OLD TENISONIANS

Est 1875


The Association of former pupils of Archbishop Tenisons School


Edition No . 27 . Summer 2008.


Editorial:


News from the Sportsground


Football:


Cricket :


Kedders Crap:


And Finally:



Welcome to this issue of the MM, and as the Olympic torch burns brightly in the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, so the OTA equivalent, editing the MM starts its roaming journey in my hands, some 25 years after my last attempt. I remember that Kevin Bagnall followed me into the hot seat all those years ago and took us into redtop territory, (phew what a scorcher from Evans) since his departure, we’ve returned to our comfort zone of the broadsheets under the stewardship of Robert Blewer Esq.

Firstly, on behalf of the association, a massive thanks to Bob who has gone through hell and high water to produce the mumblings over these past thirteen years. Without him most of the members would’ve been in the dark about our little community, Bob has inadvertently created his own little Facebook Empire.

So let’s delve a little about the man behind the words, my first question, who is the real Bob Blewer? Although I’ve known Bob for many years, been away on golf tours a plenty, followed in his footsteps of opening the bowling for the 1stXI. I sort sources closer to my subject for the inside information. My main source, who wished to remain nameless, let’s call him “the magistrate” was keen to set the record straight informing me that Bob does indeed have many secrets that would surprise the association, so as Bob loves a list here are 10 things you may not know about Bob Blewer

1. As a boy, he was a paid member of Southwark cathedral boys choir

2. Bob once marked Malcolm MacDonald out of the game at school or so he claims, Supermac playing for Sloane School at the time, only managed four goals

3. He has been a member of Surrey County Cricket Club since he was lad in Newburn Street.

4. Despite Robert’s intelligence, he was not a massive hit academically at Tension’s, where he took the O in O’level a little too literally

5. One of his first jobs after leaving school at 16 was as a concrete finisher on the notorious North Peckham estate. Of course he’d had no training in the role, but claimed he could to the foreman as it’s paid an extra 6d an hour. Needless to say it was a short career path.

6. Bob is an accomplished piano player.

7. As a jazz lover he’s often to be seen with son Patrick at Ronnie Scott clapping along to the offbeat of someone like Georgia Fame.

8. Bob spent two years working in Abu Dhabi during the 1980’s.

9. He retired from the City at the ripe old age of 46 and now spends his time enjoying the cultural delights of NFT and NT, as well as buying very expensive Jamon from Borough Market.

10. As a teenager he had was a ‘regular visitor to the Streatham Locarno where he’d boogie every Friday and Saturday night away.


News from Motspur Park.


Some of you would have heard that Peter Langford has been unwell recently and spent some time in St Helier hospital, I’m happy to report that he’s very much on the mend, I spoke to Pete during the Olympics and he was saying that Dido was a better swimmer than Michael Phelps and on much less of a breakfast. Peter also reminded me that he had never been correctly given out LBW and could Taff make sure that the opposition kick about ball was back in the refs’ room. He’s hoping to be back to full fitness to resume the busy autumn social calendar that being a senior member of the AFA entails.

For those members who are wondering what is happening with the ground, Alan Baker kindly provided this update.


News from The Sports Ground


Ron Forrest

In the last Motspur Mumblings, we reported the sad news of the sudden death of Ron Forrest, Chairman of the Sports Ground at Motspur Park. Ron’s friends have installed a new clock on the outside of the pavilion to commemorate Ron’s memory. A commemorative plaque has also been placed inside the pavilion. The installation of the new clock was formally recorded during the tea interval of one of the OTA League cricket matches. Bob Blewer, the new Chairman of the Sports Ground, paid a warm tribute to Ron and his important contribution to the Sports Ground. The occasion was attended by Ron’s widow Ann and other members of the family.

Possible Development of the Old Tennis Courts Area

Some of you may have heard talk of the possible development for housing of the part of the sports ground adjacent to Arthur Road (known as the ‘old tennis courts’ and currently used only as an occasional training space). Part of the area under consideration is overgrown scrubland and the total area being considered for development represents only about one-twelfth of the overall area of the sports ground.

