Keith Pont benefit match report, Ongar Cricket Club, 1986

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Chas and Nick write:

Back in 1986, sister/auntie Susan worked in public relations for Rhône-Poulenc (now part of Aventis), in Ongar, Essex. She was asked by one of its cricket-loving executives to organise a cricket day for Keith Pont‘s benefit year at Ongar Cricket Club.

It’s worth remembering how popular and funny Keith Pont was with the Essex team and supporters. For example, on one occasion during a county match against Derbyshire, Keith borrowed a bicycle from a supporter and cycled across the ground while fielding for Essex during a major chunk of the Derbyshire innings. (We hope this memory doesn’t break the golden King Cricket rule by describing the cricket from a professional match.)

The match against the Ongar Representative XI was a fun match. The highlight was Graham Gooch bowling in the style of a number of famous international players. The best spoof was Bob Willis style; just with considerably less pace, less talent, less height but more body weight than Willis.

Lunch came around. Susan organised us all to a marquee in the next field.

We were about to enter the marquee when we became aware of ‘The Monster Muncher’ in action. It was the legendary Derek Pringle. He was moving with such speed and determination around the tables we were almost too scared to enter. We were also dazzled by flashing light, which might have come from the jewellery in the Marquee Monster Muncher’s ears.

When we finally plucked up the courage to enter the marquee, we quickly realised the need to establish eye contact in order to regain control of the situation. Pringle gave us a few shifty looks, but eventually we established contact. I (Chas) asked him if he would be long, as there was a queue starting to form outside. He grunted, “just getting a bit of food.”

An unkind rumour did the rounds after lunch, suggesting that a dustbin had been knocked over by the entrance to the marquee and that the Marquee Monster Muncher was seen using the dustbin lid as his plate. We are happy to put the record straight in that regard; Derek Pringle was merely piling it high on a conventional large plate.

Send your match reports to 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. Awesome stuff. Just awesome.

    A couple of things to mention. Firstly, with regard to your concern about mentioning cricket, I think I speak for all of us here that if the rule bans stories of cricketers cycling while fielding, the rule is wrong.

    Secondly, this is a story about the 80s, and cricket was better in the 80s. Let’s be honest, everything was better in the 80s. Test cricket on TV from behind the keeper, a massive R would flash in the corner when there was a replay, everyone knew at least five skiers, and the Bangles were in the charts. Allan Lamb, Robin Smith, David Gower, Phillipe-Henri Edmonds… I could go on.

    So I will. Brian Johnston, CMJ, Viv Richards, Merv the Swerve, Ian Botham, Richie Benaud, Bullseye with Jim Bowen…

    1. If a sportsperson is being paid, and is on a bicycle for part of the duration they are being paid for (this duration being the sole time-frame that the comment is being written about), then I think this counts as professional cycling and not professional cricketing, so is immune to the usual rule on “no reporting of professional cricket”.

      1. Pertinent point, Bailout. In any case, if Pont was sporting a tourer, baker’s bicycle, Grifter or Chopper, this might further blur the issue between amateur and professional cyling on a professional field.

    2. Bring back the flashing R!

      And also mute replays for the benefit of people who’ve left the room to make a brew/get a beer/take a slash.

  2. 1986? Wow. I’m pretty sure I have a Lord’s Taverners program somewhere from round then. I seem to recall being adamant that I should run onto the pitch to get Gill Smith’s autograph. Willie Rushton drew a signed me, local newsreader Mike Neville was so drunk he was red, David Tomlinson was apparently collecting donations, Dr Who’s Frazer Hines was signing alongside Rushton (I cared nothing for Emmerdale Farm) and Tim Rice was also playing. Wish I knew where the damn thing was now…

    1. It seems to me that you are most of the way towards a cracking good KC match report without the help of the programme to trigger your memories, John.

  3. Without wishing to dampen everyone’s enthusiasm for Bert’s liberal attitude to the “breach of the mentioning cricket rule” question, which I applaud in principle…

    …I feel bound to point out that I have been reprimanded at times for, in my view, less serious breaches of the mentioning cricket rule.

    I just feel that it should be a level playing field around here.

    I don’t want to feel that I am being prejudiced against, perhaps on the grounds of ethnicity, social status and/or age.

    While I do, of course, have enormous sympathy for these new Essex boy correspondents and the unfortunate hand that life must have dealt them, I do think the principle of “equal pain for equal work” should apply.

    So I’m hoping this means no more carping when I describe the cricket I played at altitude with sticks and pinecones (for example) or Garry Sobers watching me bowl filth (for another example, not yet writ).

  4. End of Jimmy Anderson – thought that England’s evergreen would have to die first, but apparently not. (Though my incorrectitude is surely good news from his perspective.)

      1. ‘Even in the oft-inflated world of sporting achievement, where people have only to be presented with their dinner to dedicate it to someone or other, this is summat to write home about.’

  5. I thought this was a wind-up at first: “Ryan Sidebottom: Warwickshire sign Australian fast bowler”

    “Sidebottom may have a chance to play against his more famous namesake when Warwickshire meet Yorkshire in their penultimate game, starting at Headingley on 19 September.”

    How many Ryan Sidebottoms are there in the entire UK? Is every single Ryan Sidebottom a professional cricketers? What are the chances of that?

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