Nepotists v Valley End
(Report by Dale "Daisy" Atkinson) 20 Jun 2010
As the skipper Steve Jones and Robin L'Oste-Brown strolled out to the middle to
open the innings, Steve could be heard muttering "How the hell did we get talked
into this". El Presidenta wasn't really paying attention as he was on the
lookout for U-boat activity which he was convinced was still rampant in the
area. Fortunately 'Das Boot' never arrived and at this point Nepotists Cricket
Club was founded. Yes, 30 years ago today, the mighty Nepos strode into history.
So..... happy birthday everybody!! (Click
here to view inaugural scorecard)
Fortunately Nepotists circa 2010 were able to emulate their illustrious brethren from 3 decades earlier by 'throwing' the game against the highly fancied Ealing and simultaneously at the same time bring their aspirations of an undefeated season to a grinding halt - just for the sake of historical correctness of course. After the usual wrath of three last minute pullouts, six new Nepotists made their debut, which I believe is a Nepo first. (Click here for photo) All acquitted themselves honourably against an extremely strong Ealing line-up, which included three first team players - so well done lads, but unfortunately you're all dropped for next week. Kidding of course, we'll need at least one of you! No really guys, well done (can't think of any more one liners).
Notable contributions were made by debutant Shane
Powick from Kempsey, NSW with a stylish 62 and Carl (the rock) Hoar with 51.
Chook Henville made a welcome guest appearance after two years on the lam, with
figures of 1 for 0 off 1 over, then proceeded to be barred from the bar for
barmaid abuse after the match - things never change! NACA went to debutant Nehal
Kirmani from Sydney for indiscretions too numerous to document, but
The rains came down late in the afternoon around
Richmond way and robbed the Nepotists of certain victory against Hampton Wick
with 13 overs left to bat and the Nepos poised on 2-86 requiring 200 on the
knockers for victory. (Scorecard) With London trains at a standstill, the
cunning plan of utilizing the Werren van to transport 9 of the 11 players to the
ground from various pickup points, ended in shambles when a bizarre turn of
circumstances arose and somehow only 7 actually exited the vehicle at the field!
Interpol has been alerted.
So with two players down before a ball was bowled and
losing the toss, the skipper Steve Werren convinced the oppo captain to bat
first, thus allowing the Nepo fielders to avoid the predicted rain showers
forecast later in the day and also watch the T20 Rubbish Cricket Final between
'Aus' and the coalition 'Eng/SA/AnyoneWhoCanBreathe' select.
Unfortunately we were unable to view the game as the Sky signal was down while
the ferocious storm raged on - so not sure of the result there. However, all 11
bars were showing on the signal strength meter when the Aussie women won the
premier game of the day against the all conquering Kiwis - so well done gals.
The dream of an unbeaten season (from here) lives on.
While waiting for the other three lads to turn up I
attended the mandatory losing of the toss. But something went drastically wrong
- I won! Suddenly I went into a cold sweat, I actually had to make a decision.
What do I know about reading pitches, they all look the same to me. I looked to
the pavilion where the Nepos were waiting motionless in anticipation for the
sign that they should get changed. There was a complete absence of sound (I now
know how Stevie Wonder feels). I looked up and the local geese were all flying
in slow motion and eye-balling me. Had 3D and CGI technology now moved into the
real world? I felt like Luca Brasi in 'The Godfather' before his speech to Don Corleone - was I going to be the first Nepo ever to be 'wacked' for making the
wrong choice? So as to delay my decision and ponder the possibilities, I did
what all good skippers do, rubbed my thumb and first two fingers on either side
of my chin and slowly walked up and down the pitch, moving my head slowly from
side to side trying to 'buy time'.
My brain was filled with so many unanswered
questions. What if it is an obvious batting or bowling pitch and I picked the
wrong one and the oppo skipper broke out in gut wrenching laughter and said "no
serious, what do you want to do"? Anyway, he probably has an ugly girlfriend,
otherwise he wouldn't play cricket on both Sat and Sun, so what is he on about?
Besides, I bet he can't play a G#min9demented chord. (Well neither can I, but he
doesn't know that). Do all those green patches up and down the pitch mean that
the ball will get discoloured when the green stuff rubs off onto it? So should
we bowl first and hope the green stuff is all gone by the time we bat? What
would Steve Waugh do here? After all, we played at a similar level from birth to
5 years old, so surely it can't be that hard.
I concluded that the pitch was just a clump of grass
and would be perfect for a barbie after the game. So considering the
consequences of my decision, I took the scientific approach and tossed the coin
again - heads we bat, tails we bowl. That way the oppo skipper would just think
I'm a wacky guy and not simply an idiot! Although he did remind me after the
coin indicated we bowl, that I only had 8 players present at that stage. Yep,
had 'em psyched out already - the plan was working.
So with 6 players from the previous week unavailable
due to the bank holiday weekend, four of the Nepo Legends, Dick Sutton, Roly
Monk, Stoney Robinson and Tim Hardy (although Tim is a bit of a regular these
days) put their hands up and volunteered their services, which was greatly
With the match reduced to 35 overs because of the
late start, the reality of my decision soon set in when as I attempted to throw
the new ball to our two opening bowlers Nathan Coleman and Chris Ellegard, I
suddenly realised that they were not there, but still in transit to the ground.
