Report by Chris Packham
The paraphrased idiom taken from last year’s Lyme trip was: A Paul and his
money are soon parted. This year it was: Never count your Cases before
they’ve hatched … a family party in London on the day of the cricket match.
Yes, we were sans Case, which rather defeats the point of the exercise. But
never mind, you can’t keep a good Salmagundi down, which is why it’s rarely
on the menu. Instead we arranged to play an Uplyme eleven on the Saturday
rather than the Sunday, or at least we thought we had. Due to mixed
messages rather than metaphors they could only muster seven, and two of
those arrived late. Mind you, we were only nine so this was not a good start.
Our doughty heroes who put in the effort to head west were: David Stead,
Jeremy Gostick, Amardeep Jamu, Chris Packham, Nick Duckett, Paul
Brasted, Jeff Round, Adam Wood and Lord Fakenham; except it soon
became apparent that His Lordship had not turned up. In his place was his otherworldly twin brother, the one they don’t like to talk about and usually keep
locked up in the attic where he continually knocks his head on the low beams.
He has no name so for convenience I shall call him Gaylord Fakenham. Some
say he dresses like Mr Toad in brown woollen plus fours, black velvet slippers
and a blue, elbows patched with leather, pullover that has no obvious entry for
a head. All I know is … he did on Saturday. As he rarely talked to us, what
language he speaks is difficult to say, but during the match, whilst fielding on
the boundary, he was seen in earnest conversation with a dog just as a
straight-forward catch came his way and bounced at his feet.
Our old nemesis M. Brimicombe opened the batting with J. Simms. Myself and
Gaylord opened the bowling and for once I had a bit of zip about me and
Fakenham’s twin had obviously also received the bowling gene, so the attack
started with promise. The batsmen were under pressure to stay in as they
only had three teammates at this stage; one umpiring; one scoring and the
other one helping his wife make the tea, which seemed to take an excessively
long time as he was supposed to help us out in the field. While still on a low
score Mark was dropped off successive balls, the second by me off my own
bowling, the first by the dog whisperer. Later in the innings he was dropped
again. This proved critical as he went on to score 74. Jerry was eventually
caught in the thirties by Nick off Gaylord, who went on to take 3 wickets. Brian
Rattenbury was in next and batted out the rest of the overs unbeaten for
about 30 runs. Dave took a wicket, Jeremy a catch. Paul, Jeremy, Nick and
Adam bowled; Jeff kept wicket. From memory, that was the innings. 140 for 4
off 35 overs. Our webmeister needs to sort out the figures when he gets the
The reason for our lack of a guest fielder became apparent when we saw the
spread provided. Not just quality but quantity. By the time we’d all had our fill it
hardly looked like we’d touched it. In fact, it looked like the buffet for the
wedding that was taking place in the nearby church. As we tried to gate-crash
the actual wedding reception later that evening, perhaps we should have
invited them in.
Dave had a cunning plan, or possibly indigestion, which had Amar and Paul
opening the batting. One of Amar’s daughters seemed to think he would soon
be back; in fact she could have grown up, gone to university, got married and
had children herself before daddy returned. Perhaps I exaggerate, but it took
19 overs and 12 runs before Amar did return, run-out; his top score for the
Gardeners. This was two more than I managed and probably the second
highest after Dave’s 30. Even so I shall still give Amar some batting advice –
buy a Jock to hold the box, it makes running a lot easier and much more
dignified. Paul didn’t last long. I was undone by the chef who also turned out
to be a retired semi-pro left arm around the wicket spinner from Yorkshire. Jeff
took a big swipe at his first ball sending it for 4 and tried it again as we were
well behind the run rate. The inevitable happened, to him and the rest. I’m not
sure what we scored, maybe 70.
In the Pilot Boat over dinner, Dave summed up our performance saying the
team had now reached a new low and we were beyond being embarrassed
anymore. At that moment Jeremy and Paul had an accidental coming together
sending Jeremy’s pint flying around the room. Seeing Paul towel down the
customers pushed the envelope that bit further. As we left for a walk down to
the Cobb, strange lights were seen floating out over Lyme Bay. This could
either have been Fakenham’s twin returning to Planet Gaylord, Palmers Bitter
playing tricks or Chinese fire lanterns from the wedding reception.
Investigation was in order. It was the wedding reception held at the Harbour
Inn. Dave managed to secure us drinks outside, but entry to the private
function was not allowed. Nick took this as an affront and managed to secure
a sausage roll before he was thrown out by the five foot bouncer. Paul chatted
up the bride across the veranda and, as always, seemed to think he was in
with a chance.
The annual Sunday morning Crazy Golf competition went out in three waves:
Amar and family; me, Adam and Heather; Dave, Nick, Jeff and Jeremy. The
last four decided to craze it up a bit more by playing the shots between their
legs. Honestly, if you can’t take Crazy Golf seriously what hope is there? The
fact that Jeff’s 43 was only 3 off the winning round is neither here nor there.
Where was Paul? No, the bride was safe. He followed the Salmagundi
tradition that the wicket keeper goes for an early morning swim. Of course, he
didn’t actually keep wicket but then it was that sort of weekend.
The Uplymers tried to get us a 20 over match for the Sunday but could only
rouse five players. We were down to eight as Amar carried his bat home, but
Fakenham was back having spent the evening up to his chest in the river Axe
trying to tickle a trout without success. A local did the scoring and the single
umpire was padded up to bat next. Most of the Uplyme batsmen batted twice
and they scored about 100. Nick took 2 wickets, Paul took a hard hit catch
and was sledged by the scorer whilst bowling. We turned around straight
away and Saturday’s batting order was reversed. As they had so few players
we had to field for Uplyme. If Saturday was bad then this was execrable.
When Paul joined me as the last player in we were on 40. Fair play to Paul he
made some good hits and was trying whereas my heart wasn’t in it. He hit one
straight drive and called for a run but as I saw Fakenham actually run to get it I
sent him back. By this time he was in my crease and then had to scramble
back to his own. The wicket keeper took pity and fumbled the run out and I
took the sharp end of Paul’s tongue, so rare. It was generally accepted that as
Paul had run twice my score should be -2. I shouldn’t think even an Indian
bookmaker would have taken that bet. The end came shortly afterwards when
I was caught by Fakenham, the only thing he caught that weekend. He has yet to
decide whether to grill, smoke or flambe me. We retired to the clubhouse to
finish off yesterday’s tea and didn’t even manage to do that.
It has occurred to me that I may not be doing a very good job of selling this
fixture for next year, so let me end on a high note. The weather was
wonderful, our hosts were great company and Lyme is a great place to visit.
The Uplyme match is normally well represented by the locals and of course
Stuart and Mike Case are usually in residence. So next year keep an opening
in your diaries for the third weekend in September, then if we send a decent
squad to the West Country with a bit of luck who knows, we might finish that