England v Australia at Lord’s, day three – match report

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Ged writes:

I prepared a splendid picnic, though I say so myself, for me and Daisy to enjoy on the Saturday of the Lord’s Ashes Test. Breakfast muffins stuffed with juicy coriander prawns was the centrepiece of the midday feast. The main event, though, was focaccia-wiches, containing Big Al deLarge’s latest discovery of amazing Parma ham. Following a successful use of the latter fare the previous week, when Dave The DJ came round to my place for a guitar/ukulele jam, Daisy was envious as crazy and expected nothing less.

These days, Daisy and I choose to hide from the sun in the “unfashionable but good for priority bookers” front reaches of the Lower Edrich. This time we were surrounded by delightful Middlesex CCC people, many of whom we knew at least by name from the internet radio and website chats in years gone by. It was like an impromptu gathering of the e-clan.

Mid-afternoon, I ventured alone round to the posh side for a pee. As I have reported many times before, you get a better class of floor piss round there. But as I approached the Tavern Stand loo, I saw that Mr Johnny Friendly, who had sent me and Daisy the MCC Rules of Real Tennis only a few weeks previously, was standing in the doorway, engrossed in reading his electronic tablet. It seemed to me, momentarily, that I was always running into Mr Friendly in or near those toilets and that he might mistake my repeated presence as sinister, or perhaps a quest for additional gifts. As he was deeply engrossed and I was sure he hadn’t seen me, I decided to save embarrassment by walking a little further round to the Allen Stand loo instead.

When I got back to our stand and reported my sighting to Daisy, she was most put out. “But supposing Mr Friendly did see you? He would surely see your lack of acknowledgement as a snub – and after he has shown us such kindness in the matter of Real Tennis. Surely the correct etiquette now would be for you to write and apologise profusely to Mr Friendly for your rudeness.”

I said that I thought the correct etiquette in the circumstances would be to forget the whole thing. But, you see, I come from the wrong kind of family and only went a few modest steps up the lower rungs of the social ladder by winning a scholarship to almost the right kind of school. Do not scorn or reproach me, dear reader – pity me.

Daisy was both unsure and upset. “Oh drains to oiky pater and that common, lawn tennis court he built for us. Why couldn’t we have had the real thing, then none of this Mr Friendly dilemma would have happened?”

There was no point consulting the good folk of Middlesex CCC around us. Good, honest, stout yeo-folk to be sure, but not the sort of people equipped to advise us on etiquette paradoxes. Where are the MCC posh boys when you need them?

“I know how we can resolve this dispute,” I said. “Let’s consult Jane Austen…”

… by which I meant the Complete Works of Jane Austen, which we always have to hand on our e-book readers. Unfortunately, Daisy misunderstood me and got straight on the mobile to Jane Austin, sister of the mighty Ian Austin, the greatest all-round cricketer that Baxenden CC, nay, perhaps even the whole of the Ribblesdale League, has ever produced. Daisy asked Jane Austin her etiquette question, listened politely to the answer, said: “Thank you very much indeed,” then put the phone down.

“What did she say?” I asked.

“Art tawkin’ ter me or chewin’ a brick?” said Daisy.

“I think that means she agrees with me,” I concluded.

Send your match reports to king@kingcricket.co.uk. If it’s a professional match, on no account mention the cricket itself. If it’s an amateur match, feel free to go into excruciating detail.


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  1. Taking a rare opportunity to be the person adding an entirely irrelevant comment to the day’s article, there’s been a really noticeable upsurge in spam on this site since the IPL started. Thus far, the filter has remained strong.

  2. These occasional insights into real tennis and the MCC are deeply fascinating. They open up a world that would be otherwise unavailable to the likes of me. Nonetheless, in this instance I do feel that I have something to offer, that being on the thorny matter of etiquette. May I first describe the circumstances as I see them. Mr Friendly might not have seen you. On the other hand, he might have seen you. In the first case, an apology would be confusing and presumptuous. In the second case, a failure on your part to apologise would indeed be seen as a snub, and given the service he has so recently rendered, a serious one at that.

    The dilemma thus stems from your lack of a specific piece of knowledge – whether or not Mr Friendly was aware of you. All your other problems flow from this single wellspring. Therefore, the correct method of resolving the matter would have been to put his awareness of you beyond doubt. Simply walk back to where you saw him, approach him confidently from the front, and head-butt him squarely and violently on the bridge of his nose. At this point he is sure to be aware of your presence, so you can make your apology for not having spoken to him earlier. As an added touch, offer him your kerchief for the bleeding.

  3. The correct approach would have been to pretend that you too were engrossed in an electronic reader. Then if you were noticed to have snubbed the good gentleman it would have forgivable since you both share the same electronic addiction affliction.

  4. If it did indeed happen that Mr Friendly saw you and asked about it, you could always tell him that his (Mr Friendly’s) zip was open and you were always a little unsure of how to act when confronted with cocks. This will ensure that your relation with him is not ruined while maintaining a high standard of etiquette. Jane Austen style.

  5. As requested, I’ve been keeping a tab (of Google Chrome) on Jake Ball, he seems to be doing OK at the moment : 17-4-40-2 against Lancs.

    1. 23-4-57-3 now, although he has so far been unable to topple Liam Livingstone.

      Liam Livingstone should now ‘accidentally’ run out Kyle Jarvis and then do the same to Simon Kerrigan so that he has an infinite First Class average.

      Then he should retire and start a band called Liam Livingstone’s Infinite Average.

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