Vagabonds CC News
Bits and bobs. Not really kept up to date
Peter Caines – Bentworth Groundsman – Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Peter Caines, Bentworth groundsman, was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Cricket World Groundcare Awards 2020-2021
As well as being the most charming of people, he has been an incredible groundsman and the Vagabonds would like to express our extreme gratitude for all the work he has put in over the years, making it possible to play the game we love.
The citation from Cricket World reads:
Peter has been Groundsman for Bentworth over 60 years, having been a handy cricketer also for the club in his younger days. Now into his 80s he still regularly comes to the ground to prepare the square, which in-spite of the attempts of crows and rabbits remains a very decent cricket wicket. Peter had been caring for his terminally ill wife, who sadly passed away and he has remained a true servant to the club and cricket, continuing to work at the ground throughout this difficult period.
Stu Best receives his cap
Stu Best receives his cap at the Little Marlow game 2022. From barely having played cricket just a year ago, he is now one of our leading bowlers. You are quite a find, Stui—long may you bamboozle the opposing batsmen!
Vags Dinner 2022
The annual Vags dinner was celebrated at The Sun, with the usual merriment and many awards:
Including a special award for Gareth Hopkins, who made the teas for so many years. (You are welcome back any time you want, Gareth!)
Dick & Max Mountain ready to hit the dinner:
Max preparing the square:
Chairman Jim, on behalf of the Vags players & supporters, presents Barrie Walshe, club founder, with a special throne from which to proffer blessings to the team he established forty one years ago.
Barrie with Vagabonds skipper Richard Boote
The reasoned voice of the law
Vagabond Adam Waller-Davis, a new recruit to the Met Police, gives a wonderfully reasoned reponse to a political activist who recorded it on YouTube. Opens in new page. Skip to 3:30
Max Hill receives his Vagabond Cap
Max Hill receiving his Vagabond cap from skipper Richard Boote just before the Ancient Mariners match, 2nd August 2020, in which he took two fine wickets.
A reminder of why we play cricket
As Covid 19 puts a halt to cricket, here is a reminder of why we play cricket
By Stephen Hyde
Some time ago, I found myself studying a sepia photograph of a cricket team on the walls of some dusty pavilion, (possibly Chatsworth, where we toured in 2001). Uncharacteristically for a photograph of that era, the players were grinning insouciantly, with a combination of bravado, self-confidence and mischief. I built in my mind a picture of the scene. They had just reduced their long-standing rivals to a humiliating defeat and were off to the pub to consume endless pints in the golden rays of the dying sun, laughing over Billy’s thrice-juggled catch, and guffawing over the ball from their fifteen-year-old leg-spinner, which jagged back to remove the opposition blacksmith-opener, who until that moment sported an average of a hundred and fifty. The fifteen-year-old would have simply blushed, as yet lacking the wit to join in the manly banter, but happy just to be there, still marvelling at his freakish achievement.
And then I saw the date: September 1912.
These poor creatures knew nothing of what was to engulf them within two short years, the hell-on-earth which was to be their lives from 1914 to 1918. When they played that match, they had no reason to believe that their lives wouldn’t be a constant round of cricket teas, high jinx, and foaming ales. And this highlights one of the strange aspect of happiness. You are often oblivious to it until it disappears. If I miss half-a-dozen matches, you say to yourself, or even a whole season, cricket will always be there, ready to slip back in to, when I am come back. Right? Wrong. Life doesn’t work like that. Things change. Sometimes horrifically, as in the case of The First World War. More usually, in subtle ways. The stalwart of the team moves away, or sadly dies, as in the case of our own Andy Geach who died from cancer at the ridiculously young age of 36 in 2007. He really was the starriest of stars, the wittiest of all Vagabonds (and there’s quite a line for that accolade), and the person who embodied most the Vagabond ethos: love of the game of cricket, but only if it comes dripping with fun and good fellowship.
So far, I have dwelt on the golden times, the highlights which live in our memories. Which brings me to another point. Happiness has to be earned. You can’t expect every game to be a tale of David and Goliath in which you, our intrepid hero, overcome huge odds (and your own cricketing shortcomings) to slay the opposition—all in the best possible spirit of the game, of course—and then retire to The Sun Inn to be greeted by the lovely Daisy (or Mary, in days of yore) where bonhomie and goodwill reign supreme, and all your daily cares count for nothing. No, indeed. There will be many-a-time when icy rain finds that gap at the back of your neck and runs down your spine, making you wonder why the hell you bothered to turn out. Many will be the time when the opposition has an undiscovered Ben Stokes, who builds a ton in record time and then rips through your top order without raising a sweat. And there will even be times when roadworks on the A339 mean that you will arrive late, flushed with adrenaline, only to find that the opposition hadn’t bothered to let us know they couldn’t get a team together, and the match has been abandoned.
But cricket matches are like parties. You have to go through the stinkers to be sure to be there for the crackers. Otherwise, the following week, you will find yourself standing like a prune, forcing a smile as your teammates regale you with the cry of ‘You should have been there …’ Tears will run down their cheeks as they relate yet one more nuance of the crazy, wonderful afternoon they have all been part of, while you will only be able to quietly berate yourself with the words, yes, I should have been there.
In 2020, the Vagabonds managed to get some cricket—but not that much. I can’t tell you how great it was to be back on the pitch after so long in lockdown. Sadly, I took the decision to cancel the tour to Pembrokeshire very early on, mainly because I wasn’t comfortable sitting on a pile of cash from the deposits for a tour I didn’t think would happen. Hopefully, it will be resurrected in the same form in 2021 – albeit a year after our 40th anniversary, which it was due to celebrate.
All-in-all, maybe we should count ourselves lucky. Horrible as Corona Virus has been, it hasn’t been a World War and if nothing else, maybe 2020 will remind us why we play cricket. The answer: because you can’t guarantee good times. In 2021, we all must get back out there and fill up our memory-banks with minor sporting achievements, world-class banter and long evenings at The Sun Inn. Like the men in that photograph, you never can know what the future holds.
In the words of Robert Herrick, Gather ye Rose-buds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles to day, To morrow will be dying.
Kevin Pietersen - Vagabonds' latest recruit
Elliot has found a new recruit for the Vagabonds. Reckons he can bat a bit. Maybe we could give him a run out if we are short one Sunday.
Photo: Stephen Hyde
Vags seen on Sky TV taking their seats for Ireland Test Match at Lords-July 2019
Portugal Tour 2018
Some video from Portugal Tour 2018
Some dodgy running on tour in Portugal 2018 (Steve & Jack)
Some older members (Mikey, Jack, Steve & Pete) take part in a 400m running race. This is Jack’s third false start!
Baz & Sal with most recent Vagabond Feddy Boote
A couple of photos of Barrie and Sally with the latest addition to the Vagabonds: six month old Feddy Boote, son of skipper Richard Boote. What a charmer.
Paris Tour 2017
Translated from the French. We have tried as much as possible to remove any vestige of the vernacular lingua franca but lamentably…oops…it gets everywhere…
One of the many theories about the origin of cricket is that France could be a possible birthplace of the game. A mention of a bat and ball game called “criquet” in a village of the Pas-de-Calais occurs in a French manuscript of 1478, and the word ‘criquet’ is an old French word meaning ‘post’ or ‘wicket’; although some theories still abound that it has been confused with the word ‘croquet’….here is the true story of how cricket was saved by a band of heroic losers infamously now known as “The Scarlet Pimpernels”…affectionately and brusquely nicknamed by the hacked off French as “Les Rosebifs Pimps…
Circa 09/17 or 1790
France is in chaos, no longer the reign of the establishment, overrun by revolutionary hordes from its own populace but also from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe…but within this chaos a terrible rumour has grown…from the depths of the glorious city of Paris, rebellious groups have captured a treasure of cricket balls with the terrible plan of making cricket their national game…the mission of the scarlet pimpernels? To bring the sacred game back to its spiritual home…
Capitaine Bonerboote – Boots
Cardinal Etienne Le Cacher – Stevie H
David ‘Plakici’ Stuart – Stuey
Thomas le Gardiener – Tom P
Le Comte de Richielieu – Dick Mountain
Aubrey de-Crecy van Gogh – Tris
Artur Demi-pinte D’Avalon – Mikey G
L’Harlequin Emilie (Millie) – The same
Guillaume de Malesherbes – Perts
Jimi le chef du Jammu – Sammo
Sir Jacques Coronet, Baronet – Jack W
A band of cricketing brotherhood are assembled around a fire in the dark woods of one of their clan, Le Comte de Richielieu, situated a stone’s throw from their spiritual home of Bentworth (formerly part of the Archbishopric of Rouen 1336) where the infamous 23 star Michelin chef Jimi du Jammu has prepared a special french ‘barbe a queue’ for the greatest pimpernel of them all, Le Marechal Du Barry (distant heir to the Comtesse duBarry)…
The Marechal du Barry, addresses his troops.