So Lukey Sparrow was given the opportunity to open the bowling owing to his
consistent line and length from previous games, plus the fact that he was the
only one present who could actually bowl faster than 20km per hour. In a split
tactic, verbose Roly Monk was also thrown the ball at the other end so as the
oppo would gain a false sense of security early on and hopefully play rash
shots. This tactic seemed to work as Teddington were kept to a miserly 25 runs
off the first 8 overs with the two bowlers picking up 3 plum wickets between
them. Alas, this method was only short lived, but still restricted Teddington to
a very gettable 220.
After a sumptuous tea of sandwiches and sandwiches,
the Nepotists were feeling fairly confident of knocking off the score at around
6 runs per over. With the four Legends on deck for this game, how could we
possibly not chase down this meagre total. The Legends were specifically brought
in to strengthen the batting, so it was pleasing to hear 3 out of the 4
volunteering to bat down the order and went in at 8, 9 and 11 - not quite the
plan. So in another stroke of genius and to convince the oppo we were crap at
batting and maybe get their part time bowlers on early, I decided to reverse the
order. With Nehal away this week, Sparrow was sent in to open the innings
alongside regular opener Carl Hoar with instructions to keep the score ticking
over, so that we can have a big lunge at the total towards the end of the innings. But unfortunately Sparrow didn't hear these instructions as he still had his
headphones on when striding out to the crease in his faded Baggy Green cap,
listening to Steve Waugh's NY Times best selling audio book "Sparrow's My Mate
And When I Retire From Cricket I will Only Ever Do wavingtheflag.com Tours As
They Are The Best Value For Real Cricket Supporters Who Want To Enjoy The Game
Without Sitting Next To A Bunch Of Yahoo's Like The Fanatics".
So a new Nepo record was set that day as Sparrow
proceeded to nudge, nurdle and do extravagant leaves to compile an exciting 1
run from his first 35 balls faced in the first hour. His contribution being
exactly 1 run in a 68 run partnership with Carl. When Sparrow was finally
dismissed to great fanfare and relief from the watching Nepotists for a Geoff
Boycott like 12, the very gettable 6 an over had blown out to over 8 an over.
Next in was our new debutant from Sydney, 29 year old Chris Julian.
I would like to digress slightly here from the match
report and give you a rundown of events away from the pitch. Our new debutant
Chris is actually a qualified Chiropractor, specialising in sports injuries.
Well you can imagine how wide the eyes lit up from the elder members of the team
when they heard this. All those long term injuries from years on the road with
the Nepos could now be finally done with in one afternoon at the bargain price
of 'zilch'. Chris was kept busy from the moment he entered the Werren van on the
way to the game, till about 4am in the morning, performing miracle surgeries with
just the stump hammer and the NACA jacket. It really was a sight to behold.
But one special mention surely has to go to Mr Stoney
Robinson. Stoney had already informed me before the game that he would be a bit
of a passenger due to the dodgy back he had sustained doing cliff drops of Mount
Everest on his snowboard - verification is required. His said his recent bout of
Leprosy and Scurvy wouldn't affect his performance, which was a relief to all in
the general London area. About half a dozen overs into the match and attempting
a swan dive with a half twisted pike in the outfield, Stoney's back went in all
directions, even poking him in the eye at one stage. Being the trouper that he
is, and with suggestions for him to leave the field, he chose to stay on and
attempt to mangle it even more - obvious work compensation case here.
During the tea break Stoney decided to use the time honoured tradition of starting casual conversation and hopefully get Chris to offer to have a look at his back, thus avoiding consultation fees, as it was technically classed as a gift. The next sight had to be seen to be believed. With the Nepo's fighting for victory and a big crowd in attendance, all eyes were instead watching Stoney lying on the grass face down, being twisted and poked in front of the pavilion for about an hour in full view of everyone. It wasn't a pretty sight, particularly with the local dogs seeing this as a great opportunity to get in a bit of sly 'leg humping' on Stoney's outstretched legs. But it was the sad sight of watching children running off into the woods screaming with ensuing parents, that finally brought this activity to a close. Surely it's too early in life for 5 year olds to be exposed to this kind of filth on a Sun afternoon.
Anyway, back to the game. Chris strode out to the crease and stunned everybody by plundering the opposition bowling with a series of 6's and 4's in all directions for a very entertaining 44 off about 3 balls. The game looked like it could be over with 10 overs to spare with Chris in this kind of form. An unfortunate mix up with Lukey Sparrow (there he is again) ended with him being run out.
Next in was third game debutant, Kiwi Chris Ellegard. This was Chris's first bat of the season and showed not only can he open the bowling (and is very good at going "yeeeeh" every time he gets a wicket - very Transport like) he is quite handy with the bat as well, compiling a very well constructed 58no. Chris was then joined by his fellow compatriot from 'Inzid' Kiat Thoo, who also proved his worth with the bat by stylishly hitting up 31 runs.
Unfortunately with the slow start to the innings (no name mentioned here) the run rate was now up to about 10 an over with 10 overs to go. So wishing to protect my average, I decided to send in everybody else as sacrificial lambs and told them to go for everything - very noble of me. Once again Sparrow was embroiled in controversy as he raised the finger at square leg for the run out of 'that man' Dick Sutton. People in Hong Kong were texting us confirming (as everybody else in the ground already knew) that the replays from the live broadcast of the game showed the keeper had dislodged the bails before the direct hit. (This brain explosion was enough to put Sparrow over the line and confirm him as the winner of the NACA jacket and hat later on). On calmly walking off the field in silence after scoring just one run, Dick then proceeded to promptly destroy every piece of kit he had in his bag, and could be heard chuntering the words "this game sucks"; conjuring up memories of the Aussie guy who played for Shepperton several years ago who literal destroyed the whole shed.
