The Bedouin Cricket Club

Warnford, Hampshire
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The Hampshire Hogs have more than 150 years experience of hosting high-quality friendly cricket, with all the trimmings.

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Roger J Harbinger QC Bar (retd.) reports from Warnford.

And so Bedouins caravanned to Hampshire for their second fixture, versus the Hampshire Hogs, one of the most venerated invitational club sides in England.

Skipper and Mufti Joe Phelan set the mildly esoteric tone of the day at the toss. Clutching a commemorative Charles and Di two pound coin he tossed this minted memory hard in to the Hampshire ozone. Barely able to see where it had landed he clutched the Hogs skipper by the shoulder, and quoted Pascal.

“Both he who chooses heads and he who chooses tails are equally at fault. They are both in the wrong. True course is not to wager at all”, he spat and tore off back towards the shade and his iced Advocaat. Hogs would bat.

As the Bedouins took the field Situationist Alf Incley suggested the skipper experiment with the
construct of situations, rather than merely “set” the field. Phelan listened patiently to Alf’s thesis of “psycho-geography and the slip cordon”, before stationing him at 1st slip - where he promptly dropped the Hogs opener off the bowling of Phillipe Brown.

“What price the reconstruction of the revolutionary proletariat”, thought Sean Graham in the covers, “if he goes on to get a ton and smack me all over the field in the process?!”.

Graham himself opened up from the bottom end of the stunning Warnford Ground.

Bedouin credentials had been tested in our opening game in Devon, and this time he would have nobody doubt his Arabiana.

If only they’d known he woke up on Saturday morning with an orange belly dancer in Bethnal Green! That his route to Warnford that weekend was akin to Lawrence’s own expedition across the Sinai Peninsula from Aqaba to the Suez Canal, in just 49 hours, without any sleep!!

Sean had only been persuaded to play in the hours before the game, preferring a day at the cricket instead of his usual Sunday sport of trying to buy rare tarantulas in pubs in the east end.

Later, he would announce that everything he has ever accomplished he owes to Rat Scabies. Bowling in his Bedouin dishdasha, in homage to TE Lawrence, he was more reminiscent of Suggs in the
Nightboat to Cairo video, particularly with his peculiar habit of leering at the cover point field during his run-up.

“What swine these hogs before me?!” he lovey-d.

Denning bowled with wretched accuracy, an arrow shower on and around the off-stump. Damien Holliday began his spell equally efficiently. It deteriorated a little. The noble jazz-jacketed Damo succumbing in part to Heisenberg’s
Uncertainty Principle and an attack of the yips resonant of dear old Eric Bristow – the ball often landing some way over wicket-keeper Harrison’s head.

As the skipper delved deeper in to his limited bowling resources, it was noticeable how each part-timer’s run up seemed to be
even camper than the last. No Bedouin attack could ever be descibed as out of touch with it’s effeminate side.

Indeed, Elliot Sherrington, much like Liberace, is fond of surrounding himself with lookalikes. In the absence of Yorkshire’s Tim Bresnan he made do with his brother Phil, instead. And it was a sinister glee that crossed his face when Sherrington major (in golf shoes) wore one in the Market Harborough’s fielding the ball off a footmark.

The pick of the bowling, Phelan’s darting urgent off-spinners.

All this high jinks rendered the Bedouins responsible for scoring two hundred and eighty five runs for victory. That they failed is a story of merciless accurate Hogs bowling, a suddenly beeswing-elbowed umpire and the inabilty of the middle order to really show it’s class. Elliot and Phil Dent laid a very solid foundation, 60 for none as the Bedouins boys gorged on cucumber sandwiches at tea time.

Elliot showed his class in front of the wicket to amass 68, and Dent compiled a solid 20 with expert on-driving.

Once Dent was dismissed, Sharland flattered with a lofted extra-cover drive, however, proving to be his own worst enemy (but only just), he perished - the first of Hampshire over-50’s keeper’s three

It would ultimately be left to Incley and Harrison to try and play out the final 9 overs. Confucian Idealist Harrison, irritated by Incley’s Situationist diatribe on the death of god* at the end of the 53
rd over, proceeded to chip one to midwicket.

A sense of unease and imminent crisis as last man Graham walked out…. Two lavish swipes and in he walked again.

Skipper Phelan, ignoring the Marxists within, knew the solace GB Shaw alluded to when he said 'God is alone'. He skulked in to the scorebox, where nothing but cigar smoke, strained yelps and the sound of a Bartok quartet scratching lightly on the gramophone emerged for the next 15 minutes.

A deserved victory for Hampshire Hogs, most convivial hosts to the Bedouins and your correspondent.

It may have been Peter O’Toole’s portrayal of TE Lawrence which influenced Seany Graham on the field of play that bright Sunday afternoon. It was O’Toole’s portrayal of Jeffrey Bernard which he recreated so expertly in the George and Falcon pub later that night, before Denning whisked him away into the beckoning horizon.

A marvellous occasion for the Bedouins at the home of jazz-hat cricket.

*Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism.