The twitersphere must be buzzing with expectation – where can it be? A whole fortnight has gone by and no Salmagundi Lyme Regis Tour report. The assigned writer was Adam, based on that well known literary method that he who has the scorebook writes the report. Surely the only thing that could have stopped publication would be a super-injunction, but who would have taken one out? What Saturday night larrikins on the Cob could be of paparazzi interest? What we need to get to the truth is the integrity of a French magazine editor. Bonjour mes amis.
With the best weekend weather Lyme had seen all year, SGCC arrived at Uplyme CC to find the Case brothers in the clubhouse standing on bare concrete; the carpet having been ruined due to the ground and clubhouse being flooded during our glorious summer. Despite this the wicket was playable, if a little slow. Nick won the toss and decided to bat. Nick elected himself captain on the basis that he had just bought a new suit and was wearing it. Jeff laid down his own sartorial challenge by wearing a deerstalker hat and tweed jacket combo whist smoking a pipe. The consensus was that Jeff was trying too hard, so he captained the Sunday match. We only had a team of ten (Tom having decided to play his bone at some music festival that night), which included Alan Bennett (although he called himself Jonathan and apparently had once tutored Jim!) and Harry, Jim’s nephew. Alan, sorry, Jonathan, would have been more suited to writing this, but Harry proved to be a great find and star of the weekend for us. The Case’s also started with ten including our old chums the Rattenburys and the return of Russell whom we have not seen for a while and who usually knocks up a decent score, and the Pigden’s, Mike and wicketkeeper son, Adam. Now, as I light up a gauloises and pour an absinthe, this is where truth, near truth and downright lies blend into one.
Henry and Dave opened the batting. Considering this was the first time Henry had played this year he looked remarkably comfortable off some decent bowling. Dave was also playing his shots and together they put on 51 before Brian Rattenbury came on to bowl and quickly bowled Dave and two overs later did the same to Henry. Adam has been batting well this season and continued to do so, with Nick at the other end stonewalling as they put on 18 runs before Steve Rattenbury had Nick lbw. Harry, who was in shortly, went missing, so mon capitane promoted me from ten to seven. After a panic by me to pad up, the players started to walk off even though we had only played twenty overs out of the forty for the innings. For what reason? It was gone two o’clock and past Mike Case’s lunchtime, very French. After lunch Adam and Jim scored a quick 17, then Steve bowled Adam and it was the big hitting Canadian Clubber’s turn. Unfortunately, Jeff is not a great links batter and did not blunt the scorer’s pencil, being bowled for a duck the next over by Mike Pigden. I was told to go in when Jeff was out even though Harry had returned – Nick couldn’t be bothered to change the scorebook again. Three overs later, Jim was also bowled by Mike – who was bowling very well – and it was Jonathon’s turn. So let’s take stock; 97 for 6 off 25. Fifteen overs left, three wickets remaining (local, Nigel Bell had arrived and was going to bat for us and the Case Commandoes) Jonathon is an excellent Alan Bennet/David Hockney lookalike/speakalike, and probably bats like them as well. After the slowest ‘quick’ single ever, it was clear running singles or twos was going to be difficult and we only managed 3 runs in four overs; then Jonothan was c&b by Steve and in came Harry. Now the runs started to flow and I turned into the laggard compared to Harry’s athleticism. We put on 49 runs, mostly Harry’s, before I was c&b by Mr Singer. Paul came in with four overs left and promptly ran out Harry. The next over, Nigel was bowled for a duck and that was that. 164 runs off 38 overs.
The Salmagundi Travelling Players:
Henry Monahan Bowled B. Rattenbury 31
Dave Hollingsworth Bowled B. Rattenbury 16
Adam Wood Caught S. Rattenbury 23
Nick Duckett LBW S. Rattenbury 1
Jim Monahan Bowled M. Pigden 13
Jeff Round Bowled M. Pigden 0
Chris Packham C&B G. Singer 16
Jonathon C&B S. Rattenbury 1
Harry Williams Run Out 34
Paul Brasted Not Out 2
Nigel Bell Bowled G. Singer 0
Paul opened the bowling, with me at the other end. I bowled the opening bat for 3 in the fourth over with the score on 8, but his partner, Dave Norman, proved more of a problem, and with Stuart Case he raised the score to 20 before Stuart was bowled for 3 by Paul – who was bowling really well – and to prove it quickly had the next batsman caught for 0 (I can remember that Adam and Henry took catches, but not in what order, and they have not been recorded). Harry replaced me and quickly proved to be as good a bowler as he is a bat, being unlucky not to take any wickets. Mike Case was striking the ball well, but his knees were letting him down whilst running between the wickets, so we suggested he have a runner. Of course, the next time he hit a run he started running, we’ve all done it. Dave was finally bowled in Jim’s first over for 20, the thirteenth of the match, bringing Russell to the crease. He and Mike put on 19 runs before Mike was caught off Jim for 8. Russ was looking ominously good and with Adam Pigden now joining him, we were bracing ourselves for the worst. But two overs later Adam was given out lbw off Jim for 1, rather harsh I thought. Russ continued to pile on the runs with Mike Pigden, who scored 10 before being caught off Nigel who bowled very well. 88 for 7 off 26. When Russ reached 50, our skipper decided to bring back the openers to try and shift him. This proved very wise as he was finally caught off Paul for 55. This meant Nigel had to pad up and turn his coat while the Rattenbury brothers were at the crease. A very rare event then took place, I run out Steve Rattenbury for 4. Then I bookended the innings by bowling Brian for 3, Nigel was not out, 5. So the Commandos scored 132 runs off 36 overs. We had the win.