The game eventually came to a losing end for the Nepotists soon after with the score on 7-197, still 20 odd runs behind Teddington. I can now confirm that Stoney has made himself available for every match till the end of the season. He reckons the benefits gained by £500 worth of free Chiropractic each week, far outweighs the £10 match fee.
The bar after the game was the place to be, with the Legends regaling updated stories of Nepotists days gone by to the Young Guns in attendance - which soon cleared the bar. As a footnote, unfortunately the oppo skipper's girlfriend (who worked behind the bar) was quite tidy, so no comeback there. A great day had by all in the lush surrounds of Bushy Park.
We are the mighty Nepotists.
We woke up on Sunday morning (afternoon in my case) looking forward to a delightful day in the sun as the forecast was for a top of 24 degrees two days earlier. But as is typical over here, it went horribly wrong with the forecast changing to rain showers throughout the day. I feel that what is now needed to keep God in his place, is a weather forecasters strike like they had back in the 60's that eventually culminated in the strange occurrence of absolutely no weather for 2 whole weeks - that'll fix Mr High and Mighty! Fortunately these showers bypassed the ground and we were left with a fine and partly cloudy day of around 22 degrees.
The day began in usual Nepotists chaos with the Werren van losing it's complete exhaust system en route to the ground and nearly decapitating the driver in the following vehicle. But unfortunately the guy behind him didn't escape so lightly, but fortunate for us he 'passed away' when a flying piece of the pipe took his head off and he didn't have time to report the number plate to the police - we drove on. I kept the head as a memento and it will be mounted on the wall at the new Nepo clubhouse if ever we decide build one. Meanwhile, I'll just keep it in my freezer. Viewings on a Tue evening between 6 and 8 - bookings essential.
With 10 Nepotists on the park for the first ball and Philip Challinor somewhere between Bath and the ground, having a coffee while waiting for his SatNav battery to recharge, the South Hampstead innings commenced. The Nepo bowling was opened by Kiwi Chris Ellegard who bowled his best spell of the season to date. Was it because his fellow public school teacher Basher Balden was playing today? Who knows, but the problem with Chris' bowling on Sun was that he was doing too much with the ball on and off the pitch; swinging and cutting the ball all over the place and tying the batsmen up in knots, with their attempted shots missing by at least a foot - so deservedly Chris went wicketless. Maybe he'll learn from this un-Nepotists like obvious over use of the ball and bowl proper leg side long hops, as is the long standing Nepotists tradition.
But the two stars of the innings, Nehal Kirmani and Lukey Sparrow, not realising what glories lay ahead for them in the next innings, stole the show by bagging 7 wickets between them (Sparrow 4 & Nehal 3). The two all time Nepotists wicket takers Basher Balden (506 wickets) and Mr "eh!" Rik (535 wickets) showed they had not lost any of their zip and enthusiasm in bowling full spells each and picking up 3 hard fought wickets between them. One more year! South Hampstead kept up a powerful scoring rate of over 6 an over throughout their innings, despite losing wickets at regular intervals and were eventually bowled out for 235. Along with 6 catches in the field including 2 spectacular ones from Chris Ellegard at long on, the Nepotists were fairly satisfied going into the break.
After tea the Nepo innings commenced. With regular
opener Carl Hoar unavailable this week, Sparrow was given the opportunity
to redeem himself after all of the lampooning he received in the previous game
against Teddington. The two openers strolled out to the crease all fired up
after their personally satisfying bowling performances. Meanwhile the Nepo
Legends gathered outside the pavilion, all padded up anticipating a typical
Nepotists collapse and discussed life in the upper echelon of the business
world, while the Young Guns looked on discussing who they tried to shag at the
pub the night before. At this stage the oppo players were confused and thought
that Sparrow was actually umpiring and that he was just holding onto the
bat waiting for the proper opening batsmen to come out to the middle. They
couldn't understand what sort of maniac comes out to open an innings against
young blokes all fired up for blood, with no helmet, no cap, and a shaved head
that resembled Bruce Willis' after he dived off the Nakatomi Tower in 'Diehard'
and crashed head onto into the plate glass windows.
Order was restored and the innings got under way. I
had decided to stand at umpire for the duration of the Nepo innings and push the
batsmen to keep the run rate up, as this had been the Nepo's downfall in the
previous couple of games, where we had fallen just short of the oppo total with
several wickets still in hand. 100 off 20 overs was the first target, which
Nehal and Sparrow duly obliged, scoring 103 off the first 20 overs. At this
stage, with Sparrow still full of beans and so excited that he hadn't been
bowled or had his head taken off by the gun bowlers, did everything he could to
try and run out Nehal (as he does every week). He really thought he was a
With a legion of 5 Nepo Legends on board in the form
of Peter Haley, Philip Challinor, Basher Balden, Tim Hardy and Mr Rik (best
turnout of Legends in the last few years outside of tour) one can only assume
that South Hampstead had decided early on to leave Nehal and Sparrow in to bat,
so as to give them a chance of winning and avoid the indignity of being smashed
to all parts of the ground, having heard about the ferocity of the batting the
Legends presented. With the oppo becoming increasingly dejected and with
constant sideways glances to the pavilion noting that the next three batsmen
padded up were in fact Haley, Challinor and Hardy, they knew the jig was almost
up and defeat was imminent.
