A cricket bat on the wall of a pub

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First published in February 2009, this was the first entry in our long-running cricket bats (and other cricket items) in unusual places feature.

Brian writes:

This account was written on the insistence of my counsellor. He says I have to face what I have done; to see my actions and their consequences for what they are. It is, to the best of my knowledge, true.

I am in Oxford on my holidays. I am surrounded by book readers, deep thinkers and philosophers – my kind of people. We smile at each other as we pass along the ancient streets, happy to be clever. I know for a fact that 87% of Oxford residents actively hate cricket – they did a survey. I am in heaven.

I stroll down North Parade. All is well, yet life is about to get even better. I walk past a lovely looking pub, The Rose and Crown, and hear the unmistakable, heavenly timbre of Paddy McAloon’s voice drifting out onto the street. He is singing: ‘Cowboy Dreams, you give me cowboy dreams.’ He is singing it 120 times better than Jimmy Nail sang it.

I enter and order a pint of Old Hooky. It is as soothing and comforting as the music. The pub is perfect. There is a real fire, books on a shelf and clever people sat at the bar. They have Prefab Sprout on the juke box. This is my kind of place.

And then I spot the cricket bat.

Pinned to the wall.

A cricket bat on the wall

That’s how it starts.

The barkeep notices my eyes glance towards the bat. He is round the bar faster than Mark, Howard and Jason said ‘God, yes,’ when Gary asked if they wanted to give it another go. He takes the bat down and strides towards me. Jesus have mercy on my soul: he is going to talk to me about cricket.

“This,” he says, “was donated to the pub by a lad with the nickname Goochie. Look, he signed it.” He laughs in delight. “And then the real Graham Gooch came in one night and we got him to sign it too!”

Thanks Goochie and Goochie

I remain aloof. Underneath this facade, anger is bubbling.

“Have a hold,” he says. And pushes the bat towards me.

He shoves the bat underneath my nose. “Have a sniff!” he tells me.

Anger envelops me. There is only one thing can happen.

I take the bat from him and emit a roar. I brandish the bat above my head and start with my wanton destruction of the pub. People scatter. Grown men weep in terror. I become more animal than man. Five minutes later it is finished.

I tuck the bat underneath my arm, leave the destroyed pub and go on the hunt. I will find both Goochie and the real Graham Gooch if it is the only thing in life I achieve.

Nobody ruins my holiday. Especially not a cricketer.

I have to stop now. I’m getting angry again and my counsellor tells me that won’t help with parole. It’s lights out in five minutes anyway. Maybe soon I can become calm enough to write down the rest.

Send your pictures of cricket bats and other cricket stuff in unusual places to king@kingcricket.co.uk. Feel free to put the cricket thing in the unusual place yourself.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. How many points do we get if we can write a match report that incorporates an animal being conspicuously different to cricket with a bat in an unusual place?

    Good batting Brian.

  2. An animal being conspicuously different to cricket..

    What are the chances?!

    And you, a sub-editor! Won’t someone think of the children.

  3. If you’re actually at the match, the cricket bat is unlikely to be in a particularly unusual place, but go for it.

  4. I always confuse animals and cricket. I come home sometimes, pat the dog and discover it’s actually the third one-dayer between New Zealand and Bangladesh.

    The difference needs to be conspicuous otherwise i am prone to mistakes.

  5. Okay – now I am a cross sub-editor. He’s nearly as bad as Coren. The little phakker. At least the comments bag him.

    And my comments today are exactly WHY us subs are needed, even if we are not very good at the job.

  6. I am glad that the the events that resulted in my incarceration have provoked a debate about the need for sub-editors.

    It’s people like you that should be holed up here.

    Do any of you ever do any work?

  7. Well D Charlton I would have a very witty comeback but my supervised time is over and I am about to be escorted back to my cell.

    This afternoon I have to attend a class: ‘Painting Feelings and Moods.’


  8. I don’t think I’m allowed in the Rose and Crown any more either, Brian. In a slightly inebriated state, I decided to stand up to make a speech (I don’t know why). At the top of my voice, I managed “I hate Jimma, he’s a c#nt, who’s with me?” before being asked politely to leave.

  9. The middle of the Viv Richards Ground in Antigua looks like being a particularly unusual place to find a cricket bat over the next five days.

  10. String, which year of the Ale Trail was that? You spoke the truth, my friend. Jimma is indeed a hairy kebab.

    I think you’re fairly unlikely to find a bat in Chris Martin’s house.

    Legend has it that the reason he is such an utter pile of sh1te with a bat in his hand is because he never learnt to drive.

    Stick with me here……..this meant he always cycled everywhere to nets in his whites and couldn’t take along pads, gloves, bat etc

    Here is a lesson from the Chris Martin school of batting…


  11. Poor old Chris Martin…

    I’m so much worse at bowling than he is at batting and yet I never get bagged on the internet (at least not about my bowling) or indeed in a weekly segment of the New Zealand Herald.

    Still, he is funny to watch.

  12. Wonderful feature and I also loved the Chris Martin Vid. I learnt how to bat like Chris Martin years ago.

    But despite all my attempts to improve, I don’t get all that much worse.

  13. Beautifully reported, Brian. Ooh I love the Rose and Crown.

    I currently have three cricket bats in my house, a whole heap of cricket books, a couple of balls, an autographed boot, some crickety pictures, and (as of yesterday) a bat mallet, so I hope you don’t mind if I don’t invite you over until The Rage has dissipated.

    1. We couldn’t possibly reveal whether or not it is by the same person. (Except that in failing to say no we have very obviously confirmed that yes, yes it is, of course it is.)

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