The sports ground at Motspur Park is not owned by Archbishop Tenison’s School or by the Old Tenisonians Association. It is owned by an independent charity called the Archbishop Tenison’s School Sports Ground Company.
The Company was set up to purchase the sports ground in 1924. It is run by a combination of representatives of the School and the Old Boys.

In 1999, the Company applied to Merton Council for permission to develop the old tennis court area for housing. The application was firmly rejected in the light of serious local objection and the Council’s policy with regard to the development of “green space”. At that stage, the Company decided not to proceed with an Appeal but it has kept in mind the possibility of developing that area. The proceeds would secure the financial stability of the Sports Ground and would enable significant improvements to be carried out and additional facilities to be provided.

Last year, the Company was approached by a property developer who was interested in making a bid to develop the area. The Company discussed the proposal with the School and the Old Tenisonians Association. The OTA is particularly positive about the proposal. The matter is due to be discussed at the next meeting of the Company’s Management Council in October, following which it is expected that preliminary discussions will begin with Merton Council. If the Company decides to proceed with the development, it will need to take expert advice on the matter and will seek to interest a number of developers in the project. Watch this space!

Improvements to the ‘Ladies’ facilities at Motspur Park

Finally, I am very pleased to report that the Management Council has commissioned improvements to the ‘ladies’ facilities at Motspur Park, which are also part of the School Staff changing area. The toilet area will be completely refurbished over the next few months, including the installation of additional heating. This work has been long overdue, but funds have not previously been available for it. At a recent meeting the Management Council decided to treat this as a priority call on this year’s budget.

Ed: The Sports Ground charity is always glad of the support of its patrons and should you wish to make a donation Alan will be more than happy to hear for you. During our correspondence Alan pointed out this year is a special one for him, a tremendous achievement I’m sure you’ll agree. See below.

“I made my debut for the Old Boys in 1958, while still at School. So this year marks the 50th anniversary of AHB playing cricket, refereeing football and (now) umpiring at Motspur Park. In the words of Albert Chavalier's music hall song: it don't seem a day too much!”


Football


The football season may seem a distant memory to most, especially as the 2008/09 premiership has just kicked off, but I’m delighted to announce that Dickie Turner, the newly appointed 1st XI supremo, in a homage to Tolstoy has provided us with his 2nd instalment of last term’s exploits as manager of a group of talented youngsters and some very fine Polish imports. So get yourself a large drink of whatever you fancy and settle down for an epic read.

Diary of a season – part 2!

So for the couple of you that managed to wade through my diary of the first half of the season – thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the second half commentary.

Economicals – away.
We were the only team that could stop them winning the league and the previous game had been a corker however this wasn’t the game I thought it would be. They were missing players due to the Xmas holidays and so were we. We however were missing one of our key centre halves - Taffy ‘leap like a salmon’ Evans - but I was told by a couple of my youngsters there was no need to worry as one of their flatmates was 6 foot 3 and had played for Leeds University (for those of you that don’t know – one below semi pro standard!) and was keen to play for us. So that made me very happy! And when he turned up I was even happier. He was tall and he looked strong and fit. He even wore a headband like an Argentinean defender! He must be really good. And when the game kicked off my happiness continued for at least 90 seconds until he kicked the ball. And then I realised if he had represented Leeds University at football it must have been the rugby version! I was just sick that I hadn’t watched the warm up as I would certainly have changed the starting line up before kick off. That’s how poor he was. We were playing for the title with 10 men. Luckily our other centre half (my son Michael) realised straight away too and put in a performance to take the breath away. Along with a magnificent midfield performance on and off the ball from Mark Palfrey we mullered them. Unfortunately we couldn’t turn our advantage into goals and with 15 minutes to go we were 2 -1 up but strolling it. Mark then decided to show us why Chelsea chose Jody Morris instead of him when he started getting involved in silliness with one of their hard working but honest midfield players. After some innocent banter Mark went in late to ‘do him’, injured himself and limped off. I then showed why I had never been able to make a career in football management. I foolishly switched my defence around when I should have just replaced Mark with another hard working midfielder. Having played for Kevin ‘never change your defence son’ McCarthy for many years I should really have known better. So my changing formation error was compounded by having no one who could comfortably pass the ball to our own team, which meant that meant we soon conceded the equaliser and in the end clung on for a draw.
I’m sorry to say that the result really knocked us for six and we knew we had blown our chance of being champions. We certainly never reached that high standard in the league again!