Under instructors, the run rate picked up to 7 an
over for the next 15 overs. The end was in sight with just 5 overs to go and
only 27 runs needed - but then suddenly things changed! Both guys at this stage
were flat out on their feet. They had been on the pitch now for almost 6 hours,
with only a short break in between innings. Nehal's exposure to the opulent
delights of tea were now taking it's effect and Sparrow was suddenly feeling
like a Sparrow who'd flown non stop from pole to pole. The run rate alarmingly
went down to 3 on over and South Hampstead were feeling rejuvenated and back in
the game - there was a new bounce in their stride. The opening bowlers were
brought back into the attack and it wasn't looking good for the Nepos, when for
the first time in the match, there was tension in the air.
With almost 6 an over required off the last 5 overs
and not looking likely, along with fading light, were all the Nepo efforts going
to be in vain? Drinks were called by the batsmen just about every over. The
skipper had a 2 litre bottle of water sent out to the crease which was being
devoured at a ferocious rate. Thought was given to getting the hose out like
they did in 'Schindlers List' to the Jews cramped up in the concentration camp
train on their way to the beerfest at Auschwitz. Unfortunately a hose long
enough couldn't be found, so we made do with the bottle. Instead of turning for
the quick singles as he had done earlier, Sparrow was now running the length of
the pitch past the crease at the opposite end, unable to stop, mumbling stuff
about his hamstring, his knees, his ankles, his prostrate and his bank account.
Surely it was not going to end in tears for the Nepos.
Sparrow at this stage was gone, looking like one of
the Thunderbirds and throwing his bat wildly at the quickies, missing virtually
every ball and only giving the close-in fielders a cold. Nehal likewise had
nothing left and was slumped over his bat after each ball. Out of respect, I
offered him a ceremonial Japanese disembowelment Hari Kari knife which I just
happened to have in my pocket, so he could end it all there and then. But he
explained things were a bit tight this month with cash, and he couldn't afford
the undertaker fees at the moment, so he instead chose to bat on, taking the
aerial route to avoid running.
But I can report proudly, the boys dug in deep and
came through. With four required off the last over, Sparrow wisely poked one
round the corner for a single off the first ball then Nehal blasted the second
for 4. The Nepos had won an amazing match. The lads had also set a new Nepotists
'World Record' partnership for any wicket of 236 not out and in great style.
(The previous record being held by Max Walker and Daisy Atkinson of 205, set in
2008). The oppo star studded team walked off the pitch, heads down and with a
new found admiration for the Nepotists, or perhaps it was the complete
humiliation of being thrashed by a bunch of yobbo's, or maybe they simply just
hated our guts - not quite sure. Were we the greatest team they had ever played?
After the winning runs were hit, there were jubilant
celebrations by the two batsmen. With lots of yelps, embracing and bat waving;
high 5's and high 11's (really don't know how they got their big toe's up that
high) followed by 'dry roots' and 'stranded turtle on their back' dances. As
Nehal and Sparrow walked off the pitch with arms over each others shoulders, the
conversation had already turned to the reunion in 10 years at the exact time and
place as today, with their children in tow and anyone remotely related to them.
Unfortunately for those who never got to bat or bowl,
they still had to cough up their 10 quid match fee, which was duly consumed at
the bar. So it really was a two man show at South Hampstead on Sunday and a
truly momentous occasion for all those lucky enough to be present. It will go
down in Nepotists folklore. (Photo
of the two heroes)
COLEMAN UNIFIES WORLD NABA BOXING TITLES
On Thursday night in front of a packed house of 1500 people at the Troxy Theatre in Central London, 28 year old Nepo Kiwi opening bowler Nathan Coleman (photo), continuing his amateur boxing career, unified the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO & WPBF boxing titles into one, surprising all the professional boxers around the world who thought they held these belts, as they had never heard of him. In a tribute to the Nepos, the World Boxing Board has decided rename the titles 'the NABA'.
The featured event of the evening, the super heavyweight contest, was between two human bodies whose frames resembled that of Earth and Jupiter on steroids. With Coleman weighing in at 115kg and 6'10 and his opponent Claus Van Nutjob (or same kind of name like that) coming in at 125kg and 6'4", this certainly was going to be a fight to shake the rafters.
Earlier on in the evening, the Nepo contingent attending the gala event, had got it all wrong as usual with Steve Werren being the only one with proper directions to the venue, leaving his mobile phone at home. After several borrowings of phones from random people at the Troxy and a few calls, eventually all made it inside; except Lukey Sparrow, who after 3 hours in traffic jams travelling down from Bedford to Central London decided to 'can' the idea and return to his nannying duties up North. This in fact was a planned move by the Nepos who had hired 300 Tesco trucks to block the M1 in an attempt to avoid having to sit through Sparrows version of his World Record innings the previous Sunday. Expensive, but well worth it.