Brasted 8 overs 29 runs 3 wickets
Packham 6 13 2
Williams 7 33 0
Monahan J 7 20 3
Bell 8 32 1
There is a note in the scorebook which reads: “Man relieved to disappear behind site screen for a jimmy”. The object of this riddle was Jim, who chose to hide his relief behind a site screen which consists of a material that is see-through if you stand close and the sun is shining. The players and spectators looked on in disbelief. It was like watching a giant video screen in a sports stadium. Jim dismissed it as a piddling affair.
The evening meal was taken at the Pilot Boat Inn, in their skittle parlour. The after dinner skittle match was Killer, where everyone puts in 50p and has three lives, the rules being changed after each round and the winner being the one left standing. Round one started with all nine skittles up and the first player having to knock down one skittle at least, the following player aiming at whatever was left. If all the skittles were knocked down then the nine were put up again. It’s surprising how many missed all nine. The next round was one skittle and the next three skittles, but you had to only hit the middle one. This prompted a prolonged discussion between Paul and Stewart Case about what was the point of putting up the outer two skittles; until the skittle finally dropped for Paul that you weren’t allowed to knock either of them down with the middle one, which Paul then did. Most of us lost all our lives by the “knock down all three round”, but Sarah and young Arron Pigden, being rather good at this, got through to the” between the two skittles round”, before losing out to local Steve Rattenbury, who took the prize. Then, despite it not yet being eleven, almost everyone went home; including Sarah and Julia, Paul and Jeff’s girlfriends, leaving me, Nick, Jeff, Paul, Adam and Dave to entertain ourselves with our own competition – won by Dave, until we were thrown out at 11.30.
And that should have been that, because Lyme usually shuts down at 11.00; except someone suggested a walk on the Cob. Now if you’ve been to Lyme and know the Cob it might have seemed surprising to you in this day and age, that the only bow to Health and Safety are a couple of small barriers at the start and a sign saying it can get a bit slippy and you might hurt yourself if you fall off; nothing about drunken idiots being banned from walking out in the pitch black night on a sloping ten foot wide uneven sea wall, with no guard rails, which waves pound against and plumes of spray pour over. But this was fine, because despite the alcohol consumed and the baccy produced by Paul being of the somewhat wacky variety, we were all no dafter than usual; until we reached the Cobb Arms that is. Now I must admit that things do get a bit hazy at this point and a decent pap to have recorded events would have been helpful, a bit like having the scorebook, but I’ll do my best; or in Jeff’s case, my worst. The pub was open and sitting outside there were raucous women, which prompted Jeff to take off like the proverbial rat up the drainpipe. By the time the rest of us caught up he was new best friend to an overly familiar doctor and I was accosted by a bizarre Irish girl with more blarney than Frank Carson. Fortunately we were saved by the landlady who said she would serve us drinks, so it was into the pub to seek refuge (honest officer). When I say we, I do not include Jeff, who remained outside with the crazy doc, obviously seeking medical advice from her for some unknown or future complaint (the effects of a baseball bat over the bonce if Julia found out, no doubt). Inside, Paul was putting up a stout defence of drink-driving. This to add to his previous critiques: Saddam – much misunderstood; Gaddafi – what a nice man; motorbike thieves – should be decapitated and their heads impaled on pikes. As this failed to elicit much of a response, admittedly from a rather dozy audience, I think he should up his game, say; King Herod – family planning genius.
Eventually we were thrown out. Despite every last sensible brain cell telling us to go to bed, some eejit said “Let’s go on the Cob” (Yep, it was me). Bringing up the rear was the Pied Piper of Lyme, with his harem a-trailing; until they got to Grannies teeth that is (stones cantilevering out of the wall to form steps), which even the charms of Round couldn’t persuade the good doctor to climb, and so, with some girly yelps, they were seen no more; except for a local waitress who was obviously well versed in Cobbbing. So out we strolled to the very end and then made our way back down Grannies molars without any mishaps. Perhaps, when something is really hazardous and has no safety protection even drunken idiots take more care. Or perhaps we were really, really, lucky.