Du Barry: “You came here to honour me, and I thank you for that. But the real reason for this celebration is much more sinister. I have a favour to ask of you, a quest that I request of you, no questions asked, no eventual inquest, no being sequestered by equestrians..erm…just a conquest of sorts …ahem..
Across the channel a dastardly plan has come to light…to transplant the roots of cricket to the Frenchies! Your mission, should you wish to accept it, is to eradicate all roots of the burgeoning cricket fad and bring back the glory of our sport to its real and natural home! Are you up for this?”
[Jimi-Jammu throws up both his paws, making the 23 Michelin stars pinned to his apron jingle loudly and reflect like shooting stars in the firelight…like a swathe of falling…well…stars, and swears his allegiance to the pimpernel cause…whatever he says is unintelligible, so no dialogue necessary]
[Silence] [Followed by a chorus of huzzahs!]
Du Barry: “Here is your cover. You are all to wear these Pimpernel jackets, plus branded socks, hats, jumpers, scarves, tights (erm…for some of you), ties, cravats, gloves, hoodies, belts, boots…six of each have all ready been debited from your accounts. You are, literally, to go under cover and, at times, underground….as a touring cricket team, that way you’ll always recognise each other and confuse the Frenchies with your “gay Paris” outfits
“Boner you are in charge. Oh, you asked for some extra pads, here take these tampons, and watch your back. Now, tell them the plan.”
Bonerboote: “Ok team, the plan is to spirit away all existing cricket balls from France to ensure the game remains unplayable on those foreign shores and to cause confusion by leaving golf balls in their place…
You have all been chosen because of your dodgy and dubious French connections, that way you can steal in under cover and give this operation the best chance of success. Remember, we need to act the part, Brits on tour etcetera…so get on your drinking willies…I mean boots!
Over to you Comte.”
Richielieu: “Ok, Boner…but don’t call me a comte. We still have connections in France in ‘general society’, societe generale as the Frenchies say, we must play to our strengths! We will show them a version of cricket that will leave them with an absurd example of how the game is played! So that they will end up with a confused, ridiculous version that is played by children on the beach with a furry rubber ball…heh heh try saying that in a French accent
Bonerboote: “Ok, so two operations to attack the very heart of the French resistance. Chateau Thoiry and Chateau Chantilly. Defeat these two illustrious camp camps and bring back their cricket balls. Thanks to Cardinal Etienne for the initial planning but now we need more detail…anyone??…(aside)…and Cardinal, can you keep your hands off Millie!
Le Cardinal: Sorry Capitaine! Right….transport in Paris, we have located a long lost relative of Jimi-Jammu to organise a fleet of Mercedes tuk-tuk rickshaws.
Thomas le Gardinier: I once had a garden design contract at the Chateau Chantilly and know the layout. Beware though, the ducks have an unusually strong sex drive and the fish show definite voyeuristic tendencies…me, I just like to watch….
De-Crecy: I was an overgrown hamster at the Thoiry Zoo for a while till I escaped.
Emilie: [Foppish hair and doe eyes]…“I ran a casino for betting and petting at Chantilly….more the latter, really….
Bonerboote: “Perfect. Useless intelligence we can put to inept use.
Jimi-Jammu you have a pilot’s licence, you best use it to make sure we set up an early command post. Your first test is to fly a helicopter, a MIG jet and at least three other aircraft to maintain your high-flying reputation. By the way, thanks for the excellent cordon bleu barbecue.
Thomas Le G, our ace ‘apostle’, you best go with him, keep him company. He’ll look part of the immigrant crowd and help you blend in.
“Artur and De-Crecy, you go with me and we will join the train down the track.
The others, look normal, attract undue attention, take the London train and we all meet up at the Gard du Nord….and ‘Plakici’ Stu, your job is to be another French connection, hook up with the Alabanian mafia, you better wear a French Clouseau hat or something to hide your obvious heritage.”
Plakici Stu: “Och aye mon capiton!”
Boner: “Cut the Albanian accent, Plakici, you’re undercover now, and less of the tampon references!
“Sir Jacques, you will be our diversionary tactic…be very loud, generally brusque and British….
Sir Jacques (roars): “Ah you impudent, youthful cub, you mean be myself?!”
Boner: “Indeed! Anything to add Le Cacher? Where’s he gone? …Millie? Oh well….Good luck everyone.
After the usual japes en route the group rendezvous at the Gard du Nord, all eleven relocate to L’hotel Avalon just down the road and head off to make contact with the locals and lose some intelligence…
Plakici Stu: “Raight lez hed fur tha nier-est buza…”
Richielieu: “Ahem…Right let’s head for the nearest boozer, eh?
Le Cardinal: “What about this place?”
The group choose another bar further down the street.
Le Cardinal: “What was wrong with the last place? I preferred the other place…”
De-Crecy sits and stares, saying nothing and everything. Then the banter begins…the group discuss all manner of topics except the operation to hand.
Many beers are consumed, mostly by Le Cardinal, who keeps finding golf balls in his glass and having to store them – mainly in Sir Jacques’ glass, who reacts with emboldened affrontery, but also around Millie’s person for extra excitement….)
Sir Jacques (roars): “Bloody hell! Goodness me!! Who keeps dropping these damnable globes in my glass!!! Is it you Sir?????!!
[Sir Jacques eyes Millie menacingly…]
The group finally move on to their matinee engagement, an eaterie in Montmartre. En route Artur, Sir Jacques and Jimmi-Jammu leave spherical brown deposits, not unlike cricket balls, at various establishments to mislead the locals….
Boner: “Why this place Artur?”
Artur (the worse for wear after many demi-pintes): “Best clue we had…Chateau…Thoiry….zoo..”
Boner: “So you chose a restaurant called Zebre??”
Guillaume: (hic) “Good cover eh?…we are wearing stripes after all…all that lovely blending…hmmm….”
Richielieu: “Ah but one of us is not blending…not travelling incognito…Millie needs some cover, he sticks out of every sore thumb…here you go Boner.”
[Hands him a bright pink waistcoat]
Boner: “Millie…you will be honoured to wear the gayest accoutrement yet to be worn by a vagabonde. You must wear this gorgeous outfit at all times during this operation.
Further tomfoolery follows, with copious volumes of vin rouge downed with melted camembert, confit de foie gras, boeuf tartare, frites etc…etc…etc
‘Plakici’ Stu [translation provided by playwright): “Rait, you melange of poufdas…we’re off to our next ass-ignation…we need to go deeper undercover… to The Cricketers Bar in the next arrondeeeesement!
Le Cardinal is steered to the Cricketers where he is fed alcohol through a straw while he mumbles incoherently about the line of magenta the pimpernels will forge…kept awake with the odd slap or two…until finally he is poured into a taxi and sent to the Avalon where he can rest his wounded pride and gullet on a pillow instead of Plakici Stu’s lapel.
Meantime Millie has been planting his balls in Sir Jacques’ drink, who has had enough of the foreplay and cannot hold his libido back, he jumps Millie….
Sir Jacques: “Aaaaaaaaaaagh…..a tete-a-tete mon brave!!!!!”