Unfortunately, we didn't didn't take into account that Sparrow's lost verbal time instead would be well utilised by Bomber Dale to talk us through his early teenage years, where he claimed he was a bit of a thug himself and a much feared figure by all at the 'St Kilda Scared Of The Dark Centre For 5 Year Olds'. (Note: A new Channel 9 series of 'Underbelly: The Moron Years', based on Bomber, is already in pre production.)
It was now time for the premier event of the evening. As the lights went down around the audience there was a buzz of excitement in the air, which we assumed was the entrance of the two protagonists, but instead was the sight of the 'Mirror' page 3 'Ring Girl' as she paraded the 'round' number across the canvas in a skimpy dress and high heels. What added to the excitement was the huge smile on her face when two blowflies that had snuck in through the backdoor keyhole, mistakenly got lost in her undergarments. The 'blowies' were actually looking for Bomber's throat to carry out the 'hit' they had been paid for.
First into the ring was Van Nutjob shadow boxing to the urban sounds of Eminen's 2002 hit "Without You". Coleman chose to be contrary to the long standing tradition of using inspirational music, by instead entering the ring to that great 'Sound Of Music' classic "High On The Hill Is A Lonely Goat Herd" and jumping up clicking his heels together from side to side. This brought the crowd to their feet, who clapped along to the bouncing ball on the big screen text. (Well maybe he didn't use this song, but that's what I would have done).
The bell rang and the first round was underway. Within the first 30 seconds the contrasting styles of the two boxers was evident. Coleman the classical technician, using his reach to annoy Van Nutjob, was throwing combinations of two to three left handed jabs followed by vicious right crosses to the jaw. Van Nutjob by contrast, was basically a thug who would attack Coleman with Mike Tyson type flurries of left-right combinations trying to unsettle the big Nepo, then stepping back for a breather. Coleman weathered these early attacks by deft footwork and eye pokes (quickly removing his glove when the ref wasn't looking) and took total control of the round which had Van Nutjob swinging wildly in all directions, at one stage knocking out the barmaid working on the first floor. Round 1, 5-3 to Coleman.
Round 2 brought a change of tactics from Van Nutjob, who had come to the realisation that he could not outbox the more technical big Kiwi who was looking sharp and landing punches on target with ease at this stage. Van Nutjob chose spoiler tactics instead. The idea was to neutralise Coleman's long reach advantage and fight in close. He would simply walk straight into Coleman, trying short rabbit punches to the ribs, then clinching on for dear life, thus not allowing Colman any chance to land cross counter punches from a distance. A good tactic by Van Nutjob, who was certainly looking at a hiding had he tried to go 'toe to toe' with Coleman. This did take the excitement out of the round for the large crowd who wanted to see blood flowing off the canvas onto the arena floor, then out the front door where the local starving dogs could be fed. It was a very humanitarian audience in attendance that night. Round 2, 5-4 Coleman.
At this stage, on the first floor in the Nepo box, Bomber Dale was yelling and screaming like an idiot, shadow boxing in sympathy with the guys in the ring. At one point he landed a beautifully placed right uppercut on himself, which brought revelers in the nearby box to fits of laughter. Bomber rubbing his chin and looking bemused, asked Nepo off spinner Nilesh Naidu, who had the misfortune of being seated next to Herr Dale, if he had seen any small people from St Kilda lurking in the background, as they had been after him for the past 20 years and may have finally tracked him down.
During the break between rounds Van Nutjob was breathing heavily while Coleman refused to sit down or take in any water, much to the ire of his 'seconds'. This psychological move forced Van Nutjob to once again review his tactics, as he was surely on a losing path if he maintained his previous methods against the more fitter and composed Coleman. As they stepped out for the third round, Van Nutjob had obviously decided to utilise the rarely used method of continually head butting Coleman's fists in an attempt to injure and wear down the big fella. It has been 30 years since this tactic was last used by 'Clubber' Pogwalski, who eventually ended up as the poster boy for L'Oreal's lucrative 'Face Like A Dropped Pie' product range after his forced retirement in 1980 for being too ugly.
Alas, this manoeuvre failed and it was all over in the third round as Coleman was happy to oblige Van Nutjob with this somewhat bizarre plan. With the fight finished and Van Nutjob humiliated, Coleman was giving it a bit of 'this' and a bit of 'that', then followed with a tribute to his great sporting hero Rocky Balboa by jumping up and freezing motionless in the air, with his right side lip lowered and left arm reaching toward the ceiling uttering the words 'Adrian' several times. The crowd was in tears.
After the fight, we all adjourned to the pub next door to drink free beers provided by Nathan who at this stage had lost total control of his wallet in the euphoria of his achievement. Nobody cared and we were joined by many 'hangers on' who thought Nathan had taken one too many punches and were happy to be part of the winning team.
Nathan had also convinced us all to miss our last tubes home around midnight and party the night away to celebrate this great occasion. We agreed to help the big unit rejoice, but were strangely left on our own as Nathan suddenly disappeared into the darkness with some six foot blonde haired Russian model, both never to be seen again that night. I guess training was now over! With the partying abruptly concluded, the Nepos were thus left to cab and 'night bus' it home - lack of experience.
But it was the big Kiwi's night, who clocked up another victory and remains undefeated at this stage of his career and also heads the Nepo 'punch in face' averages. Another great night for those in attendance. Bring on the next one.
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Reports emerging from the Nepotists’ training camp in Rustenburg suggest Steve Werren has lost the confidence of his players, following a disastrous draw at Valley End on Sunday.