We did however manage to carry on winning in the league for the next couple of months and in the middle of the league games we squeezed in an extremely fortunate win in the Olympian cup quarter final against arguably the worst team we had played all season (Fulham Compton IV’s). Why does every team perform hopelessly when they play ridiculously poor teams?

As soon as we had got through the quarter final our league performances went to pot. We all had one eye on the big cup semi final. Thanks to the Internet, we were aware of Teddington’s record so far. Played 14. Won 14. Conceded single figures. Even though they were in the division below us it doesn’t matter what level you play at. If you win every game while hardly conceding you’re a good team.

Olympian cup semi final. Teddington away
What a game. We had the previous week off so I went to see them play away to Fulham Compton in East Sheen (a mile from my house). And what I saw worried me. It took me back 30 years to Sunday morning football. They were all big, strong and very voluble! A couple of them were useful but most of them were just alright, but they certainly knew how to shout and scream. It would be like playing against eleven Terry Smiths! They only won 1 -0 but the oppo didn’t get a shot. I felt that they were too scared to go into the Teddington half. On the day of the game we all turned up early and I was delighted to see that the league had allocated us a top top ref (Pat Morrisey) and two linesmen. I felt that would certainly help us and if they were going to try to intimidate my team at least the playing field would be more even (metaphorically speaking) unlike the actual playing field which was an unbelievable double slope lengthways and sideways and in a really odd position in a public park. I have played at Wormwood Scrubs and Hackney Marshes (That tells you a lot about my playing career!) but never on anything like this. It’s the worst ground I’ve ever seen. We were missing Hugo (Hugs to his chums!) so I asked (begged) chairman and midfield dynamo Glen Cain to come out of retirement and help us. I knew that he would not be intimidated and that he would stick up for my kids. He once played a competitive game in midfield against three club legends (Jonny Moore, Gerry Reardon and Chalkie White (what a midfield they were)) and not only gave a great account of himself but two of them were substituted! He was good enough for me. So even without Hugs we were strong and I felt sure we would win and in particular they wouldn’t be able to control our two forwards Ben and Majek.
We kicked off facing the wind and the slope. We launched the ball forward and within seconds the ball broke to Majek who mishit a shot straight at the keeper. To everyone’s amazement he spilled it and Alistair following up sidefooted it into the net. One up after a minute. Their keeper was useless! The game settled down and they started to get on top.
They were much better than I had given them credit for and they looked as if they had six or seven very useful players. 20mins. Glen Cain goes off injured! Wimp! 30mins. Rare mistake from Taff (not that rare, Ed) letting the ball through his legs – they deservedly equalise. 35mins. we get a corner. The ball comes across and the whistle blows – Penalty! We all look at one another and apparently their centre half has just shoved our centre forward completely off the ball. Unbelievable. That’s what happens when you get a proper Referee. 2 - 1.
Half time. We’re in front but they’re the better team. Michael has hurt his knee in a challenge and couldn’t run. He won’t play again this season. But I ask him to stay on as I don’t trust anyone else enough. What a wicked father I am. Second half. 46mins. A through ball, Michael can’t sprint and they equalize. Have I done the right thing keeping him on? He’s got to start playing with his head now and forget his pace. He needs to play with Kevin (50 trophies for the club and counting) McCarthy for a season! I can’t see anything else but a win for them now. They have a huge presence on the line and I’m right in front of them shouting our boys on. Our supporters on the other side are shouting too but all I can hear is their mob (at least 50 ruffians – god knows what Alistair and Anton are thinking – thank god Hugs isn’t here) baying and shouting for blood – that’s our team’s blood if you’re not sure. The extreme pace of the game is frightening (no wonder Glen bottled it!). The game has at least become more even now and there are no real chances. A few minutes from the end we get a corner and they have been susceptible to a high cross all game. Their defence is not the strongest part of their team. In fact their centre halves although very tall and mouthy are hopeless. Taff and Simon have won the ball cleanly at virtually every attacking corner. They just haven’t directed the ball correctly. Where’s Terry Smith when he’s needed? The ball comes across and this time Simon heads it straight into the net. 3-2 with 5 minutes to go. I’m starting to get slightly concerned at my safety on the line but it’s worth it. My boys are out there fighting for me and standing up to be counted and I’m not going to let the side down. It’s a little strange mouthing off when there are 50 – 100 ruffians and their wives silently watching you with hate in their eyes but I don’t care. The whistle blows and we win. Their manager and secretary refuse to shake my hand and some of their players refuse the handshake on the pitch. This is not Old Boy’s football as we know it. Who cares? I can’t congratulate my players enough. What a performance. They grew up today. Whoever we get in the final won’t be better than this mob.