Millie is tackled to the pavement…much tossing and turning ensues…mainly tossing…with Millie on his back. The evening continues with the group wolfing down some Italian fodder after annoying the locals with their loud banter, ably supported by Sir Jacques before returning to the cricketers to engage the locals in ‘row, row, row the boat’. After yet more ridiculous shenanigans, including baptising Artur with a demi-pinte of water, the team agree diversionary tactics by splintering into small groups and winding their way back to the hotel via various nefarious routes!
The next morning Trevin and his Merc tuk-tuks arrive to sweep us off to Thoiry, an hour outside the city and the location for our first cricketing contretemps. The square is cleverly hidden in the grounds of the Chateau and Zoo. The team seek out sustenance for the combat ahead and follow the aroma of saucissons and frites being served in the zoo gardens. Richielieu has peacock with his frites while the Cardinal has just cock. Back at the ground the opposition have arrived, a band of Trevin’s brothers and distant cousins of JimiJammu! Aha! The nefarious Frenchies! Reversing the tables after we snuck into Colombo while they waged war with the Dutch…bringing in hired guns to steal our game indeed!
Boner: “Right lads don’t take this as a sign but we’ve lost the toss..ahem…as usual. Remember the mission…play as poorly as you can and just focus on stealing their cricket balls! Oh and just to reassure you, I met Plakici Stu’s mother in the streets of Paris last night and asked her to hex us good and proper!”
The pimpernels follow the plan to the letter, dropping five catches and fielding with superior incompetence, suffering a mass of injuries as JimiJammu tries to take a skyrocketing catch that makes a raspberry coulis out of his thumb, ‘Plakici’ Stu uses his knee for wicket keeping practice and Richielieu, having witnessed so much failure with ball in hand, tries catching one with his wrist! …Amassing cricket balls becomes nigh on impossible as the Sinhalese tigers constantly dispatch the ball high into the air and out of the ground! In a grand total of 375, one warrior amasses over 150 and only Artur (2 wickets), Boner (the big wicket!) and Millie (1 wicket) manage to slow down the run rate, but only for as long as it takes for a carbon copy batter to take the crease and resume the aerial onslaught! The day is beautifully sunny but long and arduous in the field. Fortunately our batting prowress also goes according to the plan, and aside from brief pockets of incomprehensible resistance from the same trio, Millie (16), Boner (39) and Artur (24), the side are duly bowled out for less than 140, Guillaume ending the humiliation with a glorious golden duck! But the vagabonds are sneakily more than pleased…these people are playing baseball not cricket….aha ha ha!
The team gather round the Thoiry CC pavilion for a delicious barbecue provided by the victorious opposition, succumbing to their friendliness and the wonders of their spicy chicken kebabs!
Le Cardinal (in a hoarse whisper to the team sitting in a circle): “Heh heh…we may have failed on the ‘stealing-cricket-balls’ mission but I have another idea….We’ll steal their jam instead and leave them with a horrid, bitter alternative I’ve concocted…but we need to give it a sexy French name…anyone?
JimiJammu: “Beurre de Meringue Orange??” [Typical]
Richielieu: “Beurre du Lard??”
Le Cardinal (shouts out): Okay we’ll combine all three….MARMELARDE d’ORANGE!
The boys head back to gayest ‘Paris’ full of their wonderful defeat if slightly dispirited by the lack of cricket balls. Artur produces the match ball however and all appears not lost. A bar near the hotel is chosen for the evening post mortem. The team use it to positive effect, heatedly arguing the likely outcome of different wrestling and amorous ‘match-ups’ between illustrious members of the vagabonds. The Tanqueray gin supply is exhausted, Pastis is becoming a favourite tipple, while the group slowly begin to appreciate the bar is a festering water hole for clandestine and depraved counterinsurgency – the pimp with his dual sexual offerings, the Cardinal with just one…Millie…women being carried in and out of the premises and golf balls once again being conjured into glasses!
The next day the group nurse their headaches and a lack of sleep into Trevin’s tuk tuks en route for Chateau Chantilly, determined to put on their worst performance yet…this will take some effort so Plakici Stu and Boner guarantee the requisite debacle by filling one entire tuk tuk with beers.
The group take a tour of the Chateau, Thomas le Gardienier admires the gardens while his compatriot pimpernels egg on the libidinous ducks and JimiJammu sends all to sleep with endless descriptions of his prowress with foil, epee and sabre at the Cote d’Azur, Cap Estel, St. Tropez and Colombo olympics.
The Chantilly square, a place de resistance, is another well-hidden location, nestling amongst polo fields, pony poo and upstart riders. Our opposition slowly arrive, flaunting all manner of accents from around the world. Once again the vagabonds are lulled into meek submission…partly by the warm friendliness to hand but mainly by the cold beers in hand….!!!
The task of demonstrating outright incompetence could have been doubly difficult on this day, as time is lost to the ‘English’ weather – a contradiction of warmth and sun followed by wind and squally showers. But, actuelment, this only provides plenty of refuelling beer breaks with repeated amusing attempts by the opposition to corral the team back on to the field, which also helps to add to the generally glorious sequence of injuries and poor fielding…Ten catches are dropped, Artur and Guillaume fighting for the honour of dropping three! More than 25 wides are bowled; Millie rolls his dainty ankle while practicing the foxtrot down the concrete strip (de-Crecy shows him how to do it for two overs), JimiJammu nurses his turbaned thumb; Artur realises standards must be lowered and duly blames a sore back for performing like he needs to practice downing more demi-pintes rather than pretending to play cricket. Only the Cardinal and Millie (bravely resuming the foxtrot), hand in hand (literally) manage to suppress the opposition to a gettable total of 206.
The batting is worse than the pile of pony poo collecting in the adjacent fields, except for De-Crecy who upholds the pimpernel pennant with a resilient 70 odd not out! Otherwise, only Richielieu gets into the 20s before removing a hamstring from his buttock making a run for it…he lies prone on the hard wicket for an hour until finally umpire Thomas Le Gardiener quietly gives him ‘run out’ and he gets stretchered off. We mutely celebrate another magnificent defeat in this 30 overs’ competition as we succumb…bien…collapse to 159.
More Marmelarde d’Orange is dispensed with, now our best laid plan of retreat. We re-group at a mysterious dark(ie) location back in Paris – recommended by Colombo Trevin and JimiJammu, who, looking to ‘curry’ favour, guides his teammates to further gut-wrenching complications.
Tired but still functioning, the group resume their frolics at the festering water hole of the previous night, perplexing the natives and themselves with the ‘un, deux, trois, quattre…’ game and other wondrous displays of their continental fluency….and then…Plakici Stu and De-Crecy go for the big finale, leading the addled crew to a covert hideaway they have discovered, Le Sherwood Jazz bar..a den of sin and more sinful gin and tonics that virtually sees in the dawn as Guillaume invites the rabble to search for lost time, not with malesherbes but with silly “who am I?” mind games that remind us his mother was an ‘amster and his father really does stink of elderberries!
The last day is spent at a fine example of Parisian gastronomie courant…the team pile into steaks, vin rouge, frites, vin rouge, tarte citron, vin rouge, crème brulee and…some more vin rouge…before returning to Le Gran Bretagne full of pride and the honour of receiving the French Medailles de Reculade… victory in defeat!!
“Zey are sikh hearr..Zey are sick zere…zose pinky pimps are everiwearrr!”
(During the return journey it is discovered that Le Cardinal Etienne Le Cacher is a blood relative of Simon the shoemaker and so he is forced to donate his footwear, sing the revolutionary song ‘Ca ira’ and to curse his parents and accuse them of many atrocities including giving him size 13 feet.
Lastly, history has shown the audacious pimpernel stratagem was largely a success, only pockets of Yorkshire are still known to refer to the game as “creequette”, otherwise the sound of leather on willow is best heard in goode olde England and occasionally in Le Cardinal’s bedroom).
New Scoreboard thanks to Perton Signs
Vagabonds working weekends on our pavillion
Sometimes it is easy to forget that we are so lucky to play at Bentworth. This was our chance to show our gratitude in particular to Henry Berens who owns the ground and so generously lets us play at this prettiest of cricket pitches.
A big thanks too must go to groundsman Peter Caines who tirelessly and quietly keeps the pitch in tip-top condition!
Thank you both!
