The Bedouin Cricket Club

The last time the Bedouin had run scared from their bete noire – a ‘limited overs contest’ – at Burnham versus the BBC, it had cost them victory. The broadcasters had little hope or interest in chasing three hundred and seventy two, happily and skilfully holding out for a draw.

Today in lovely Frinton-on-Sea; home of Frinton Freddie, Boggle, and now the Two Counties League Twenty20 Cup – the Mufti swerved the dreaded 45 over contest once again. Using liberal amounts of charm, buttering up and downright pleading they convinced Frinton’s skipper Hursty that it was just the day for a declaration game of cricket. He agreed in his usual laid back way.

Probably still in thrall of the
events of 12th August in Berkshire the Mufti again put their heads together:

JPP: If I win the toss, we should have a bat really, shouldn’t we?
RJH: Hmm…. We should… but…?
JPP: Shall we have a bowl?
RJH: Yes, go on.

Juneed has only this season established himself as a Beduin, his sensitive nature was still smarting under the lashes of an undivined and squalid way of life. But he opened the bowling with customary swing and verve down the hill.

The Duke’s cherry was passed to Victorian quick Andrew Browne and he removed Cooper in no time. This brought Jerry Newland to the crease. It is said some men prolong their cricket careers precisely so they can spend a little time away from their wife. Jerry on the other hand was in grave danger, having taken his guard and waited for the onrushing Browne to bowl, of being given out by his own spouse. He stuck around with opener Wedge, as the new ball darted and seamed, but would soon be Browne’s second victim.

After the game, umpire Yvonne was coy about whether she ever gives Jerry the finger, or if he gets away with playing down the wrong line more than others (is this overdoing it??). On this occasion he was caught sharply at second slip by Phil Knott. The cordon had been indulging in Sandy Balfour’s cultivated habit of livening up an afternoon’s fielding with a game of Call My Bluff. The word was Callipygian, the definitions were varied, the answer was buttocks and we’ll leave the rest to this:

Dan Hayes was brought in to the attack, and bowled a fine and fast spell up the hill, initially without success. In tandem with Juneed Asad, he made scoring tricky for the home side. Not many runs and no wickets meant the skipper drastically reduced the average age of his bowlers by bringing himself and loanee Jack Tillet on. Phelan had the dangerous Stockdale lbw sweeping in the first over he bowled.

Freddie Barrass, debutant, blasted down the hill, and eventually got rid of Wedge for a well built 68, caught at the wicket by Harrison.

Nick Shelley-Smith continued his excellent Bedouin bowling record, taking two for twenty-two in nine overs of provocative off-spin.

The Beduin Muftis had previously claimed the real truth can be found in flamboyant, provocative failure. Here they happily accepted a fairly benign success. Phelan was authoritative though the offside; one backfoot drive holding the memory - punched beautifully to the boundary boards. He and Barrass untroubled in taking the team to the brink of victory, before Freddie retired allowing Calum Falck to show his class with a quickfire 19 not out.

And so a third season of riding with Bedouin has come to an end for me. I have seen man living candidly with man, as it has been written somewhere. Travellers from an antique land … the lone and level sands stretch far away. They shun uniformity. A natural individuality, seen in flashes of green, pink, brown, gold and other dyes - in cricketing terms echoing the century or so between the middle 19th and 20th centuries when colours, such as the MCC egg and bacon were rarely seen (it was considered bourgeois).

And next season, with the aid of some intense physical and cognitive preparation, they are hoping to once more channel the dread of Ozymandias, to try and avoid any limited overs games once again.

VIew the
Kyle Shellie-Smith, spotted in Piatto's on Frinton High St
Essex Lion, spotted in fields near Frinton
About this Fixture