At this stage I felt we were unbeatable and we won the next few games with a bit to spare. Our final game before the cup final was away to Thorntonians (we’d had a slightly fractious draw with them earlier in the season) and they were vying with us for the runner up spot in the league. As this was all they were going for they took it a little more seriously than we did and unfortunately for us another physical game was marred by our centre forward Ben being carried of with a bad ankle sprain that would mean him missing the cup final. In the previous six weeks Ben and Majek had really started to work as a pair and I was sure that no one at our level would be able to handle them and they were going to win us the cup. We certainly didn’t have a replacement centre forward so I knew we would have to change our 4-4-2 system the following week.

Cup final v Witan. As usual we got to the game late and we were treated to the magnificent sight of their team doing a fitness warm up that would have put a professional side to shame. To a man we stopped and looked in awe at them.
The occasion had definitely got to some of my boys and they looked a little shell shocked as they walked into the dressing room. Unlike our semi final opponents (none of whom looked like athletes – just pub brawlers) this mob were massive and looked as if they had just stepped off the pages of Sports Illustrated. I spent the next ten minutes in the dressing room pointing out that if they were footballers as well as athletes they wouldn’t be playing for Witan III’s in a cup final against our motley crew of posh boys, veterans and chavs. And so it turned out. They were fit and hard working but they didn’t really have any quality about them. I had decided to play 4-5-1 and leave Majek up there on his own which meant a starting position for my captain Richie in the central midfield holding position. The over 50’s in particular, Richie, Taff and the ‘Ponderous Pole’ Adam responded to the occasion by having superb games in front of many club supporters. Once again in a big game I’m not sure we were the better team over the full game but a last minute extra time deflected free kick gave us a 1 -0 win and for us as a team I can honestly say it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of fellas.

After our superb cup win our last few end of season league games were without exception an unmitigated disaster. Loss. Loss. Loss. We were rubbish. Ill-disciplined. No quality. No heart. No interest. I’d like to say that I was innocent in all this but I wasn’t and really I have to take the blame for the disappointing finish. If we had needed to win those games to win the league we would have won them – easily. Instead poor teams worked hard and beat us. My fault. We still finished third but my youngsters needed me to motivate them and manage them at the end and I did neither. My fault.

When our season was over I thought it would be nice to see how good the top Premier teams were compared to our humble fourth team. I’m a personal friend of Meadonians manager Paul (Paddy) Rumley (who also happens to be the league representative manager) and a few months previously I had marked his card about our keeper Rafa. He told me that on my recommendation alone he would consider Rafa for the league team and could he play for Meads first team in their top of the table clash with Albanians in their second to last game of the season? Quite simply if Albanians win they almost certainly win the league. Mid table Meads are 1-0 up with 10 minutes to go but Albanians are putting the pressure on. Rafa’s playing very well but a daisy cutter from 25 yards beats him and goes in off the post and they play out a draw. I’m personally a little disappointed that only half the team tap him up at the end. The next week their regular goalie is back and it’s the same scenario.
Due to Albanians dropping a point the previous week if Aloysians win it’s their title. It’s a good game and Meads are 3-1 up after an hour and the final score is 5–3 to Aloysians.
There’s one thing I’m certain of, if Rafa had played against Aloysians instead of Albanians the premier title would have gone to Albanians and not Aloysians.
One more thing, over those two weeks I saw eight members of the league representative team and we certainly have two players who would grace that team and another two that wouldn’t embarrass themselves.