From Richard Boote (skip)
We had another great turnout this Saturday and a big round of applause must go to everyone who turned up I hope you all agree that the pavilion looks top notch now.
Work Carried Out
– Creosote the outside of the pavilion – check
– Cleared out behind the pavilion – check
– Guttering repaired – check
– New step to home changing room – check
– Gents and ladies door repaired and painted – check
– Kitchen area cleaned – check
– We will also have new signs for Home & Away changing rooms, Ladies and Gents Loos – Before Season
– New scoreboard – Before Season
– New carpets and chairs for changing rooms – 9th March
Spotted at Lords
Vagabonds 2016 Tour to Portugal Report
by Mikey Gale (AKA Lion)
“Grandpa, how about you tell me one of your old adventure stories? You know, the one’s you used to make up when I was a child?”
“Well, my boy, you are getting older now, so maybe it is time to tell a new story. Why don’t I tell you a true story? One that is more exciting than you could ever imagine, of distant travels, battles, remarkable sites in foreign fields and much extraordinary tomfoolery….
“Really? A story about you? “
“Yes, about me and my comrades, but if I tell it to you, you must stay quiet, no questions, just listen, otherwise with my fading memory I will lose track, forget and meander…”
“Ok Grandpa, I’ll try.”
“Good…now….first…a question….do you know what a ‘vagabond’ is my boy?”
“No Grandpa…please tell me…”
“It is a nomadic warrior capable of incredible dastardly feats originating from the sacred site of Bentworth, a place where the Sun always rises, especially in the summer on a Sunday evening…..
“How does it rise in the evening old pops?” “Ouch! Why did you clip me on the ear?”
“For contradicting me and calling me what you did! It’s Grandpa to you. Have some respect boy!”
“A vagabond is the friendliest of men on this planet when sober, but sometimes the scariest or even the funniest of men when flush with the golden mead.
“It was in the year 2016, when once again a band of warriors was put together by the incomparable BaZilius, some say a descendant of the Byzantine emperors. He was an extraordinary warrior in his day, it is said that he could consume15 glasses of the amber mead with one hand, drinking every drop while wielding his weapon, never batting with an eyelid open. Every year he would encourage his troops to select a new test, a stretching goal to build on the illustrious history of the Vagabonds, to take the eternal art of cricket combat to some fresh corner of our planet.
“By that year he was an ancient, wise man, a spiritual guide to his nomadic troops. He was proud and highly principled. All his warriors wore expensive armour and tunics; tunics that were a test of your virility, so bright and powerful, women and gay men would swoon…mainly gay men, for the colours were so lustrous and discordent, no real man would be seen dead in them….stripes like a ‘barberous’ toothpaste, alternately pink – so rosettish that your manhood would dissolve while your wrist would bend in its sleeve unable to hold the golden mead – and a fiery red – so resplendent it would make your eyes squint, salted with tears and the fond memories of ruptured virgins…
“Wherever they went these vagabonds would instil both bonhomie and ridicule in each other and sometimes, by their antics, in the natives – a ruse to distract the opposition, so that they might succumb in the heat of the battle.
“By this time the vagabonds had a leader of much fame and great feats. He had a weapon so large that it frightened him too at times, as he wielded it like a huge truncheon at every harlot and ball that was thrown at him. He was tall, so tall that some say he could not see his feet and would wear shocking bright ‘boots’ to scan where he was walking, especially when the consumption of mead became too excessive. He was called Giraffe for his head would scrape the sky as he walked….
“Was he the biggest nomad ever, grandpa?”
“No, there was one other in the band, even bigger, he was from the hinterland up north, a land full of scavengers and bandits most of them one-eyed and slurringly ‘stewed’, carrying a strange national defect always on one shoulder that imbalanced their gait. He was a swarthy, sharp-tongued rogue of this ilk who came marauding south to pick the best of our riches. He talked in many indistinguishable tongues and we called him Elephant because he would never let you forget a misdemenour, ready to cut you down with just a few indecipherable phrases, but delivered so coarsely and sarcastically that your manhood would temporarily abandon you. “
“Who else was there?”
“More of that later boy, let me proceed…”
“Every 12 months this nomadic cohort of disciples would leave the sanctuary of their encampment in Humpshire…in search of glory, and vainglorious feats and to create new legends, epic stories of victory, defeat and infamous acts of carnage on themselves and occasionally on others…
“The target for this expedition was to a new unknown land, one that boasted green pastures, hills and rivers similar to our own, but also venerable buildings and architecture that were a sight to behold…to the oldest of cities, a former capital of the territory, Quim-bra it was called….”
“You mean, Come-bria don’t you granddaddy? Ooowwww….let go of my ear, you old goat! Let goooo!….Ok…Ok….I’m sorry, I apologise for interrupting you and calling you that…”
“That’s better…You really must stop interrupting me sonny! You remind me of your father..”
“My father?…Who was he?….”
“Well, if truth be told we are not sure, but we believe it was one of the warriors in our cohort that year…”
“Yes, a fellow so ‘pert’, so fearless and yet so utterly roguish, whose weapon was the hind leg of a donkey. A court jester one minute and a dribbling, salacious lunatic the next…and just like you, always asking questions and interrupting…”
“Where did the animal traits come from, Grandpa?”
“Well it formed part of the legend of this nomadic tribe…
“One of their greatest warriors from the family of Nokesville – a state full of Virgins – and a man who could sing and entrance his enemy with ditties so incomprehensible, strange and romantic that all in the room would lose their minds…he had two warrior mates to carry on the tradition. One was a man of unknown origins but not just any jack, some say of noble blood, a gentleman, so courteous and true that he would mesmerise his fellows and the opposition with his breeding…another was still part of this adventure, the peerless Silverback!”
“Oh yes, every warrior on these ‘trips’ would be assigned a trait – an animal that would become his stigma. Silverback was big and brave, always at the centre of every campaign, planning the routes and voyages meticulously, he became the central catalyst for mounting all these missions and the female population….so-called because he had a shock of ivory hair that crowned his massive head. No one was ever sure of his roots – perhaps they were once golden like the mead he had excessively drunk – but some say that he came from a distant tribe, where ‘monikers’ and ‘hilaryous’ traditions would fill the bill.”
“Tell me more about the other warriors..”
“In good time my boy…for now, let us proceed with the story….
“We arrived in this new land one early Friday morning, I recall, to a venerable city they called Porto…and instantly searched for refreshment to build our courage for the battles ahead. Giraffe had heard ancient rumours of the tribes in this land that harvested grapes so large they would produce barrels and barrels of potent red juices. The legend stated that these barrels were stored in secret cellars near the huge river that ran through this luscious region. We bushwacked a local tribesman and forced him to take us to one of these mystical vaults. In the dark caverns of this hideaway we discovered a massive store of the sweet-smelling syrup where we proceeded to learn the ancient arts of fermenting and blending this brew, gorging between us a five-decade old illustrious nectar to celebrate a far-off victory against the barbarian tribes of Germania.
“Temporarily sated, we headed further inland to encamp in Quim-bra at an antiquated site that had existed proudly for more than a century and was to become our command post for the crusade.
“By now we were famished, needing to supplement our high spirits from the powerful effects of the grape sap; we circled the area until we fell upon a native eatery forcing the savages to bring us the best of their produce while we indulged in the golden mead to re-discover our imbalance and await the arrival of the Tiger…so ‘rich’ with stories of the jungle he inhabited and chronicles of fair maidens and rascally conquests…and so day became night…the night before our first battle… we climbed steps so steep you could hardly breathe, rising until at last, surrounded by ancient monuments and temples of worship, we partook of many exotic and toxic potions that would have knocked a full grown bear to the ground.
“The next morning we arrived at the gladiatorial arena of the Coimbra Knights just five minutes from our river encampment. Yet so secluded was its location, surrounded by trees and a huge monument erected in honour of the sun god, that our nerves began to jangle as we suspected an ambush…but our traditional consumption of the golden mead falsely allayed our suspicions. The opposition tried to beguile us with their friendliness, especially their leader, also known as Barrelus – a coincidence and portent not lost on us. They invited us to face their red meteorites first and Troilus the Cheetah together with Trevorius the Lioness, clad in their armour, charged at them first.