The first-season captain was confronted in the change-rooms following the match by former skipper Dale Atkinson who berated him for selecting three New Zealand nationals in a side that fell two wickets short of victory.
“They’re perennial chokers,” Atkinson is reported to have said of the Kiwis; “everyone knows they haven’t won anything of significance since the ‘87 Rugby World Cup and even that doesn’t count, being played, as it was, by a bunch of kick-and-giggle merchants in the pre-professional era.”
“And what’s with agreeing to a time game anyway?” he added; “the possibility of a draw in a one day match turns the whole game into an un-edifying farce.”
The incident has split the side and turned up the heat on already simmering national tensions within the starting eleven.
Atkinson’s comments drew strong rebuke from Kiwi, Kiat Thoo; “What’s wrong with a draw?” he said; “It’s a great outcome. Nobody loses and you get to celebrate like you’ve just had a win! That’s how we do it in New Zealand.”
Chris Ellegard was quick to back up his countryman; “The only cricket scores we expected to see today were in the goals against column of the All White’s team sheet. Take that Italy!”
Dunedin native, Kinnon Brash, looked somewhat confused before adding; “Cricket? What cricket? I thought we came out here to watch the World Cup match?”
One of the few Englishmen to play in the side, Carl Hoar, made an attempt to unify the warring factions; “I think the thing to remember is that I scored 130 runs today and contributed more than half of the team’s score.” he said, reminding all Antipodeans that more enduring rivalries exist than those involving islands on opposite sides of the Tasman.
Club stalwart, Chris Leckenby, also weighed into the debate; “The spiffing thing about a time game is that there are three possible outcomes. And that doesn’t even take into account the exciting prospect of a tie! By golly it keeps one interested right to the end.” he said, while stroking his pith helmet and ruminating on what colour blazer to wear to this year’s Henley Regatta.
Tim Phillips, who was reportedly playing his final game for the Lime Green and Magenta, was too busy squirreling spring rolls and samosas into his kit “for later on” to comment on proceedings.
Attempts to contain the incident have been confounded by club veterans who have enthusiastically weighed in.
Colin ‘Bomber’ Dale described the Kiwi nation as “stench” before embarking on a forty-minute rant, starting with John Eales’ Bledisloe-winning penalty in 2000 and ended with strong support for the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior.
The Nepotists’ only New Zealand skipper to date, Tim ‘Tum’ Carthew, was quick to respond; “Typical Bomber” he said, “His wife’s a Kiwi. His kids have Kiwi passports. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a closet Kiwi himself. He’s like a gay man hiding behind a wall of rabid homophobia.”
At a hastily arranged press conference on Monday afternoon Atkinson and Werren attempted to douse the fires of controversy.
Reading from a prepared statement Atkinson apologised to his team-mates for the disruption and vowed loyalty to the skipper and the club.
“Steve and I have talked this out,” he said, “and we both agree that with any luck, by this time next week, England and New Zealand will be out of the World Cup.
“Once that happens Steve and I can get on with what
we do best: claiming a measure of personal superiority over our international
friends and acquaintances based on the athletic prowess of our nation’s elite
sportsmen and women.”
The standard response from an Englishman to any sporting success enjoyed by Australia is a claim of cultural superiority. Australia, so the narrative goes, is a frontier outpost devoid of any culture beyond alcoholism, misogyny and an over reliance on sporting achievement as a means of claiming a place on the international stage.
So, what a cathartic experience it was on Monday following the 4-1 demolition of England at the hands of Germany to fork over 20p for the Sun to find Amii, 23 from Birmingham, relegated to page eleven, her splendid breasts coyly cosseted behind ten full-coloured pages of vitriol, spite and self-pity, much of it contained within direct quotes from glassy-eyed larger-louts called Dave. Although, to give Amii and the great British public some credit, the topless model’s insightful criticism of Fifa’s refusal to adopt goal-line technology in the News In Briefs section included a neat quote from Pliny the Elder. Amii is evidently the thinking man’s glamour model.
The thing any Englishman should remember when criticising Australian culture is that we inherited much of it from you. We may be an island but we are not, to grievously misrepresent John Donne’s poem, entire of ourselves. And nor is England for that matter.
A much-ignored fact about the lions on the crest of England is that they actually came to these shores as a result of the Norman conquest of England in 1066. They are, in fact, French. Worse than that they are a symbol of the humiliating defeat of the native peoples of the British Isles at the hands of William the Conqueror – or, more correctly, Guillaume le Conquérant. I draw no conclusions from this - modern Britain is, after all, the result of three-thousand years of conquest - although the fact England’s footballers have been running about with French livery over their heart may go some way toward explaining why they tend to surrender so meekly to German opposition.
But enough about the football. It doesn’t have anything to do with any of us anymore. If nothing else, the World Cup has demonstrated yet again that we, within the Commonwealth, should stick to minority sports which no-one else in the world understands, enjoys or gives a hoot about (can I just take this opportunity to say well done to the England Cricket Board on their recent World Eleven victory over an Australian Barbarians Eleven).
Let’s focus instead on a team that has never once been eliminated from any competition by Germany, lost a shootout to Portugal or conceded a heartbreak-last-minute-penalty to a cheating Italian. Let’s focus on the Nepotists who stormed to victory on Sunday against a very strong Sutton side which wilted in the face of a rambunctious collection of youthful antipodeans and a couple of wise old English heads.
