. He will always be a hard act to follow.

                The modest origin of the Rad cricket team is well known, but even had that initial challenge from the pub down the road back in 1992 been a one-off, doubtless a cricket team would have formed at some point along the line. Given the combination of Bunter's personality, his love of sport, the time and energy he had to give to any project that bestowed prestige on his humble saloon bar, and the kind of person Bunter attracted over the threshold of the pub, then even allowing for hindsight the formation of a cricket team was inevitable.

                What has helped it thrive over the last twenty years has been the ethos that Bunter instilled in it from the off: play the game in the right spirit, and don't take it too seriously. That's the yardstick we must measure ourselves by, and if now and again we find ourselves wanting, then it pays us to stop, take stock, and remember how he would have wanted it.              

                Of course it could well be that the current generation of Rad cricketers plays a little more in earnest than its earlier counterparts, but Bunter wouldn't mind too much. He liked to set a high standard for anything bearing the St Radegund name, and if he was quick to poke fun, he was always a fair judge.

Famously well-travelled, he was the instigator of many of our cricket tours. Our first one in 2002 felt as though the entire clientele of the pub had decamped to Gloucestershire for the Bank Holiday weekend. Typically, Bunter made you feel like you were missing out if you didn't go, and when he got a bee in his bonnet he was irresistible.

                That same year he hatched his grand plan for taking the St Radegund team to play in Croatia. Few at the time thought he could pull it off, but he did, and he remained very proud of his role in helping revive cricket on the island of Vis. Ten years on Kriket Klub Sir William Hoste (a name Bunter suggested) is still going strong and the Rad is still visiting them.

                He was better company on tour than when behind the bar. Away from the Rad and its day-to-day business he would relax, and his prodigious memory and skills as a raconteur would shine through. Although, if you were the short order cook on duty at breakfast you had better be on your mettle when Bunter ordered his eggs!

                Above all else he was a people person. He had a lot of time for people (bores excepted) and, because of that, people had a lot of time for him. To many, cricketer and non-cricketer alike, he fulfilled a multitude of functions from mentor through to drinking pal and numerous points in between.
              Although his leaving us was sudden and
as all deaths are unwelcome, he packed a lot in, more than most of us would manage in two or three lifetimes.  It's tempting to think that, as he occasionally said of himself, he went while he still had legs.

*

In his own words

*

Joe Townsend on a tense finish at the Close.

Three in a Row
St Radegund vs. C
hampion of the Thames

                The biggest game of the season for many a Radegund side is the match against the Champ. This year was no different and we faced a daunting prospect: the Champ had their full quota of Dixons, we had beaten them in the last two meetings;  they were up for revenge, and our results this season were patchier than Pudsey. But perhaps most daunting of all Catherine had to answer a higher calling, meaning we had to cater. The one bright spot still visible through the gathering mists was that without the rum-laced cup cakes the Radegund players had a slim chance of staying one under the eight for the match. Needless to say, this God-given opportunity for sobriety was turned down like a bedspread by the team (Tito excluded).

                The classics are classics for a reason: they work. Dixons open for the Champ, Highball and Beard for the Rad. A few overs pass by. Runs are scored and wickets haven’t fallen. Doubt starts to creep into the minds of the fielders. Highball steps up to the mark. The ball is in the air (off the bat) and Tojo pockets the catch. Highball needs no help with the next wicket taking the catch himself. Beard feels left out so decides to get in on the act appealing loudly for a leg before and getting the finger – not the middle one for a change. And follows this up with another in the same vein.  Double Rubber and Walrus both take a brace each. Dixon, N. had survived a close call earlier in the day and is causing us all kinds of problems, retiring at 50 and coming back in. He is the Champ's finisher. We cannot shift him. Chances are spurned as the ball is repeatedly dropped. Things look bleak but Highball and Tojo once again combine. The ball is in the air, the catch is taken, the innings brought to a close. For the third year the Champ has failed to see out its allotted overs.

                Tea was called and the moment of truth was upon us. There were groans. Things looked bleak. Then the groans were revealed to have come from the legs of the table supporting the bounteous feast. Cake followed cake, sausages of prodigious proportion were rolled, pig and black pudding snuggled together in their pastry housing, and alcohol-infused goodies abounded. There were also sandwiches.

                Replete (I believe the English are fond of understatement), the fielders take to the field and (as is their wont) de la Bouche and Space Cadet perambulate slowly to the crease. Space Cadet has but one idea in his mind: to see off Alfie. Alfie has other ideas and soon sees off Space Cadet. Victim’s defence is sturdy and his eye good. The ship is stable once more but soon begins to rock. Victim and de la Bouche fall in close proximity. Tito and Walrus step up. Both men have class (which, fortunately, is permanent) but sadly only Tito has the more temporary and elusive wonder that is form. Tito is fortunate and makes the most of providence and, even better, gains a bonus boundary when Dixon, N. shepherds a ball over the rope. Sipper enters the fray. The situation is ideal for him: coming in late in the middle order, first or second change bowlers to face. Ayliffe spots Sipper’s Achilles heel and bowls him with a straight one. Jetlag causes havoc with his sinister style and ups the scoring rate to nearly that which is required, scoring at nearly a run a ball. Tojo and Double Rubber attempt to provide support, manage a small amount but fall cheaply. Beard and Highball come together at the end as it was in the beginning, and we have left them a lot of work to do.

                Last over. Eleven needed for the win providing the scorebook is right (which it always is when Jugs is involved). Dixon, N. takes the ball. So far his two overs have been tight with nine coming from them. A similar effort and the trophy would finally be out of James's pub.

                Beard to face, the last lingering effects of the diesel incident are nearly dissipated, but wielding the railway sleeper remains painful. Bat makes contact with ball, a single completed.

                Highball checks his guard, the ball is slightly too full and is driven cleanly to the right of mid-on for a couple. The next ball is gone at hard but mistimed and only a single results.

                Beard again to face, and again a single is taken. Two balls to go. A six would tie the game. A boundary is desperately needed.  Cometh the hour, cometh the man: a four! Turned around the corner Highball finds a gap in the field behind square and the ball races to the boundary. We are still in with a chance; the masses on the pavilion rise for a better view. The tension is incredible.

                Last ball. The field is checked for holes. The fielders are shuffled around. The boundary is protected by a ring of Dixons and looks impregnable. The Champ look to have this game won.  First run completed, the ball is in the hands of the fielder. Highball and Beard go for the run anyway. The throw comes in. They are miles out of the crease. Luckily the ball is also. Buzzers! Run complete. A draw! They turn for the third. They make the third. The players and supporters are on the field. It is all over.

Tojo

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


St Radegund public house, 129 King Street. Cambridge CB1 1LD. Tel: 01223 311794