Making our way back along the bad lands that is Lyme seafront, two of our party were lost to who knew what; wolves, bears, marauding colleens? This caused a nano-second of concern and then we all went to bed. When I say we, I do not include Jeff, who went off to the car park with his new cobber, presumably to show her what an excellent deal he’d got on his hire car. It emerged in the morning that the reason for the missing pair was that Paul had yet again lost something on the seafront and had persuaded Adam to go back and help him find it. Seeing what he obviously thought was something Paul would carry about, Adam held it out:
“Is this it?”
Paul took a good long look to make sure he hadn’t had one puff too many.
“It’s a toad!”
“Yes, is it yours?”
“But, it’s a toad”
“So it’s not yours?”
“Chris, IT IS A TOAD”
This is not a misprint. Paul’s recollection of the event was that I joined him on his mobile quest (mobile in the sense that he lost his supa-dupa-mega-techno mobile phone, not that his quest was moving) and not Adam. Like I say, one puff too many. Remarkably, they actually found said phone lying in the middle of the parade where he had dropped it. This was really lucky for Sarah, who then received a call from Paul to let him in to their B & B. Oh, the romantic pleasure of being awoken at two o’clock on a Sunday morning by the dulcet tones of ones beloved.
Next morning the crazy golf proved to be the sanest part of the weekend. Unlike previous years, there were no attempted child murders, no playing shots on one leg while reciting the Lord’s Prayer, and no Jim, who failed to show up. We were all surprisingly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed considering the evenings shenanigans. When I say we, I do not include Jeff, who was, shall we say, somewhat delicate. The competition ended in a 39 shot tie between suited-and-booted and deux battes. A one shot nearest the hole play-off resulted in neither getting particularly close and, when Dave was declared the winner Nick insisting, to no avail, on a re-measure. What a competitive lot we are. So, two wins for 2 bats.
By the time we got to the ground for the Uplyme CC match, fatigue was starting to set in on my part. This might also have had something to do with how young and fit most of the opposition looked. Mark Brimicombe was looking like he’d also had a ‘heavy’ night, so perhaps this year he wouldn’t knock our bowling all over the shop. I managed to get the overs reduced to 35, which proved to be one of my better weekend ideas.
Uplyme CC opened the batting, but we do not have a record of their innings, so this will be quite a short report you’ll no doubt be glad to read.
Tom had hung up his trombone, got on a train from London to Axminster, then took a five mile bus ride and arrived at the ground well in time for the 12 o’clock start. Unfortunately, his brother and cousin found getting the four miles from Lyme more problematical, arriving at the ground an hour late. By this time Uplyme had scored 70 runs for one wicket. I’d bowled four overs for the one wicket and that was my lot. The other opening bat was knocking up the runs until Tom got him to play a lofted straight drive and I hung on to the catch at mid-on. Paul was bowling very well up the hill, seemingly unaffected by the evening’s whiskeys. Henry took a couple of good catches. Harry knocked down the stumps for the first time ever. One of their players scored 50 and retired, which brought Mark to the crease. He played down his innings, saying they were more like golf shots than cricket strokes, but I haven’t seen anyone hit the ball harder this year. He actually cleared the tennis court – but not the car beyond it. However, the champagne moment belonged to Harry fielding on the boundary. A massive hit from Mark flew high and far towards him, he moved in then out, pirouetted, dived and caught it. Best catch of the season by a mile. It was actually behind the flags, so should have been a six, but Mark was so impressed he walked off. The innings ended on just over 200 when young Daley Holmes was caught by Henry off the last ball, much to the youngster’s disgust.
Tea was an unusual but highly enjoyable mix of port, assorted cheeses, pate and French bread. The only problem for some of us was that we had to leave it and bat.
Jim and Tom opened the batting, with Tom out in the second over and no runs on the board. Oh, dear. Adam and Jim were going along nicely, but Jim was having trouble running. Adam was out caught for 3 in the sixth. At least I thought he was out, but he wasn’t walking so I didn’t go out until I realised that he was going to run for Jim. And boy, did he do some running. I hit a pretty decent shot passed a fielder who gave chase, and Adam called for two. The ball was just in the fielders hand near the boundary as I turned for the second, but there was no ‘one for the throw’ to be had here. He arrowed the ball in, with a direct hit the icing on the cake and me nowhere near the crease. 41 for 3 off 10. Next was Paul, determined to get some runs, which he did; 18 in fact, with one boundary and the rest singles before he was bowled by young Daley, who bowled very well. Jeff put himself in at his favoured number 6, hit one boundary and was caught out, which somehow seemed appropriate. We were really struggling; 66 for 5. Harry and Jim put on 23, then Jim was bowled on 47, a fine knock and well run Adam. Harry made 27, Henry asked for permission to hit out, and made 0, Nick 3 and Dave two nice fours then bowled; 144 runs in total, a heavy defeat.
Next year is the 20th anniversary of the Lyme Regis Tour, so perhaps some of the original tourists might fancy coming down for the weekend.