“Oh yes, the Cheetah, so called, not only because he was fiercely independent and would never change his spots, (except for those on his feet and his ears) but because he was so fast that you would never see him move, so lightning quick you never saw him stir…some say that he was from the vengeful, ransacking tribes of the Nordic coast, his head a huge mountain of russet growth. Partial to muttering, words would finally emerge from his crimson thicket three hours later, his features so taciturn that you would doubt he had ever spoken…and then Lioness, a gentle warrior who tricked you with his school-boyish looks while he sliced you with his weapon….
“Lioness (Trevor) duly beguiled the opposition and played on the hard, bouncy surface with great nimbleness and astute strokes while Cheetah (Tris) was the stern impasse through which no missile could pass….all this time we cheered their efforts supplemented by the cooling quench of the golden mead..
“The arena was especially built for combat, a grass terrain of an unusual compound – 3G they called it with a hard track for launching their meteorites at our sacred sticks. Cheetah and Lioness boldly faced down their meteorites, for hour after hour in the hot, blistering sun. They were patient and steadfast, taking in water and holding their concentration as the sweat dripped from their brows.
“Eventually Lioness tired and had to withdraw when his leg-cladding received a tremendous thud as he defended the sacred sticks, but he had bravely sent 63 meteorites to face their maker. Cheetah continued to stall the opposition (and the score) until he sent a meteorite lamely into the hands of a lunging catcher, a courageous performance of 54 that drew wild applause from his befuddled brothers, by now dazed from the constant flow of mead and the sun that had risen high in the sky, huddled together in the protective shadow of their new mascot, a hound-like deity with genitalia that made grown men weep with envy and women with delight.
“Giraffe (Boots) and a few remaining warriors dealt with the final meteorites on their way to making a grand total of 190.
“We re-fuelled to prepare our ammunition and then took our place in the arena to invite a response. On came their first two warriors, one with a reputation so impressive that his feats (and meteorites) had all ready spread across the territory…a brigand, some say, from the southern seas, a smiling demon, with a weapon so fast and fluid it would flash meteorites into the trees and beyond. He confirmed his renown and proceeded to crash fireballs all over the ground, sparing nothing and no one.
“Hippo (Perts) and Rhino (Emily) were our two opening thrusters, massive beasts that swayed, trundled and staggered until their excessive trunks would propel them forward with unstoppable force to let go their meteorites with flashing speed and bouncing venom, skillfully supported by Zebra’s (Nigel) guardianship of the sacred sticks – a warrior whose amiable and gentle gait belied his zeal for the campaign! He certainly earned his stripes!”
“Hippo and Rhino?”
“Yes sonny; Hippo was your father…a man-child with an almost boundless energy, a pesterous hound in his own right with a long slobbering tongue and the enthusiasm of a puppy…his skin was so thick it could withstand all manner of poisons, pollution, blows and speeding meteorites. Rhino was just thick….at least that was what we all thought until he mesmerised us with his wit and stamina for the battle of cricket flinging meteorites unerringly and endlessly. It was he that first noticed the sikh call of the Tawny-Mandela siren as it pealed across the provincial hills in that strange land, taunting us with its hyperbolic stories of grandiose deeds and impossible stunts…a beguiling enchantment that could make you queasy with, well, queasiness….. and indeed, what providence to have him with us, for the blundering, aimless trot of the Rhino can send him in many different directions and on every raid he would often display the headless traits of the beast…perhaps his erratic and fretful travel will only be halted when he finally ends up on someone’s wall….probably Hippo’s…..
“But Rhino was not to strike in this battle, that was left to Hippo (Perts – 3) and Silverback (Stevie – 4) – who came in with a superb, presidential form and linguistic cunningness…between them they dispatched seven of the opposition, with Elephant (Stu) trundling in to bag the other.
“In spite of our efforts, their dashing and dastardly pirate repelled all combatants manfully, eventually amassing a wonderful 106 from his meteoric strikes when the total was just 111!! Only toward the very end of the battle that day did we finally surrender – a chieftain from another clan had come to the rescue in an act of comradeship that settled their stuttering assault and got them past the finishing line. We would see him again the following day, for our next foray was into the remote territory of the mountains where his clan boasted a more even contest, with much feasting and mead-swilling to add….
“Wow, so what happened next, Grandpa?”
“Well first we followed the traditions of all such cricket warriors and went to an enormous mead-making distillery, the very heart of the Knights’ camp, in the middle of the city – there we ate and drank mead of all colours of the rainbow to ‘almost’ our hearts’ content, sharing exaggerated stories of the great battle that day and the history of our two hordes, mesmerised by the generosity of our hosts and the seductive charms of their vivacious harlots before dragging ourselves back up the steep ascent of steps to the inn they called Quebra (or in our lingo, Smashed) for more disputes and shenanigans under the constant flow of distilled grain mash and juniper berries….a clear, innocent-looking potion that they prepare in this land with the scent of flowers and such exotic fruits that it sends your mind into much sweet intoxication and then finally into oblivion….
“The next day welcomed us with more blue skies and the constant presence of that searing yellow disc in the firmament. Silverback had carefully targeted a venerable tribe hidden in the remote outer hills of the terrain, located in a magnificent stadium unsurpassed in its glorious location with terraces and white walls that counteracted the sun’s imperious dominance. Here the man-made grassland was of an even finer and impressive variety, a 4G so soft it would pass for the caress of a concubine and the whiplashing of a frustrated eunuch….
“Barrelus, the elder of the previous tribe, and his warm-hearted crew kindly transported us to the arena where the chieftain Christopherus awaited us with his band of joyous folk, the Amigos, waving their banner that displayed a headdress so ravishing it would have gladdened the heart of an Aztec! …He was a chieftain with a ready, welcoming smile of a foe that believes in the fray and the celebration of a fervent contest. He opened the battle himself with meteorites of canny delivery and artful inflection resonant of his performance from the previous day, but once again Cheetah (Tris) displayed his intractable, immovable resilience to defeat not only the sweltering sultriness of the climate but to dispatch all meteorites with indifferent aplomb! On that expedition he became a legendary rock with granite testes of equal proportion to the deified dog-like status of our mascot, walking away undefeated with a patient, faultless strike of 65!
“Cheetah found ample support from Elephant (Stu) who somehow ignored his mythical proboscis and a tradition of never trifling with any meaningful weaponry to rattle up a proficient 32 hits from the bouncing meteorites. But perhaps the winning outcome of this triumphant engagement must also be attributed to the highballing feats achieved by Giraffe (Boots – 68) – an extraordinary example of demolition, where every approaching projectile was forced to recede with even more power and aggression to new, unknown continents – a tour de force that was doubly impressive as he had left his brain only hours earlier festering in a chalice of juniper – and also to the inimitable Rhino (Emily – 74) who took every comet tosser to ‘tusk’, dispatching fireballs in all directions. What a squinting sight to behold – for it was still scorchingly bright and the golden mead had left the spectating brotherhood in the stands almost blind to the carnage….yet jubilant with the 251 total!
“After a small yet memorable refreshment supplied by Chieftain Chistopherus’s harlot, Kirstophera, and her harem – eggs that would make your mouth water from their exquisite flavour and texture (rather than from trying to swallow them whole), bacon and turkey that both rolled and flew around the tongue – the conflict resumed.
Rhino (Emily) and Hippo (Perts) re-lived their tandem efforts from the day before, contradicting their disjointed bedroom activities to show a harmonious and belligerent front, forcing three of their warriors to retreat, with the inscrutable aid of the Tawny-Mandela (Sammie), who smashed their sacred sticks more than once and trapped two meteorites in his soot-cladded paws…but it was Silverback (Stevie) who was the supreme vanquisher with yet another 4 victims ably supported by Elephant (Stu-2) and the ever-reliable Tiger (Richie)!!
