The Bedouin Cricket Club

In all the rich literature of cricket, notably in the irreproducible annals of the Bedu, much time and effort is devoted to lovingly crafted descriptions of what happened – and yet very little is written about what didn’t happen. What didn’t happen barely gets a mention. But, as anyone who has played the game knows, cricket is essentially about what doesn’t happen. It is only through a careful reading of what didn’t happen that the reader can come to a real understanding of what did happen.

This, therefore, is what did not happen.

For the first time in four seasons and 21 fixtures the mufti, the Rt. Hon. Roger J Harbinger QC Bar (retd.) did not come. His long face, a reminder of the daily grind from which cricket frees us, greeted no one. A solitary text with the motto of the Bedouin bore witness to his treachery, sorry, previous engagement.
- Where the bloody hell is he? mused AB.
- In Wales, said Joe.
- Well, it’s his own fucking fault, said the sage of

The sun did not shine, its place taken by a cold east wind – a harbinger (a different harbinger, this one sadly not retired) of the
cold cricketless winter to come.
- Another two weeks and the nights start drawing in, said Sandy, his aging face a bleak reminder of the pitiless ravages of time.

The flag of the Bedu did not fly, a harbinger (no, not that sort) of the bleak victory to come. Joe had sent an email seeking volunteer flag raisers but with Bowley now well into his adult years there was no
suitable teenager to climb onto the Pavilion roof. Instead it hung limply (and who amongst the Bedu has not on a Sunday morning?) from the railings of the changing room.

The mufti did not win the toss, and did not bat first and before the sun (behind a bank of slate cloud) had reached its zenith the Bedu found themselves huddling
together, mostly for warmth but also so that the Mufti could read Rob’s cautionary note. “Don’t lose,” it said.
- That’s it? Asked Phil.
- It’s enough, said Joe.

AB didn’t take a wicket. This is not entirely his fault although there were those who shall remain nameless but who were wearing gloves and standing behind the wicket who mused that perhaps AB’s habit of bowling just back of a length did him no favours in the pursuit of wickets. Bit still, his
pace and bounce did at least scare the living daylights out of the lidless Lord Gnome opener who took guard about a foot outside leg stump and moved a further two feet away long before the ball got anywhere near him.
- Sandy didn’t drop a catch. It does not necessarily follow (but nor is it impossible) that he caught two off the bowling of Will, but the important thing is he didn’t drop any.

The opposition didn’t cope with
lunch. A hard fought morning of excellent cricket turned to mush following the usual slap up meal rustled up by the incomparable Margaret. After 89 minutes Lord Gnome’s men were at 76 for 1 and looking good for a big total. After 90 minutes they were 76 for 2 – but still, there was batting to come. But then there was lunch and in the hour after the meal the Gnomes collapsed to 136 all out. The wickets were shared, but particular mention should go to Neil, who bowled fast and straight, Will who bowled beautifully and the Mufti, who bowled himself.
- It’s in the
regulations, said Dan, he has no choice. So Joe brought Dan on to bowl and he quickly cleaned up the Gnome’s tail.

The total was not enough, as the Bedu have found on previous visits to Ascott House. Sandy’s early dismissal may have given the opposition some hope, but it was a
false dawn. A dark cloud of despond covered the skipper’s brow as Sadj and Phil set about making it difficult for the umpire to choose the man of the match. Sadj was the more brutal, Phil the more cultured and it was all over before tea.

The Bedu did not lose. We won, by 9 wickets.

And finally: the lessons were not learned. But that is the subject for the next match report from Ascott House when we will win the toss, bat first, suffer a post-lunch collapse and lose. Just you wait and see.

For the record:
Bedouin man of the match: Saj Zaib for his excellent 76 not out
Lord Gnome’s man of the match: Robin Low for his enthusiastic fielding

Saying of the day: “’Tis better to lose gloriously than to win easily.” D.Hayes, who has done both in his time.

Moby Dick

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