So that’s all folks. From complete and utter rubbish at the start of the season to the same at the end of the season! We just happened to have some top quality in the middle and the Olympian Cup (Old Tenisonians IV’s are the first club ever to retain this trophy – who’s running the fourths next year?) to show for our season.
Just one more thing. I would like to say a very public thank you to my captain last year, Richie (the shadow) Masterson who always put the team and indeed the club first regardless of his own personal ambitions. Whatever team he decides to help next season will be very lucky team indeed. Thank you mate.

The boys (young and old) did the club and me proud.

Ed: Thanks Dick, however for next season to quote Shakespeare “Brevity is the soul of wit”


Cricket


Thanks to Jim Butcher and Micky Vaughan for providing the news of the cricket season so far


1stXI

The 1st XI is doing well so far this season and is playing some good cricket. The club worked hard after the end of last season to attract some new players and were successful. The 1st XI have picked up some very good players who are also excellent team members. They live reasonably close to the ground and have really strengthened the team. Matt Cawood, Justin Cawood and Brett Greve are from South Africa and fit nicely with Johan Kriek and Laurie Liddiard (also from South Africa). As I write this article, I just hope we level the test series! As you might imagine, we tend to avoid talking too much about rugby in the dressing room!

Turning to the cricket, we have had five outright wins so far which is much better than we have done in recent years. We are well positioned in the league and can compete with all teams with this squad of players. Grant Hubbard has put in some excellent bowling performances, along with James (Reg) Varney (a recent student from the school), Laurie Liddiard, Charlie Hubbard and the Cawoods. Matt is a very reliable left arm spinner, which is a luxury we have not had for some years. I have managed to take a few wickets and was opening the bowling with Grant until sustaining a niggling injury a few weeks ago. Grant pointed out that we must be the oldest opening pair in the league with 101 years between us!
Charlie Hubbard deserves special mention. At 15 years old he has bowled exceptionally well and has also done well with the bat when needed

We have been making scores in excess of 200 most weeks and the runs have been spread around. Graham Butcher hit a brilliant 134 not out against Westfield Saints. They must be sick of the sight of him because he hit 200 not out against them a few years ago! James Butcher and Johan Kriek have done well in most games opening the innings and Matt Cawood has made some solid contributions in the middle order. Nev Perkins has made some starts but has yet to convert a big score (he’s saving the best till last!) and Brett Greve, Justin and the rest of the lads have chipped in as and when necessary.

Alan Baker has umpired most of our games for which I, and the rest of the lads are very grateful. He makes a massive difference and means that the team can concentrate on the cricket.

The wicket has played exceptionally well all season. So much so that it is very difficult to bowl sides out! Opposition teams have commented favourably on the pitch and we are grateful to all concerned for the hard work that has been put in to make such a big improvement.

Kaino and Nev Perkins have worked tirelessly on the bar and have done a great job. The addition of Sky TV has been a bonus. Far more sides put some money behind the bar and stay longer in the clubhouse than in previous years.

Finally, the tea ladies deserve a special mention from me. Teas just happen thanks to their planning and organisation. I am extremely grateful to them all – much appreciated.


2ndXI

During the close season some of the committee, notably Paul and Neil, distributed leaflets around Motspur Park to try and recruit players. This bought some success with the addition of some 1st XI standard players who did indeed strengthen the ones and had a positive knock on effect for the twos. Dez ‘Mr Gilbert’ Emanaus also recruited some players whilst opening their bank accounts.

The 2ndXI benefited from the regular inclusion of John Halsey who batted well all season. His inclusion bolstered the batting and appeared to encourage some of the other players. Neil ‘Oz’ has had a very good season scoring three 50’s at the time of writing. Paul Powell scored a good 78 no in a fine win against Ewhurst. Most of the batsmen chipped in when required and the side scored over 200 on four occasions (at the time of writing) a feat that hasn’t occurred for some time.
One of the new recruits Roland Van Alten offered a boost in the middle order and some extra variation to the bowling attack. Dez developed a wonderful knack of coming on to bowl and taking many vital wickets.