“These battles had rituals unsurpassed in the narrative tombs of idiocy…men downing foaming bottles of the golden mead, then, with eyes blazing, hopping repeatedly round the sacred sticks with their heads bowed in devotion…eyes might be gouged, bodies would fly in all directions as they incongruently lurched in circuitous fashion back to the next awaiting warrior, slobbering for their turn to liquor up and repeat the ritual…one after the other…the stadium awash with mead and the mad screams of supporters, sledging with slanderous allegations at their very own!
“That night we feasted like we had never gorged before…tender chicken from the kingdom of Al-Maghrib, so rich and piquant in its flavours your tongue would instantly play all the keys of the piano…and a confection of sweet fruits dripping in a caramel that produced yet more exaggerated arpeggios with each ambrosial mouthful….
“….so was that the end, Grandpa?”
“Well of course there was much carousing into the night again around the fortress walls of our garrison, with yet more highfaluting tales of derring deeds and helpless maidens…to be followed on our last day with the jaunt back to Porto where we compelled a native Roman hostelry to bewitch us with its best vittles and harvested grapes while we trashed the breeze and undermined egos, enhanced by the seductive sights of the great river that splits this enticing city.
“And what about you Grandpa? You haven’t mentioned yourself?”
“Ah, my boy…I was the Lion…hairless and maneless but with the heart of the beast; it was my role to charge at the enemy, at their barricades, under their barricades, and indeed at anything that didn’t move, with all manner of roaring stupidity and erratic actions…to dumbfound our foes while inciting my brothers to greater acts of heroism that alas I could rarely emulate….”
“Grandpa…Is this one of the stories you are saving to take on your visit to the great library in the sky?”
“Yes, my grandson, except it is only a library of memories, I leave it to you to pass on this account to your descendants, that it may never be forgotten.”
“And did you go on more trips? Did you have more adventures?”
“Ohhhhhh yes my boy…I would don my stripy gay tunic right now if the boys called for me…it’s like a band of brothers, who would plot just to watch others slug vatfuls of golden mead or to drop strange orbs in their drink….and die….laughing…..
“Next time I will tell you of their most ambitious trek of all, to lands so far away you will be entranced, where elephants and tigers roam, running scared from our radiant attire and inappropriate advances….but for now…to bed boy…here, take some of this mysterious plant that your father taught me to grow…it will make you babble incoherently for a long time but eventually you will sleep, so deeply that all your orifices will completely relax and you will wake like you have never woken before….you may lose your voice but that can create happiness for others and preserve some of your incessant dribble.”
Thank you to the Coimbra Knights and The Amigos Cricket clubs!
We felt most welcomed and were touched by your wonderful hospitality.
And well done Vags, one and all, as ever, the banter and camaraderie was legendary!
New Vagabond Dylan
Ken with Andrew Strauss at the Oval Ashes 2015
2014-15 Annual Dinner: tribute to Mary of The Sun Inn
Bootie and I recently decided that in the knowledge that Mary was intending retirement in the near
future it would be appropriate to use the club dinner to acknowledge the our appreciation of her great support
of the club over the last 18 years.
Bootie organised and presented Mary with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and I drew up the below Diploma which Andy Kennedy
had professionally printed on parchment paper : this was duly framed and presented to Mary followed by a volume of applause from our members.
Mary was visibly moved and thanked everyone promising to keep the diploma in a visible place in her home to remind her of the
fun of having our club members as pre and post match regulars in the Sun Inn on match days during the summer.
Nev's Shrine to Vagabonds Cricket
One of the most distinguished batsmen who ever donned the Vagabonds garb, Kiwi Neville Bamford (over 2000 runs and 4 centuries) shows off a mini shrine to his time with the Vags.He is also coaching his son Blake to make a bid for glory with the Vagabonds in, maybe 2023 (?!) That’s if the Black Caps don’t nab him first.
Nev writes: ‘Blake got his first century the other day – aged 12. About 10 years ahead of me so maybe a Vag in the waiting….’
Musings of a cricket tour organiser
I fall very much into the latter category but even I will admit that at times this attitude presents a problem. Namely, when one has struck gold, the thought presents itself: ‘How the hell do you top that?!’
For me this thought is very much in my mind when planning the 2015 Vagabonds tour. For with the 2014 Brittany tour, we did indeed strike gold. The overnight ferry trip, the relieving of said 20,000 ton ferry of its tricolour (soon to become tour mascot, fluttering defiantly from rear car windows), the thousand stupid tour games & rules, the trip to the cider press, the cordon bleu lunch thereafter (rillettes & ox tongue being the greatest hit with me), all of these kicked the tour off to a flying start.
The arrival at our accommodation was an unexpected treat, for the impenetrable, tacky website had successfully hidden what a magical place it was: a converted mill nestled on the edge a serene lake, hidden from the outside world by woods & accessible only by a skinny road frequented by only the garish Vagabonds and maybe one beaten-up deux chevaux per day. The place was run as a commune/hostel by the slightly cuckoo Didier & Marie-Laure (whose hippy traits were still in evidence) assisted by the most beautiful dog I have ever had the honour to know, whose full-time job was to assiduously clear the lake of the sticks which the ever helpful Vagabonds saw as their duty to return to the lake after each retrieval. Skinny dipping was de rigueur and the lake, as well as serving as a splendid setting for tour forfeits (twenty widths or more) formed a wonderful backdrop to the mini-concert (English ex-pat rock group) on the Saturday night.
On to the cricket, the pitch, at first sight, did not seem promising situated as it was on a football pitch fronted by a line of poplars. But it proved serviceable in the end (though the very low scores throughout the weekend were no coincidence). Equally, the slightly abrasive opposition (quote: ‘so you came 500 miles for a golden duck’ – but the joke was on them as the duck wasn’t golden, but second ball), turned out in the end, like a sharp Bloody Mary, to be agreeable after one had become accustomed to the taste.
And losing twice on the first day (‘we didn’t lose a single game’ was how I explained it in the bar later) meant that victory, when it came, was all the more sweet.
And all this topped off by (an albeit brief) trip to Mont Saint-Michel, well how can this tour be topped?
My answer is not by going straight back to Brittany and trying to recreate the fun we had last year. My answer is to move on somewhere else even if, on paper, it doesn’t have a chance of matching up to the Brittany tour. I rebel against the deluded attempt to try to recreate the fun we once had. That moment has passed and cannot be regained.
This is not to say that we will not return to Brittany. I am sure we will. But give it some breathing space so that when we return, its pleasures will be discovered anew. The fun will be newly minted and not some Proustian attempt to recreate what has gone before.
So this year, to pastures new: Jersey! Let a new form of fun descend upon us. Book your tickets now!
Barrie Walshe Lifetime Award
Like a child honouring their parent, the Vagabonds this year honoured their founder, creator & driving force, Barrie Walshe.
There was no particular significant anniversary (the Vagabonds was founded in 1980), but it just seemed ‘right’ this year so to do.
As with a parent, it is all too easy to take their love, support and guidance for granted.
It is easy to forget that without Barrie there would be no Vagabonds cricket team, no wonderful stripy jackets, no relaxed and happy ethos, in fact, nothing at all. And yet, being a parent myself, I know that much of Barrie’s pleasure is now derived from the fact that he has created a child which gains a life of its own and will develop mature and hopefully continue long after he has gone. And as with a child, he may not always like the direction it takes -he still has such an aversion to the Vagabonds hoodies that he insists on calling them ‘parkas’ (an even worse appellation in my opinion), and what the hell is this 20-20 with its ghastly booming so-called music as an accompaniment?! He can see that there is fun there, but it is not the sort of fun he would have chosen had he had his way, so as with a teenage child, he simply shrugs his shoulders & accepts that the world today is not what it was when he was a young man and be grateful that he has a healthy young offspring who fundamentally shares his original aspirations and mostly is on the right track.
So, largely inspired by Andrew Kennedy, the Vagabonds got together a wonderful award, a striped-up cricket bat shot through by a cricket ball (thanks to the handiwork of the brilliant one-man Vagabonds Special Effects department, that inveterate bowler of days gone by, Pete Bowden aka Polly Pete) and presented it to Barrie at the 2013 Vagabonds Dinner in The Sun Inn. Ken made a moving speech and Barrie an even more moving reply.
