England v South Africa fourth Test match report

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Price writes:

I had taken the Monday off work to allow us to watch some Test Cricket at bargain bucket prices. My Cornish friend who lives in Wiltshire came up on the Sunday. We prayed for rain and the rain duly arrived.

In celebration that we would get some play the next day, we went to the pub, the Alma Tavern, next to Wandsworth Town train station. It is a Young’s pub. Young’s beer always tends to disappoint me.

My Cornish friend told me the news that he has gotten his girlfriend pregnant, so we had some Champagne to celebrate. This pleased me, as I didn’t have to drink any more Young’s.

We then went to a pub in Southwark (the Kings Arms on Roupell street) to meet an old uni friend of ours we hadn’t seen in years. It turns out he has a lot less hair than we remember. Another old uni friend was supposed to come along. He is useless and Spanish, so he didn’t show up.

Upon our return to my flat (kebab in hand), we decided to continue the celebrations, so we opened a bottle of Champagne in my fridge that I had won at a work conference (the best type of work conference) and watched a DVD of “Botham’s Ashes” that my sister had bought me for Christmas.

Upon arrival at the Oval the next morning, I had a very sore head. My mood was worsened by the arrival of an Australian. It was worsened further when I saw the price of a pint of cider.

We found our seats in the OCS stand – with pints of expensive cider in those clever little cardboard 4-pint carrier things – and proceeded to eat mini scotch eggs and mini pork pies. We discussed how the pint glasses informed us that they weren’t made of plastic, but were in fact biodegradable and we marvelled at how our drinking cider was saving the planet.

Someone then started talking about wedding plans, so I started to read the paper. After finishing the paper, I thought about having a nap, but then I realised that the game had reached a premature conclusion, so we left.

On the walk back to Vauxhall station we spied Sir Ian Botham signing photographs for a man. Botham got angry with the man when he produced yet more photos to be signed (presumably to sell on when autographed). Botham told him to do one.

We went up and asked if we could have our photo taken with him. At this point I had a cowboy hat on, which added to the joy. We tried to explain to Ian (we were on first name terms by this point) that we had watched his Ashes DVD the night previously. He was most unimpressed.


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. I bumped into Botham once and asked him if he’d ever watched Botham’s Ashes video, like i did growing up. He said: “I never needed to, i was there.”

    I still can’t work out if this was a great or arrogant reply.

    Top match report Price – two great pubs you found yourself in – particularly the Kings Arms.

  2. It’s rare, but sometimes an answer can be both.

    Someone told me the other day that Coolio had responded to a reference to his song ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ by using the word ‘genius’ with a straight face.

    About HIS OWN SONG.

  3. We’d bet pounds to pork scratchings that Coolio thinks his is genius and Pastime Paradise is merely ‘very good’.

  4. Which is the better side of the pounds / pork scratchings bet? It’s not immediately obvious.

  5. I suppose Price’s useless Spanish friend would have to bet euros to chicharrones. Doesn’t have the same zing somehow

  6. Bothams ashes, always reminds me of when England were very bad, and it rained a lot. As the Beeb always seemed to play it during the rain breaks in my early cricket watching years of the late 80’s onwards. But it has given me some thoughts. Whatever happened to Tony Lewis? And there was always a test match that never played on a sunday, when did that idea stop? and wasn’t it rubbish when they would go to the racing at times instead of staying with the game?

  7. Richie Benaud thinks that Tony Lewis was one of the best commentators ever – he compares the two of them planning a commentary strategy with a batsman planning a batting strategy. I have no idea what that means. I thought you just turned up and talked, or in the case of batting, you just turned up and stood there for a few minutes.

    He was caught swearing on air, so he got sacked. I can’t remember the exact word he used, but it was stronger than bugger.

  8. Didn’t realise there was a hierarchy of swearing strength, Bert. Is there a BBC memo on this in the public domain, so i can then choose my strength of profanity with more accuracy than my current random cussing?

    Top match report, Price.

  9. Of course there is a heirarchy to swearing!

    For example, anything stronger than bugger has to be typed using *s (like P***). Once you get beyond F*** you are aren’t even allowed to use an initial letter as a guide, it has to be @^%&.

    And you aren’t allowed to use Cunt. Ever.

  10. Exemplary match report – not a mention of the cricket, and some good tips for drinking in Wandsworth and Southwark.

  11. On BBC swearing protocol:

    I seem to remember that after Steve Lamacq got in trouble when the Gallagher brothers swore repeatedly on Radio 1 he said that a cunt was worth seven fucks in the guidelines.