The Nepos got away to a shocking start, slumping to 3 for 15 inside of seven overs. Fortunately, the pulsating brain of Nepotist captain, Steve Werren, had foreseen just such a calamity and had already compensated accordingly. Kiwi cricketers have a national affinity with recovering from top-order collapses and, knowing this, Werren had wisely placed New Zealanders at four, five, seven and eight in the batting order. This piece of Australian tactical genius was directly responsible for the recovery that followed, including a seventh wicket partnership of 97 between Chris Ellegard and Nilesh Naidu (During his innings it was generally agreed that Nilesh bats like David Gower, only less skilfully - nice 45 by the way).
It was mid-way through this sapping partnership that the opposition captain requested tea be taken so his team could watch the second half of the football. Bad idea. His squad returned after forty-five minutes, sullen, disconsolate and less than enthusiastic about the contest. The antipodeans however, somewhat buoyed by the result, took full toll of their dispirited opposition, plundering 103 runs from the last ten overs and setting the opposition 246 for victory.
The knock of the innings belonged to Chris Ellegard whose attempts to become the first Kiwi to score a ton for the Nepotists were brilliantly foiled by Australia’s own Peter Earl. With Ellegard 13 runs short of three figures, Peter managing to shark the strike for the last four balls of the innings. He respectfully straight-batted the second and third deliveries of the over back down the pitch to the bowler before striking the last two for four, just to show Chris how easy it would have been to bring up a ton had he been on strike for all of the last over.
After a quick change-over, the bowling innings was ruthlessly effective, with the Nepotists looking surprisingly sharp in all departments, including wicket celebration, where Tim Phillips managed to goad an opposition batsman into scuffing him with his bat in response to a prolonged roar of self-approval for what Tim would later modestly describe as “a cracking ball… and he knew it too”.
It was the fourth wicket of the innings and a decisive act from the Nepotist’s hyper-enthusiastic man-puppy - one that effectively snuffed out any realistic chance Sutton had of taking the match.
Earlier, Phillips’ opening partner Peter Earl had removed Sutton’s 1 and 3 batsmen, with the other opener sent back to the pavilion, run out by what I can only describe as the finest piece of ground-fielding ever seen. Modesty forbids further disclosure.
Other highlights of the innings included a frankly unbelievable one-handed catch by Chris off his own bowling - a superb cherry on top of a pretty special Sunday for the lanky Kiwi - and the much-underrated bowling of Carl Hoar. Hoar proved a handful and more than made up for a rare failure with the bat, taking the final two wickets of the innings.
The tradition of
rewarding excellence with jeers continued at the Nepotists with the man who
saved us from ignominious defeat voted into the NACA jacket. Well done, Chris.
Well played and welcome to the club.
Sat, 21 Aug 2010
Focus would have been on the game ahead but all the talk, as players, WAGs and elder statesmen (Steve and Pres!) slowly drifted in was of the extra-ordinary and indeed, sub judice, incidents at The Oval on the traditional pre-tour Friday at the Test Match, courtesy of our venerable Chairman, Mister Peter Lennon. Legal proceedings prevent me from discussing the incident in detail, but let’s just say that one of our Founders (he who only plays golf with a six-iron and a putter (ie) Keith Scott) decided to represent the views of many in the crowd to the umpires of the day as bad light called a halt to proceedings. Unfortunately, rather than provide his observations as they left the field, he decided that this was a matter of such national importance that it could only take place behind closed doors – those of the umpires own changing room. In scenes reminiscent of the World Cup where the England players’ security was breached, the long arm of the law was not far away and the rest as they say, is history, or will be when the case is brought before the bench. In the prophetic words of the formerly named Peter “Burglar Bill” Haley, surely no incident on tour could top that!
So, on to the cricket and to what looked, on paper, as a comfortable win for the Nepos but, of course, there were many twists and turns along the way. Skipper Werren elected to bat on the basis that the Nepos still didn’t have 11 players. Player of the weekend Chris Ellegard and David “Rioja” Stocker made a great start getting to 82 off 14 overs before Stocker surrendered after a well made 26. Cue the inevitable batting collapse, but with a neat twist. 5 wickets fell for virtually no runs but not until at least 15 overs had passed the Nepos by. Chris went on to make a terrific 93 losing his wicket just 6 short of a maiden ton. There was some late resistance but even the arrival of Basher Balden could not halt the slide that left the Nepos failing to bat through and reconciled to a very gettable 168 all out.
With the Nepos knowing that nothing short of excellent bowling and fielding would see them through, Ellegard and a fired-up Dick Sutton, having received a first-baller earlier, caused real problems for Nine Bar's batters and a steady fall of wickets followed as a result of accurate bowling and some very un-Nepo like fielding. The aforementioned Peter Haley’s stunning low catch in the gully was a turning point, further catches were held and the wig did not appear until very late in the innings. Cue the Nepos secret weapon as Nine Bar were fighting back and looking threatening once again – the Bomber/Basher combo. Basher plugged away at one end taking 3-48 off his 8 overs and Bomber Dale once again took wickets at regular intervals with a combination of slow straight wobbly ones and his stock wicket taking balls – full bungers and long hops, ending with figures of 3-42 off 8 overs. One of the Nine Bar batsmen astutely put his finger on Bomber’s secret. “I made three decisions on how to hit the ball before it had reached me, I was mentally in bits by the time I had to play the ball”.