All this caused this not-so-young Vagabond offspring to reflect upon all the fun and good times he would have missed out on had Barrie not plotted the creation of the Vagabonds in some pub that rainy night in 1980. Furthermore, we all have dreams, but Barrie actually made his come to pass and then went on to nurse this dream from childhood through to the various stages of maturity (and immaturity) to the club that it is now.
So this piece is both a reminder of what a debt we owe to Barrie and a call to arms to current and future Vagabonds to carry forward the ethos of fun, civility and love of cricket which Barrie created and by so doing to honour the man without whom this great and unique cricket team simply would not exist. Thank you Barrie.
Paul Hibbert costs the Vagabonds £970
This is remarkable considering when joining the Vags he was at pains to point out that he was a batsman: after 47 years and 694 games the numerical difference between wickets taken and runs scored is just 3 plus runs! Paul has never shirked other duties and is constantly to be seen carefully scoring or out there in the field in an umpires coat. Duties he has taken seriously enough to make sure that dangerous looking opposition batsmen do not overstay their welcome at the crease.
But of course downsides have to be considered too and close statistical analysis reveals that some 97 six hit’s of Paul’s bowling have resulted in these balls being lost to the wilderness. Rough accounting would suggest that this has cost the club some £970 or the equivalent of 9 lengths of blazer material.
However what is £970 over 57 years compared to what Paul has devoted to the club ?
I hope you will excuse the indulgence in my earlier attempt to cover Pauls achievements in a somewhat whimsical manner.
I feel that his full (real) stats should now be revealed.
Years : 1988 to present
Matches : 213
Overs : 1724
Wickets : 400
Runs : 5612
Runs p.w: 14.0
Runs p.o : 3.3
He has also taken 46 catches and has scored 921 runs for an average of 9 ( much higher in his more youthful years ! )
This is a great achievement and it is difficult to imagine it being ever beaten and he has not finished yet – we hope !
Bertie Kennedy with Sir Viv Richards at Lords
Samuel L Perton
The whole thing is worth watching, but skip to about 25mins to see Will’s major piece
Other stunning creations involving and/or starring Will are
King’s Speech spoof, The King’s Piece
(Original trailer for the real King’s Speech, in case you missed it, here )
This little gem didn’t escape the notice of Geoffrey Rush, star of The King’s Speech who mentioned the clip on Graham Norton show here
Finally you can see an excerpt on the making of the parody here (Originally featured in Rude Tube Season 5: Episode 5 Love Bytes -check out Will with clip-board in opening scene)
Good man Will …bringing High Art to the world of pornography.
Devon Tour 2011 - No Cricket !
Well, actually no. You can’t have much fun in a pub with no beer, but you can an awful lot of fun on a tour with no cricket, albeit not of the elevated sort which cricket provides.
So it was this year revisiting Devon for the second year running. The week before we toured, the the climes were balmy and pleasant. The week after was the hottest since records began in 1766. But the likes of the monsoon which engulfed our chosen weekend has been witnessed only once before, and that was by Noah and his crew.
OK there were a few sunny patches. Just enough for a game of car-park cricket to see two balls flying into the river Yeo, a tributary of the Taw in Barnstaple where we were lodging. This was the cue for Pertie Pie to career down a slipway straight into the gloopiest accretion of duck poo I have ever set eyes on. The balls were not retrieved but the sight of Perts covered in poo was enough to clear the hangovers of all but the Chairman, whose hangover from the Friday night lasted the whole of the weekend. For Tom Humpty, the spectacle was a gauntlet thrown down, for within minutes he had (more deftly) entered the river and successfully retrieved another ball and then celebrated his success by attaching a pantomime chicken-head to the rear end of poor John B’s venerable dog, Dougal. No dignity then for the poor son of a bitch as he enters the age of contemplation and sagacity. (Be quiet, I mean Dougal not John.)
The evening before, the boys had hit the town, taken on board a surprisingly good Chinky (washed down with ample shots – sticky fluorescent chemical concoctions probably manufactured in metal drums on a Shanghai back-street) and then struck lucky with the local talent in an equally surprisingly good bar, catering for both pool and cherchez la femme. The local girls were all good fun (our legendary jackets worked their magic yet again), though I do fear a new acronym needed to be coined for the ladies in question. They were not so much MILFs as MIPWNLTFs (work it out for yourselves).
As the rain set in on the Saturday afternoon, the boys decided that go-karting was the only sensible option. A really good track was found (Damon Hill had raced there with his kids not long before) and battle commenced. John B proved that age was no bar to success and was the first to go through to the final (flinging the kart around like he does the Z4). The two Toms (H+W) soon won their heats and just as the final commenced, the heavens opened again and with no time for a tyre change the cars were spinning all over the shop. Tom Humphrey emerged triumphant and we all repaired to the warmth & alcohol-availability of ten pin bowling. I can’t remember who won (sorry!) … all I know is that it wasn’t me.
Thence to the Thatch at Croyde. After checking in, God played a little trick on us by clearing the skies enough to entice us into the half mile walk to the beach for a game of beach cricket. Play commenced just as an ominous black cloud bubbled up on the horizon. Within twenty minutes it was upon us accompanied by a gale of biblical proportions and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Humphrey took the sensible view that if he was going to get wet, he might as well do the job properly and stripped off (not all the way, thank God) and doused himself in the briney. We may as well all have joined him, for by the time we arrived back at the pub no one had a stitch of dry clothing.
The rest of the evening was a blur of Jägerbombs, top nosh and more cross-pollination with the local Lolitas (a better standard here – mostly surf chicks). Twas a pity that in our cups we didn’t put the tour virgins –Dick Mountain (who had driven all the way for one match only), Rob Hyndman (Rocket Scientist turned Red Arrow pilot), Stuart Davidson (Scots co-explorer of Cuba), Tom Humphrey and John B through their paces (not a yard of ale or stupid game in sight).
Never mind, there is always next year on the Isle of Wight. I heard ( …or perhaps I just made it up) that if you don’t drink a yard of ale on your first tour, then you have to drink two on your second and so on until you have finally cleared your drinking debt to the world.
See you in Ventnor!
Tough times for Neville in Christchurch NZ
Many will remember Neville Bamford who scored over 2000 runs for the Vagabonds before returning to his home town of Christchurch, New Zealand. Here is an email updating us with his story following the terrible earthquake they had there (the second in six months). Our thoughts are with him & his family:
We are safe but a little traumatised to be honest. Life is very different from here on unfortunately and our beautiful ChCh will never be the same. Our family and friends are all alive but we all know at least one of the dead. I was 12 floors up in our building and saw some terrible things during and after. The PGC building across the river came down as I was holding on to a door frame and that image will stay with me forever. The devastation is much,much worse than what you can see on TV. There is no chance the RWC will be hosted in ChCh either as most hotels are damaged and infrastructure is shot. We are in Kaikoura which is about 2.5 hours north of ChCh and enjoying time away from the aftershocks and daily challenges without power and water. Karen’s family have lost homes (dad and sister) but ours is liveable. Our home was pretty much the epicentre of the quake so the area is widely damaged and many families have been evacuated due to ongoing rockfall issues and structural problems. Problem is we don’t want to live in our house now so at this stage I’d say we will be moving to the North Island over the coming months.
Difficult times ahead but grateful to be alive for sure.
Keep in touch guys – pass onto others whom I may have missed.
Get well Sally Too !!
Get well soon Barrie !!
This is a completely maddening condition preventing him from watching the Vags & even ambling to the local pub …and this all happening to a youngster in his early seventies !
So we wish you our very best Barrie. Get well soon & hasten down to Bentworth to the Sun first (Mary has been missing you) and then on to cricket pitch !
Vags Devon Tour 2010
The 2010 Vags tour to North Devon was hit by lack of numbers but with a fantastic reception by the two host sides plus an awesome reaction to the Vags’ jackets at The Thatch in Croyde, a pub more used to the damp neoprene of surfers than the elegant flannel of the Vagabonds, we managed to have a superb tour.