Unfortunately the bowling was not as penetrative as in previous seasons, although the extra pace of Toby Hubbard (playing his first game of the season in July) made quite a difference, although we had to settle with a winning draw against Wandgas. Throughout the season the side has competed much better than last season with everyone giving their best and all the games have been played in a good spirit. Rain has just caused the abandonment of the only game this summer (so far), not bad for the beginning of August. Selection meetings have been much easier this season. All games have been played with a full XI (bar one admin error!) and hopefully this can only improve with more success and some more players joining the club. MV


Golf Day


As those who played in on 23rd May know that it was agreed by popular demand that another day at the same venue would be appropriate this autumn.

I have therefore booked Bletchingley for Friday 24th October on exactly the same terms as in May.

Coffee and Bacon rolls on arrival, one round of golf and a light lunch thereafter of Sausage Egg(s) and chips all for the princely sum of £37.50 each.

There must be 12 players as a minimum so please let me know as soon as possible if you will be coming. Contact Bob Daws at randj_daws@talktalk.net


The good, the bad and the ugly

Taffy Evans contributions to MM are always worth waiting for and the one below is no exception.
Come on, be honest, you’ve all done it! Chanced a sly glance at the person getting changed next to you to see how you measure up. Obviously, in some cases, a sly glance isn’t necessary, as there are those that are more than happy to strut around the dressing room parading their pride and joy. Most are a bit more coy though, covering up as quickly as possible, not wishing to draw attention and attract the inevitable ridicule that’s likely to haunt them for the rest of their days.
I think it’s fair to say that over the years down at Motspur Park, I’ve seen all shapes sizes and colours. Some have made me feel particularly inadequate whilst others have allowed me to puff my chest out with pride. I’ve seen some that are ridiculously hairy and on rare occasions seen some that are totally bereft of any hair whatsoever. Some have gone out of shape due to maltreatment, overuse or simply through a quirk of nature. I’ve seen some with bits hanging off in total disrepair and those that have been obviously well looked after and had a few bob spent on them
Therefore, given that I have over thirty years experience studying this particular field down at Motspur Park, sometimes covertly sometimes not, I think I am well placed to offer my top 10. So here goes
Taff’s guide to the 10 pairs of feet that have made the biggest impact at Old Tenisonians!
1. Smallest – K McCarthy – If there was a foot's award for bravery McCarthy’s would surly receive it, given the heavy burden they need to bare
2. Biggest – John “Coco” Pearce – Enough said
3. Most adaptable – T Evans – Having never bought a pair of boots, my size has varied from a 7 to a 12 depending on what’s been left in the referees room from the previous season
4. Best kept – Richie Masterson – I’ve never actually seen them, but I’m sure they’re immaculate
5. Most creative – M Walton – Obviously not in the footballing sense, but the boy can dance
6. Most flexible – M Booker – Able to contort his right foot into seemingly impossible positions whilst playing left back
7. Most valuable – J Coll – His goal kicks have lengthened the goalkeeping career of T Smith. John please stop!!!
8 9 &10 – Most grotesque/ misshapen – G. Kedney/J Barnes/T Smith
Without doubt, these three have the most disgusting feet it’s been my misfortune to encounter. From the ridiculous bunions of Kedney and Barnes to the black or lack of toenails offered up by Smithy. Please either get them sorted out or join another club!
So there’s my top 10. If there's anyone from a bygone era who you think might warrant a mention, I'm sure the Editor would be more than happy to hear from you. Don't miss the next issue of MM when I will be giving my top 10 cocks
(Can’t believe that Pete Langford’s wonderful bunions missed this list, Ed)


Quiz.

1. What are the middle names of John F Kennedy and Robert F Kennedy?
2. The Victoria Falls is on the border of which two countries?
3. What was the Isle of Dogs formally known as?
4. Which date is the middle of every non-leap year?
5. The word GOLF is an acronym for what?
6. Which famous historical Kings are represented in a Pack of Cards?
7. Which "double All Black' was the batsman who received Trevor Chappell's infamous underarm delivery?
8. What do Leonardo Di Vinci, Frederic Chopin, John Lennon, Marco Polo, JFK and George Best have in common?
9. Which of these cricketers is the odd one out and why? Kevin Pieterson, Andrew Strauss, David Gower, Colin Cowdrey, Mike Denness, Tony Greig, Douglas Jardine, Allan Lamb, Plum Warner, Ted Dexter
10. What caused Oliver Cromwell’s death?


