Caversham 2010

by Michael Hines

As told at the club's annual dinner Friday 8 October 2010

In the centuries to come, when we are long gone and our ancestors stumble across the dusty tomes that are the records of time, and these are re-read in the hall of heroes, when fireside tales are re-told, yarns of derring do and wondrous feats recounted for the young and wide-eyed, the chapter marked Jack Hugh Stirling McGill will simply say this: "I should've had a hat trick!"

Friday

Lord David Gest- Blane, the 3rd Viscount of Stobhill, and Tom Cara both flew down: David, in his private jet, and Tom on Easyjet. Both arrived at the hotel early, giving them four hours or so to stand in reception and ogle Julia, the sexy receptionist.

Meanwhile in an attempt to prevent a repeat of last year's trip whereby Jack was excluded from the handsome car, slumming it with the rest in the late-leaving brown-mobile, he decided to book one big van that all of us could travel down in.

It should be noted he also was so worried about us talking about him all the way home, he cancelled a love-in with Lucy and travelled home with the party as well under the pretence of a day's work.

The van travelling party consisted of the following people: Michael Hines, Jack McGill, Peter Mellis, Ani Vaidya, Stephen McGuigan, Gregor, and David Holmes.

Now I find it remarkable that Steven can find his way around the vast continent of Australasia, can read the weighty tomes of Gray's Anatomy and even locate the inferior vena cava... not a cheap house wine but a part of the liver.

Yet he was singularly unable to find Shields Road Tube Station - on the one tube network that just goes around and around like bloody Trumpton. In fact, he was later discovered wandering near Jack's flat asking passers-by if they'd seen a tall guy in a van. Sadly the pope's visit was some way off.

Ani turned up with a Happy Meal for everyone, David Holmes in a blaze of I'm-not-gay-fuchsia-pink-t-shirt, and Gregor Dean with a hangover, having gone to bed 20 minutes earlier. He probably passed Steven roaming the southside on his way home.

To quote Jack directly "I'm a control freak", so he wanted to drive first and get some good mileage under our belt.

One hour later we were in East Kilbride. Most of us were looking for a short cut to avoid the six mile tailback on the M74, while Stephen was looking for his gran's flat cos she had nice biscuits.

Ani said nothing.

So we made good progress - I'd done a 50 question quiz. Jack debated and argued the toss with only about 50 of the questions; meanwhile Gregor won with ease. It should be noted that David Holmes, keeping tradition with the intellect and knowledge of a BBC News Producer, scored exactly no points on the Current Affairs Round.

Ani said nothing.

So we arrived in Reading round about half nine - to find David and Tom still watching the receptionist. We checked in and wandered down to the local micro-brewery to meet Guy from BBC Caversham and some of his chums. Those chums comprised two girls, six guys, two of whom were twins, one of whom was on placement with MI5. I thought he said MFI but when I asked him where the gents were, he said he'd show me but then have to kill me, so I quickly moved onto my 3rd pint of Mango Ale. Not the tastiest beer I've had but after my 2am trip to the toilet at least my room smelt like a Timotei advert.

Saturday

So to Saturday morning. Like last year, we were to play first, like last year we all had hangovers but unlike last year, we were joined by Telfer Boyd who had just finished drinking most of London's cider ration and didn't look too well. Nick Lunn joined us too, healthier looking and sporting a £500 set of kit he'd recently taken on a tour to Ireland where he was out for a duck.

Jack's missus, Lucy, popped in to say hi and in a vision of the reunion of Heathcliffe and Cathy in slo-mo (what Bharat calls high definition) ran, nay gambolled, across the grass to greet each other's hungry lips in happiness. After one kiss, Lucy promptly fell ill and spent the rest of the day sleeping in the van.

And the cricket: We were to play BBC London first, and as last year, we beat them.

BBC London scored 92 all out, we beat them to be fair, fairly easily with David, Peter and Nick all scoring the maximum 25 runs before having to retire. Nick Lunn's kit was now down to £75 a run. Bargain.

Our bowling figures were pretty good too.