Barnstaple and Pilton CC were tremendous hosts and with the help of Yaz, one of their young players who volunteered to play for the Vags we were treated to a nail-biting last-over win. It has to be admitted, however that Barnstaple were fielding a 12 year old (albeit the Devon captain for his age group) and that Steve Hyde failed to give a stumping as he was unsighted at square leg umpire owing to the fact that he was too busy taking a photo. Unfortunately, the picture in question failed to give a satisfactory ‘third umpire’ decision.
Newton Tracey CC had an easier task on the Sunday as the Vagabonds’ backbone had been severely compromised by a rollicking night at the Thatch. They didn’t need this help, however, as they are a strong side & despite the help of a father & son combo, the Vags spirited performance came to nothing as we failed to make the challenging total set by our hosts
All in all, a cracking tour ! Many thanks to both our hosts.
Michael Hopkins awarded his Vagabonds Cap
Vagabond Simon Baker In University Challenge Winning Team
Magnanimously the Manchester captain said “While we accept the decision of the University Challenge judges, we are saddened to have been awarded the trophy under such circumstances. As far as Simon, Henry, Reuben and I are concerned the final was a great experience and we believe Corpus Christi College were outstanding opponents.”
But as the Vagabonds (don’t??) know … a win’s a win !! So well done Simon
2008 Tour to the Isle of Man
The Vagabonds tour to the Isle of Man to play their namesakes The IOM Vagabonds turned out to be a matter of quality not quantity. Comprising just nine plus the pulchritudinous Penny as scorer (look it up!) the Vags took the island by storm.
Beach cricket, late night bars, a comprehensive victory in our match at the charming and bucolic ground of St Johns all made the tour a roaring success along with a fantastic welcome from the IOM Vagabonds. And how did we repay them? By smacking a ball at full speed into the nose of their captain Louis Van de Westhuizen bringing forth copious amounts of blood. He bravely recovered to finish the match & entertain us royally in the bar.
More late night bars and even a little romance (no names no pack-drill ) & then the games resumed but this time golf, bowls and tennis…
Click on the above picture for tour photos.
Aardvark Memorial Cricket Match June 2008
Question: What could entice Ziggy back from Taiwan, Shins from Madrid plus a whole panoply of existing & former Vagabond stars (and others) to descend on a charming Berkshire prep school on a given Thursday in July? Answer: to play a cricket match to celebrate the life of surely the most loved, most missed & most quintessential of Vagabonds, Andrew Geach.
And so it was that assorted Vagabonds and others assembled at the beautiful grounds of Aardvark’s former prep school Cheam to lacerate a leather ball and raise many a glass in his honour. Lachie who had so splendidly organised the affair in conjunction with Vark’s sister Helen led out the Aardvark team in to the field which soon were reminded of the natural talents of Tim Richman (26), James Harding (28) Donny (18 not out) and Richard Shinner (25) who surprised himself, probably, as well as others by hitting two enormous sixes having not played a game of cricket for five years or so! For the Aardvark side Keith Barker bowled a very tidy spell gaining 6 for 24 and a certain Tim Henman (who hadn’t played cricket since the age of eleven eschewing it for a much easier sport) took a hat trick as Will Perton, Luke Harding & young Bertie Kennedy all were dazzled in the glare of the tennis star’s headlights. It was noted that a few dollies were dropped, notably by Henman, Lachie & Stuart Tristram.
Lunch saw the Vagabond side happily munching their hog-roast with a satisfactory score of 147 all-out. Fruit of the vine and the hop were taken and thus handicapped/enhanced the Aardvark team came in to bat. Good progress was made with the help of Tim Henman (who retired on 32 not out as it was looking as though his first game should have been cricket after all) Hugo de Salis (28) and Oliver Lane (23). As showers gave way to a golden evening Steve Hyde tripped himself up and took an accidental catch at full stretch and the finely-poised match drew to a close shortly afterwards with the Aardvark’s still needing 8 runs and no more time to do it.
So a win for the Vags in the inaugural Vark Memorial game -largely thanks to the generous Lachie gesture with the retiring of Henners. After the game Tony & Anne Geach presented a fitting and super trophy to the winners …a half yard which was immediately filled with ale & quaffed on the spot.
Some superb prizes were raffled and a tidy sum raised for the Netpatient Foundation. Sadly Cathy (Andrew’s fiancee) was unable to be there but many of his friends and family made the trip & a big thank you and congratulations is extended to all who made this game possible. I’m sure Aardvark was cocking his head on one side, winking and raising a glass up in heaven.
Click on photo above for more photos kindly provided by Rona Hunniset & Andrew Kennedy
Remember you can always donate or run a marathon or something to raise money for the NET Patient Foundation
2007 Devon Tour
The Vagabonds celebrated in style in Devon by losing both their matches ( Spreyton CC & Dartington and Totnes CC ) in Devon.
This is in stark contrast to the 2002 tour where they embarrassingly won both their matches ….surely an indication that not enough beer was drunk.
Click on the above picture for tour photos.
2007 Vice Captains Game
Unfortunately the pitch groundsman forget to tell the outfield cutter that we were playing on Saturday, not Sunday, so the outfield was very very slow, scores would have been greater otherwise.
The first Andy Geach ‘Champagne Moment’ went to Pete Bowden for his somewhat balletic, and unusually hurried, catch to dismiss………..sorry I can’t remember, but one of several good catches on the day which were a welcome sight after the last few games fielding endeavours !
Gareth & Emma, with the help of Mary’s chips, provided a warming lunch of Chips,beans,sausages,rolls and a cuppa ‘Rosy Lee’ whilst some provided generous quantities of ale and tinnies of lager (ugh !) for those with nackered taste buds.
The evening dinner was, as usual, a cracker, with Mary providing a host of mouthwatering dishes, and some of us actually got to 1:30am before finally departing, being roundly entertained for the last couple of hours by a rampant Stuart Tristram whose main subject matter seemed to concern the sexual deviations of a certain chef – was it Gordon Ramsbottom ? or maybe a similar name ?
Anyway another great day in the Vagabonds CC history, with social endeavor,perhaps,with a couple of exceptions, featuring above cricketing skills …but that would be what this day is largely about.
We are very sad to announce the death of Geachy after a battle with the neuroendrocine cancer which he eventually succumbed to. An obituary to this most wonderful of Vagabonds will follow.
Please give generously to the charity which he took a great part in
Letter from Neville
G’day from afar Barrie,
Long time no e-speak and timely I guess with the Ashes returning
down-under. Simply outclassed and outplayed is all you can say really.
Pride will dictate if it’s to be 5 zip but England are better than that.
So what’s news with you? Hope the family are all well, not to mention
your good self too of course. Are you still heading off to Cyprus or
wherever it is for a few months during the year? I don’t recall hearing
much about the Vags season this past year but hopefully it was another
successful one. I was down in Queenstown in November on the annual NZ
Corkscrews Golf Club tour and caught up with Gavin again. He’s married
(to Nat a lovely English lass) with a baby Ben these days. One of the
new Corkscrews members that I hadn’t met before is Michael Allan and we
got chatting over a few coldies and he actually played for Follies Farm
Old Spots for a number of years. He thinks I might have played against
him in the very first fixture we had there. Amazingly small world isn’t
Life here is good – just moved house again last weekend for the 5th time
in 5 years!! Madness but there is a grand plan at the end of it all, I
think! Karen and Blake are both well – he’s off to school next year
which is quite unbelievable really. A couple of pics attached with him
and his Daniel Carter hairstyle!
I won’t mention the AB’s and the 2007 World Cup but there does seem to
be some very good momentum there, unlike some other teams we could
Anyway, drop me a line when you get a chance.
Merry Xmas to you and yours Barrie and I’ll try and give you a call soon
for a proper catch up. Same numbers of old?
Letter from Caroline Flynn
father. As a result I’m very behind with my Christmas cards this year ! Forgive
my not writing to you individually !
Johnny,Lillie, and I are all well and busy.
Johnny is doing a production of Tweth Night and The Taming of the Shrew at
The Old Vic and then touring…….Lillie has two more terms at drama school &
I’m still doing B & B and pottery when time allows.
We have 18 members of the Flynn family gathering for Christmas this year so
a busy week ahead !
We wish you a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and joyful 2007