The Bedouin Cricket Club

On a fine Sunday morning in a North London suburb, Paceman stumbled out of his humble dwelling space and into the light. He was towing a gigantic cricket bag and embarking on a journey to meet various members of the infamous Bedu cricketing clan, randomly assembled at Paddington station, and ready to challenge the BBC Mishits in Burnham.

Conversing with chief Mufti Phelan from a wooden bench on platform 14, Paceman sighted his teammates emerging, as if by magic, at the extreme end of said platform, led by other big Mufti Harrison, flanked by various grinning and rabbiting cricketers.

As he mulled over the merits of lugging the equivalent weight of a pregnant elk on public transport, the reality finally dawned on Paceman that another Bedouin adventure had begun.

Gazing out of the train window, whilst the Undertaker and Sean debated the content of Justine and 120 days of Sodom, Paceman remained calm. Joe regaled Will, Phil, and Bill, (Ben), with stories of his mysterious exploits on the subcontinent. All was well with the Bedu.

At this point we have to reference the inimitable Harrison:

Paceman was listening to snippets of the various conversations that were going on. The Bedu disembarked and bundled into a taxi after sparring briefly with their luggage. They arrived at the stunning Burnham Memorial Cricket Ground – the surrounding calm of the lush outfield, hazy sunshine and the general camaraderie augured well. Veritable Judge Hayes, Shellboie and debutant Saj joined the throng to complete a rather formidable-looking 11.

In the visitor’s changing room, Paceman foraged in Fuzzy Mufti’s bag for a sandwich. Realising that his previous ambivalence regarding the absurd journey to the ground was probably due to hunger, he swiftly proceeded to the adjoining dining rooms, where he was led by the tantalising whiff of a Sunday roast. As foretold, this was a day of strange happenings.

After debating with a few teammates, most specifically Big Mufti and Captain Harrison, on the wisdom of consuming a full dinner at start of play, Paceman decided, for the first time in his long, bamboozling and illustrious career, to attack a full plate of roast lamb with all the trimmings, even as the Mufti Fuzz-King took guard. Having inspected the pitch before play, and understanding that it resembled a freshly laid stretch of the M4, the canny Paceman surmised he would have time to digest his lunch.

Ladling gravy onto a crisp roast potato, Paceman, viewing the game through the French windows, spied a vexatious looking Mufti FK striding disconsolately back to the pavilion. LBW for a 7 ball duck. A valiant effort, and umpire Ausbert’s only victim.

Paceman watched as 2nd debutant Phil ‘Top’ Knott walked out to bat. At the other end Ben Sudell was quickly into his game , hitting the bowlers to the boundary with regular ease. Unfortunately Ben skied one, and the Paceman was disappointed to see his teammate perish when well set. On the boundary, Jnr. Bedu Toby re-enacted the shot and pointed defiantly at no-one.

Shellboie arrived at the wicket ready to destroy the bowling, thumped a few good boundaries, but was somehow undone by a sucker ball from Sukul. This brought Saj to the wicket to accompany his fellow debutant Phil. After starting well Saj perished having scored 10.

Chief Mufti Harrison then made his first strange decision : to let BBB (Bedu Bill Bowley) go into bat before BBC (Big Bedu Chief).

BBB launched the wilting opposition bowlers into the cosmos. The Paceman meanwhile, after an exhausting game of golf with Toby, relaxed his head on his pads to watch the game unfurl. As he gazed up from a light slumber, he watched BBB and the composed Phil ‘Top’ Knott, (PTK) push, stroke and blast their way to magical scores, much as Bedu Sean had done in his glory days.

BBB scored an amazing 200 n.o. From a cricketing perspective, Paceman admired the stoic brutality of the innings, which included 13 6s. PTK stroked his way to a fine hundred, an amazing effort considering he last batted in an under 11s game in 1985.

So the Bedu took tea on a stately 372-4, knocked off in 38 overs. Strangely, Paceman was still hungry, and consumed a good stack of cakes. The tea was excellent and was complemented by animated conversation.

Paceman realised that soon the new ball would be in his hand. Despite intense competition from a chasing pack of ferocious opening bowlers, there was an inevitability about Big Mufti Harrison’s offer of the new ball to the Paceman. Veritable Judge Hayes, resplendent in his green peaked cap and ripped granddad shirt, opened from the Boatsail End, and settled into his metronomic back of a length grenade bowling. Paceman came in from the Bushy End, gliding to the wicket before releasing a bamboozling conundrum of cricket balls at the opposition batsmen. Needless to say the opening batsmen, faced with such devilry, capitulated and were soon back in the hutch, with Bedu Ben taking the first of two sharp slip catches. Veritable Judge Hayes would have to wait until later to register a wicket.

Paceman, always eager to feel at one with his fellow teammates, soon became concerned at the worsening demeanour of the Undertaker. Big Mufti Harrison, in risking the wrath of the Undertaker by not bringing him on to bowl, at least showed his teammates that he had some balls himself. Next on was the amazing Sean Graham. Bounding up to the wicket , cotton shirt unbuttoned to the waist and throwing a cursory glance to midwicket on the way to delivery, Bedu Sean was a sight to behold, his array of disarming dippers, rippers and seamers terrifying the batsmen. Then came Mufti Harrison ‘s next strange decision, to leave the quietly seething Undertaker grazing in the outfield while bringing himself on to bowl. It was then that it dawned on Paceman that Chief Mufti Harrison had an admirable scant regard for his own safety.

Chief Mufti bowled well enough, coaxing a false shot out of their free scoring number 4 to bag a wicket. Then came BBB who proceeded to go through the opposition batsmen, taking 3 wickets in 6 overs before Big Mufti Harrison took him off, showing a Mother Theresa -like killer instinct.

Paceman concluded that Harry must have realised that his life was in danger, as he belatedly brought on the Undertaker as 4
th change, while a raft of canny part-timers – Shell, MuftiFuzzKing and Ben whirled away from the other end. BBC Mishits blocked out.

Undertaker tore in with a Vesuvian rage boiling inside of him, but even he could not break through. The Veritable Judge and the Paceman came back and each took a wicket…there was a sniff of victory, remote but not impossible. Chief Mufti Harrison then decided, with 6 overs and 2 wickets required, to bring himself back on to bowl. Paceman retired to mid-off, crestfallen that his chance to take the Bedu to victory had gone.

The opposition ended on 138-8. It had been a thoroughly enjoyable day and Paceman was content. The evening was rounded off with a few drinks, the Judge’s blinding repartee and the harsh imposition of unjust fines, except in Chief Mufti Harrison’s case. It had been another splendid day with the Bedouin, with much to remember.

The Paceman thought that special mention is due to BBB’s 200, and would like to congratulate him on this achievement.


PS: Paceman would like to extend his respects to all contributory scribes to the Bedu journal, for reasons that they will understand.

Bowley and Knott leave the field after their partnership
Rivals for the new ball as seen by Paceman: Robin Harrison, the Undertaker and Sean Graham
Paceman's rendition of Mufti Phelan