    So, you’ve got to be seven times angrier than ‘F-level’ if you want to swap to ‘C-level’. Otherwise you should just repeat fuck up to six times.

  12. On swearing protocols, many thanks all for your advice. I am a better person now for this additional knowledge.

  13. I used to work for the BBC, on their messageboards. One of the happiest days of my life was when we had to update the swear filter. I remember trying to delicately explain to our middle-aged manager what “bukkake” was, and why they probably didn’t want it on the CBeebies board.

  14. Why didn’t Mark Nicholas get into trouble for saying Ch**** on TV the other day? My hopes of not having to keep muting him to save on BP pills were dashed today.

    Don’t sacrilegious profanities score more points?

  15. Ch****?
    Choons?(Like a 90s raver)

    serious. I’m at a loss as to what this is?

    Ahhhh, it’s Christ isn’t it? I’m slow.

    Think that answers your question to a certain degree.

    Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

  16. I still can’t remember what Tony Lewis said to get sacked. He was sat in the host’s chair, wearing a blazer, a tie and a stupid grin, and they were just coming back to the cricket after some horse racing or bowls or something, and he didn’t think he was on air. It was one of those marvellous moments of incongruity, like when you’re eight and your dad calls some other driver a wanker.

    It definitely wasn’t wanker, although that would have been good. A Google search for Tony Lewis Swearing BBC Sacked only brings up this discussion page.

  17. Well we’re duty-bound to provide the answer in that case. Or at least an answer:

    Tony Lewis said “shit stain”.

  18. I guess it’s too much to hope that Tony Lewis was sacked for sitting in the host’s chair wearing ONLY a blazer, a tie and a stupid grin?

  19. funnily enough, there is a Hindi swearword that fits into “Ch****” perfectly, AND it is also part of the “Monkey” soundalike swearword/phrase.

  20. Is that your hope, Sarah, to one day see Tony Lewis sitting in a chair wearing only a blazer, a tie and a stupid grin? It would certainly be a better way to get sacked than simply saying Arsewipe on the BBC.

    Not being adept at computers and the like, I have not attached a link to the image you need. In lieu of this, I have attached a mental link. Here it is:

    tony lewis blazer NAKED FROM THE WAIST DOWN worrying grin chair CHUBBY WHITE THIGHS


  21. *gags*

    Tony Lewis and chubby white thighs??? Ewwww!

    That is a firm “no”, in case I hadn’t made myself clear!

    *prays no-one “helpfully” ‘shops Bert’s image*

  22. EXCELLENT match report. I know exactly what you mean about Youngs beer sometimes being disappointing. Some of it’s very very good indeed, but the normal draft bitters aren’t the best.

    Anyway, all this talk of swearing gets me thinking roman numberals. Or numerals, even.

    Base unit = Idiot (I)
    IIIII = Bugger (B)
    BB = Shit (S)
    SSSSS = Fuck (F)
    FFFFFFF = Cunt (C)

    Anyone want to try some long division?

  23. I clearly remember the incident when Tony Lewis swore. He was not, however, sacked by the BBC or even publicly reprimanded for it.

    The incident took place after he and Geoff Boycott had been discussing the session’s play at a lunch or tea interval, outdoors on a balcony as I recall, although I don’t remember details of the exact match or even the series.

    At the end of their chat, Lewis introduced a viewer’s Catch of the Series competition in which footage of a few catches was played and viewers had to ring in and vote for the best one to try and win a prize.

    Anyway, midway through the footage of the catches there was a technical fault and the on-screen picture froze then started rewinding very quickly. The camera then cut back to Lewis and Boycott, who thought they were off-air, watching the best catches video and subsequent technical problems on a monitor in front of them.

    “For fuck’s sake!” expostulated Lewis in an irritated tone, before the screen suddenly went back to the beginning of the catches competition, which this time played without incident.

    At the end of the video, the camera went back to Lewis to introduce the start of the next session. He said “welcome back, and apologies for those off-the-cuff remarks made earlier” or something very similar. He definitely referred to the swearing as “off-the-cuff remarks”, anyway!

    And apart from a couple of brief mentions in the sports diary columns of the following day’s papers, that was it. I’ve never seen a replay of the incident either, although I have looked for it.

    The funniest thing about it was that it was Tony Lewis, who was so normally so smooth, suave and polite.

  24. I was waiting for a bus today and a cab pulled up and out popped Tony Lewis. I immediately thought of the “Oh for fucks sake” incident and remember the headline in the Sun the next day – “Crickets Tony in four letter telly slip up” – Not quite Freeie Starr ate my hamster. Lucky for him it was 11 o’clock this morning and not after a few beers on a Friday night….

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