French House 8 June

By Mark Gilkes

Twelfth Man Runs Himself Out

Fierce competition exists between those striving for selection to the Salmagundi side, and for the fiercely competitive derby match against French House, at Alleyns Old Boys’ Sports Club, Dulwich, it was fiercely decided to name a twelve.

The twelfth man – let us, as Johnners would, call him Twelvers – would actually have been known as Eleveners, because, as fiercely predicted to him beforehand by Threers, somebody one to ten failed to turn up.

So, from twelve, Salmagundi found themselves having to fiercely fight with ten.

Oners and Twoers opened the batting and did very well. Twoers was the first to go, so Oners can be named as Chris Packham, aka, Man Of Metal (for the way the ball bounced off him in the field without a flinch), aka “Nice Arse” (for the way he threw the ball in well when fielding, which, earning him the call “Nice Arm”, was misinterpreted by many – and understandably). Oners glided, drove and snicked his way to a commendable 58, by which time he’d been joined at the crease by Threers. Threers, who, in a scintillating innings, was seen to time the ball three, maybe four, times (probably three, considering his name), amazingly held down one end from the fifth over through to the close of the innings for 52 not out. Twelvers, aka Eleveners, was of course not there to see it – so, for his benefit and for no other reason, the name of Threers, the other half-centurion, is Mark Gilkes.

Adam Wood, aka Wooders, aka Adamers, aka Eight-and-three-quartersers, aka Skipperers, came in at the end to chip in with a fine twenty odd not out, including four fours in one over, leading to calls for him to be renamed Fourers, or Four-in-oners – but the actual Fourers objected to this on the grounds that this was somewhere near the number of balls he got bat on in his innings and so clearly the name was his and his alone.

French House actually had only nine players, and so were lent fielders – at various times Fourers, Teners and Seveners. Threers, attempting to heave the last ball of the match over the mid-wicket boundary, caught it on the splice and lifted it gently in the direction of Fourers. Fourers, having fielded enthusiastically for the opposition, somehow seemed to misread the flight of the ball and saw it drop just agonising beyond his outstretched (stretching the description of outstretched here) arm.

A competitive total of 193 was posted, much of which was thanks to Threers emailed epic memo on scoring, which reminded everyone to add the penalty run to the runs scored off the penalty ball. However, Threers, scoring at the start, got a little overexcited at his own instructions and started trying to add on a penalty run to byes and leg-byes, even if no run was taken. This was soon spotted and corrected by Fourers.

French House came out to bat and their Oners (I’m calling him that but it would be an incredible coincidence if he did indeed have the same name) carried his bat for a brilliant 98, holding their chase together and virtually winning it singled handed. Oners would have posted 100 had not Joe Fox, with French requiring one to win, chased down a shot to the boundary and pulled it in for two, inches from the rope, when he could’ve just let it run out. Salmagundi struggled hard to contain Oners and the other supporting French House batsmen, but, as the game came to its climax, some great efforts where made in the bowling department to make it close. Nice Arse bowled particularly well, which, added to his fine and consistent fielding, made him for me man of the match. Those people who keep saying it is only because he has a nice arse are forgetting that it was actually his nice arm which earned him that name…

…No, I’m not trying to say his arse isn’t nice…

…Well, yes, I suppose, if pressed on the subject….

…No, what I mean is I’m not an arse expert…

…Look, let’s just leave Chris’s arse alone…

Special mention should go to Nick Duckett and Amardeep Jamu – Niners and Teners as we fondly know them. Both put in heavy work in the field, often crossing from third man to fine leg at the end of each over, and all this as reward for not getting a bat. Their only consolation is that Twelvers too didn’t get a bat, even when he tried to sneak in as Eleveners – and from the comfort of his home.

Of course, had Twelvers/Eleveners been there, we would have had a full fielding complement, and the late pressure our bowlers managed to apply might have been enough of a squeeze, with overs running out and their Oners clearly tiring, to have pulled us to victory. Hang your head in shame, Twelvers.

Also of numerical interest was the attempt by Twoers (thus named to hide Jim Monahan’s identity) to uncoach in the nets prior to the match precisely what the professional at Middlesex Cricket School had instructed Threers to do. Clearly, had Threers not been so rash as to ignore Twoers advice, he quite possibly could have doubled his score – tripled even, considering his name.

Our Oners thought it was very hard on us to have had two fifties in the side and still lose. (Before anyone suggests it, I don’t think either of us will wear well the name Fiftyers.)

It’s customary for the drinks to be brought out by the twelfth man, but he was absent without excuse. Today they were brought out by Chris Nice Arse Packham. There was, apparently, a rather fetching serving wench costume available, but for some inexplicable reason Nice Arse declined to wear it.

Which begs this question: there was also no streaker today – but surely we had the person eminently qualified for the role?

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