When I was told we were going on a stag do I was excited. Well, excited but concerned too, because I was also told it was in Canterbury. I met up with the lads and boarded the train.
We had not seen each other for a few years and although there was more of us around the waist and there were definitely a few of us with less on top, we recognised each other and engaged in the usual childish banter chant of “oi oi saveloy!”.
There was a bloke called Asa, who was a colleague of the groom. He looked at us oddly when he heard the chant. I had never met him so it’s hard to say if he was either fatter or balder than before but he did have one of those continental ‘man bags’ which I found slightly odd. Arriving at Canterbury, Asa, a regular Kent attendee, said we could walk but it would take 20 minutes, so we waited 30 minutes for a cab instead.
The best man knew Simon Cook from his playing days in Hong Kong and he sorted out complimentary tickets. As we were a little late due to waiting for the taxi, we missed Rob Key getting out, but did see him waddle back into the pavilion as we ordered early refreshment. The round was five bitters, two lagers, a Magners and some oriental pish which I think was lager but may have been bitter.
Play stopped as we mounted the stairs to the mortuary that is the members’ pavillion. I think Joe Denly recognised me as someone that played with his dad, which would have been a good spot considering he was six at the time and I was 75 yards away walking up a staircase next to the BBC Kent booth. In truth it was more likely the pink fairy wings we were all wearing.
My mobile phone rang as we went inside and some old hag told me to shut the door in a manner that those liking older dominatrices pay good money for. I suspect she was slightly concerned at eight men with pink wings arriving late into the members’ stand talking nonsense. I spoke to my wife who was checking I hadn’t got drunk already.
Over lunch we ventured to a pub which did food but not of the edible variety, so pints three and four were accompanied by some ready salted and tales of yesteryear in the smokers’ beer garden. In truth, if Canterbury had a Domino’s we would have been set for the afternoon, but one of our other mates who worked in Whitstable had arrived at the ground and we went back to see him and have lunch.
Asa had to leave at 5.30pm because his Dad was picking him up. So four pints, one burger and a pastie later, we were sitting in the members’ stand thanking Cookie for his generosity when the Essex boys emerged from their showers. I said to Maurice Chambers: “What happened to you? You got Keys and then I saw you taking out drinks as 12th man.” He smiled, touched his side and said he had a slight strain and wanted to be fit for Twenty20 finals day. Talk about a shallow excuse for ensuring an IPL audition.
Oh yes and Ravi smelt tather tarty for a player who also never made the field. Sadly I failed to consume a curry or a kebab and got home at 11pm.