Kedders’ Krap

As I have edited the mumblings before, I realised that it would be extremely unlikely to receive a glut of correspondence to fill the pages, however with a bit of cajoling the various contributors came up trumps. Most people only response when they are provoked, so here goes, these are some of the thoughts from planet Kedney mainly about this wonderful summer of sport that we’re are having this year.

Cry Baby bunting

It all started with the champions league final in Moscow and the penalty shoot-out, firstly we were treated to Ronaldo the slave missing his spot kick and then John Terry walking from the centre circle, straightening his left sleeve and captain’s armband for the camera as he knew that it was his moment of destiny, what he didn’t know is that the vast majority of the country had their JT voodoo dolls out and were sticking pins in his legs and it worked, oh how we laughed. What followed was even better a grown man crying for two days we’re told, Captain Fantastic was/is still inconsolable, while the rest of us were happy. Then to provide the lemon sorbet to clean our collective palates that most loyal of men Nicolas Anelka missed the decisive spot kick and looked liked he’d he was walking his dog for all he cared, there’d be another club mug enough to pay him fifty grand a week to blame his team mates should Chelsea decide to get rid.

Fast forward to August, South Africa have put England are two up with one to play, (England always win the Oval dead rubber by the way) A quiet Sunday morning and Michael Vaughan announced he was resigning as England captain, fair play he did a fine job, but since his knee problems his batting had let him down and despite his reputation he was no Mike Brearley. He resigned with good grace and then suddenly the tears started.
What’s going on with our sportsmen, all these waterworks, nobody is ill injured or worse. The press treated Vaughan kindly, however if my memory serves me well that other famous cricketing crier Kim Hughes, was treated with ridicule in this country when the Australian skipper broke down in tears at The Gabba in November 1984, whilst announcing he was quitting.
Tears of joy can be excused, but the self-pitying nonsense of Terry and Vaughan especially given their privileged position just makes me realise how massive the egos are of our current crop of footballers and cricketers?

Summer of sport

What a magnificent summer of sport we’ve had, I use the term summer merely as a guide to the season we’re in rather than any context of actual weather. Let’s start Euro 2008, a superb tournament that had that rarity, a deserved winner. Spain was head and shoulders above every other team and despite having a disgraceful manager ran out worthy winners. Like most people I watched the tournament on TV and it was pretty poor. ITV’s coverage is never up to scratch, but the BBC also suffered in this department, with the exception of Strachan and Martin O’Neill, we are dished up a group of matey ex-pros pulling teams apart in a patronising manner that they know best, despite having never been anywhere near coaching a team. Glib Gary Lineker, a very poor man’s Des Lynam, ties all this together with ‘Lawro’ providing stereotypical jokes about Swiss cuckoo clocks and German functionality, surely we deserve better.

On the plus side the BBC do cover the Open very well, with a couple of exceptions of course. Glib Gary’s there, this time not so jokey as he’s out of his comfort zone. However, Sam Torrence, Ken Brown, Wayne Grady, Maureen Madill, Paul Eales all add insight and knowledge during the rounds, Nick Faldo provided honesty on the last two mornings. As the drama unfolded on the final nine holes and Harrington produced such wonderful golf I was struck by the lack of awareness of Mr Golf himself, Peter Alliss. I’ve always used to like old Peter. But his time is passed and maybe he should be shipped off to live near ‘old Bert down there in Sidmouth, a lovely old course where Mrs Bert does a lovely cream tea and if you birdie the tricky ninth that overlooks a small cottage that old Bert’s nanny kept chickens and they’d run unto the green as you’d hit your approach, by the way Harrington’s just eagled the 16th, but back to Bert……’ I’m afraid Peter’s from a different era and really he doesn’t cut the mustard anymore old boy, there’s too much Bert and not enough Tiger.

Similarly the BBC does a fine job covering the Wimbledon fortnight and how we were treated to an incredible Men’s final with Nadal and Federer’s unbelievable high quality tennis. Once again the BBC just came up a little short with letting Henman cover the final, when what we could do with is the insight of Boris Becker who was stuck in the studio.