Ultimately Nine Bar were mentally finished and were rolled over for 131; another famous Nepos victory that would set up Sunday’s final. Amazingly our two-golf club advisor to the umpires at the Oval failed to secure the NACA in absentia as Bomber Dale was playing – no more needs to be said.
As ever, in preparation for the big final, a massive golf-balling, freezing, Rioja guzzling (thanks Stocker), was had by all as we were right royally entertained by Skipper Werren and his music/comedy routine – excellent entertainment as ever. The night was also topped off by a truly amazing performance by the aforementioned Peter “Burglar Bill” Haley. On fire after his sensational catch he was on a mission to party in Oxford and so he did. Lost by his team-mates at 2.30am in the morning, he decided the sensible option, given he was completely lost, was to drink in the nearest club and walk around Oxford in circles. When it started to rain he decide to do what any of us would have naturally done – go to sleep on top of the nearest wall. Well, the Nepos very own “Humpty Dumpty” had a great fall. Fortunately it was his face that took the fall and there was no more damage than a massive cut to the bridge of his nose and a lack of skin on other parts of his visage. Rescued by an Aussie backpacker who bundled him into a cab, it was Basher Balden who raised the alarm in the morning when observing his team mate lying on a blood soaked sleeping bag in his four-bedroom tent. The good news is that no permanent damage was done and Humpty was soon in full rehearsal mode for his arrival at home later that day “I’m fine darling, just one that leapt off a length and caught me unawares”.
So there you have it – an incident packed Saturday and now let’s go over to Dale “Daisy” Atkinson for his Sunday report…….
Sun, 22 Aug
Anyway, I opened up a word document three hours ago intending to make a start. Since then, the only movement - aside from the cursor’s winking mockery - has come from the delivery of these here paragraphs.
I thought about opening the piece with a re-crafted version of the final two paragraphs of 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald;
Rik Andrew believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded him then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow he will run faster, stretch out his arms farther. . . . And one fine morning – He’ll remember to slide his bat and he won’t be run out.
I dismissed it though. It doesn’t really make any sense and besides, the best bit of re-editing has already been done by the chap who went through the first Harry Potter book replacing the word wand with ‘wang’. Check it out, it’s genius.
No, the ideas just won’t come. So I’ll keep it to the facts, which are that we lost a game which, if we’d batted a bit more sensibly, we would have won.
In the words of Buddy Hayes; “pah”.
We bowled pretty tidily, held some nice catches and restricted the Post Modernists to 224. It would have been a few less if our opening bowlers – Chris Ellegard and Andrew Henville – had benefited from a bit of luck. They beat the bat on numerous occasions but were too good to find an edge.
Mr Rik sent down some useful overs, as did Stoney Robinson who finished the day with a 3-for. Basher Balden took a bit of stick but might have had a better day if the recently married Andrew Henville hadn’t lost the ability to track the trajectory of the lofted ball. This perplexing shift in the behavior of a gifted cricketer can only be put down to his wedding vows, one of which must have been the promise never to put himself beneath the high ball again.
I’d normally be reluctant to point out (in Chook’s case extremely rare) failures in the field – I think we’re all acquainted with my dropped-catch-followed-by-tantrum act – but I currently harbor an over-inflated opinion of my own catching, because on Sunday I took two of the most magnificent catches you’ll never see. You’ll never see them because on both occasions Carl Hoar, who taped every delivery, conspired (I maintain deliberately) to miss what photographer Henri Cartier Bresson calls the “Decisive Moment”. The bastard! Still, Carl’s failure has saved generations of Atkinsons hours of Christmas tedium, because there’s no doubt in my mind that had he captured the events I’d have brought out the footage every year and played it over the top of the Queen’s speech.
The target set by the PM's (225) looked pretty gettable, particularly after Chook Henville and Chris Ellegard worked up an opening stand of 90. However, when Chook’s dismissal – caught behind – was followed shortly after by the run out of Ellegard, the threat of middle-order collapse became very real.
Chris Leckenby did his best to hold back the tide, slashing and nudging his way to 41, but the consistent departure of wickets at the other end put the Nepotist tail under extreme pressure.
Thoo, Hardy and Lennon all came and went and by the time Basher and Werren got out to brilliant catches, the Nepos still required 16 runs from the final 3 overs, with just one wicket in hand.
Stoney Robinson and Rik Andrew reduced the deficit to nine from the final over. 9 from 6 became 8 from 5. 8 from 5 became 8 from 4. 8 from 4 became 7 from 3. 7 from 3 became 5 from 2. A wide ball brought the equation to 4 from 2. And then it happened… Stoney whacked the penultimate delivery to wide long off. The batsmen took off. A single was completed. The batsmen turned for the second. The fielder collected the ball. A limp throw came in from the boundary. Mr Rik, ambling toward the danger end, sensed he was in trouble and accelerated. The bowler collected the ball. Mr Rik made a last despairing lunge. The bowler broke the stumps. Mr Rik placed his bat over the crease. Andrew Henville raised his finger. PM's celebrated. “School boy error” said Mrs Rik.
Nepos lose by two runs.
Juniors coach Mr Rik collets the NACA for the school-by error of failing to ground his bat.
The ugliest trophy in the history of sport goes to the Post Modernists.
There’s always next year.
To-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning –
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
That is all,
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