  • Gregor Dean: 2 for 20 off 3, his first over including something for everyone, 6 wides, a no ball, 3 bouncers, two sets of cheeky girls and a partridge in a pear tree.
  • David Gest-Blane: 0 for 10 off 3 overs,
  • Hines: 1-8 off 4,
  • Ani: a very respectable 0 - for 15 off 4 - encouraging him to actually say something at the end of the 4th over. I think it was "That's me knackered"
  • Telfer: a very good 0 for 23 off 3, considering he was bladdered.
  • Peter: 1 for 7 off one, and finally
  • Jack "shoulda coulda woulda had a hattrick" McGill. In his two overs not only did he take four wickets; he only gave away three runs. Extraordinary figures and frankly before I take the piss any further, deserving of a round of applause.

Believe it or not, those figures aren't even the main talking point of Jack's first over.

He took his run up like the bastard offspring of a giraffe and albatross, arms and legs twirling like a fight in the Beano and on his first ball took a fine wicket. Jack steps up for his second and at this point so I'm not accused of bias, I would like to ask Club Official Scorer, the incorruptible Alan Lawson, to quote directly from the score book, Alan please:

"The notes column states 'Dean refuses to catch Wilkinson off McGill's second ball - fucking hilarious - NOT!'"

To be honest, it turns out Gregor and David Blane had both agreed that if Jack was likely to get a hattrick we would honestly never hear the end of it; and so both colluded to fail to catch the ball should it come to them. It's fair to say Gregor waved his hands in the air like a cross between Stephen Hawking and Helen Keller and whilst the rest of both teams lay on the floor pole axed with hysterics, Hattrick McGill ranted like King Lear on a stormy day. By far the funniest thing I've seen since on the pitch since Nick Rougvie was clean bowled after shouting for most of the match against the Biologists "Let me at them, I'll smack him all over the park."

Anyway, onto the 2nd match, v BBC Caversham. Last year we'd collapsed losing 5 wickets for 8 runs and the match, but this year we won and won well.

Caversham batted first, scoring 96 runs with loss of 5 wickets, whilst we scored 99 for two wickets winning in the 17th over.

Again our batting and bowling did the club proud, especially Peter Mellis scoring 27, retired, and Jack 29, Retired. David Holmes, wanting to show off to his dad who'd arrived, scored 13 and was promptly out, whilst Gregor scored a handsome 17.

The bowling figures:

  • Dean - 2 wickets, 16 runs off 4 overs,
  • David Blane and myself both had exactly the same figures, one for 17 off 4,
  • Ani improving on his first match with 0-for 15 off 4,
  • David Holmes 0 for 12 off 2,
  • Peter Mellis 0 for 10 off 1.
  • Jack McGill, already tiring from his herculean efforts of the first game and clearly emotionally scarred, had 0 for 7 off one over.

That said, as much as it pains me to say it, Jack, the tour captain, was by far our best player, and deservedly won the £4.23 bottle of Schloer, er I mean champagne for Player of the Tour.

Telfer redeemed himself by taking over the barbecue, Ani was prevented from selling them for 99p each, and the evening began.

Jack was reminded it wasn't done to leave his girlfriend at a table of six attractive guys while he ran off to play baseball like a six year - old and we headed into Reading.

Michael retired early; sufficed to say Stephen's pathfinding skills still hadn't found him as he was last home at 4.30am, clearly not being able to navigate the 40yds from the pub to the hotel.

By all accounts, BBC Scotland did what the majority of the South of England expect of us, and got pissed en masse, got 200 people singing Hey Jude in the beer garden and upsetting the bouncers.

Traditions must be upheld...

Sunday

The trip home was quiet, mainly because everyone was asleep. It had taken Michael 45 minutes to park the bus the night before, and 45 minutes to manoeuvre it out of the car park, but once we were on our way a happy trip home was had by all, apart from Stephen, who - being one of the last to be dropped off - had turned the whiter shade of pale, uttering the immortal line of all those hungover proper: "I'm never drinking again" followed by "Where am I?"

Ani said nothing.