Why employ a champion and then put a nearly man in the hot seat, when we need someone who been there, played and won the final. Still the final overcame all these quibbles with a match of great drama and brilliance.

Moving on to Cricket and I don’t have Sky so my coverage is the short Channel five highlights, which is good enough for what it is, but my main source is Test Match Special. TMS has been a fixture in my life for over thirty years, I grew up with Brian Johnson, Trueman, Trevor Bailey, Christopher Martin Jenkins and Bill Frindall, The best of all was John Arlott with a voice that was just an English summers’ day. When Australia toured we had his equivalent from down under, Alan McGilvray', the voice of ABC when England toured Oz in winter. On TV Richie Benaud was such a joy, the first commentator to provide real insight into what Captains, bowler and batsman were thinking as well as pointing out coaching tips to naïve kids like me. Nowadays TMS is still worth a listen don’t get me wrong, Agnew, has a firm hand to the tiller, but Henry Blofeld and Martin Jenkins are past their best. Blofeld has an Alliss like obsession with buses and their frequency and you get the feeling seeing three double deckers in a row would please him more than someone’s middle stump being uprooted. However the would be replacements are dreadful, TMS is under the influence of Five live, with Arlo White and Simon Mann trying to step up to the plate, they simply talk too much. The pundits are also a mixed bag with Angus Fraser and the sadly departing Mike Selvey the best of the bunch, Boycott provides good insight when he can be drawn away from his own career, but again the Five live influence provide us with Alec Stewart, too partisan and Mike Gatting, too familiar with current players ‘Vaughanie’. Vic Marks tries hard but lack passion, like his playing and Phil Tufnell has been better than expected, but I fear for TMS’ future.

Last but by no means least, we had the Olympics. While I take my hat off to an excellent performance by Great Britain, I have some trouble with some of the sports that contributed to the medal tally. I know no competitive cyclists or sailors, although have a friend who was a competitive rower and played football against a rowing school, Hampton. My niece competes at swimming, but why four strokes? Surely it should be the fastest over 100 meters etc, we don’t have backward running. I know a few amateur boxers and wouldn’t argue with any of them. The football tournament doesn’t work, the crowds are neutral, so besides the hosts, nobody cares who wins, it lacks passion. The Olympics is about the athletics and I’d swap all 47 medals for one of Usain Bolt’s sprint double. While all the medals are worthy the running medals seem more worthy as Orwell may have put it.


Quiz answers
1. Fitzgerald and Francis
2. Zambia and Zimbabwe
3. Stepney Marsh
4. July 2
5. Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden.
6. King David (spades) King Charlemagne (hearts) Julius Caesar (diamonds) and Alexander the Great (clubs)
7. Brian McKechnie
8. All have airports named after them
9. David Gower is the odd one out as all the other listed England cricket captains were not born in England
10. Malaria


Finally I couldn’t let the passing of Humphrey Littleton without a reference or two to his beloved Samantha and a couple of quotes are listed below. He was described as a purveyor of blue-chip filth in one obituary I read.

“As ever, Samantha spent a few hours browsing among the shelves in the singles archive this week, and as a result of a rewarding poke in the country section, she was thrilled to discover a mint condition 7 inch Boxcar Willie.”

“Samantha is looking forward to going out for an ice cream with her Italian gentleman friend. She says she’s looking forward to licking the nuts off a large Neapolitan."

“Samantha has got to go off early to meet an entomologist friend who’s been showing her his collection of winged insects. They’ve already covered his bees and wasps and tonight she’s hoping to go through his flies”

150 Club

March 2008 June 2008

Special £50 - 99 J Pearce Special £50 - 18 N Tonks

1st £25 – 15 M Booker 1st £25 – 39 D C Clark

2nd £15 – 93 C W E Collings 2nd £15 – 96 T Rix

3rd £10 – 3 G B Uglow 3rd £10 – 66 E Mercer

That’s enough of my ramblings, please feel free to comment by emailing me at gkedney@gmail.com and I’ll pass on to next editor or if you’d like to be the next Editor please contact Brian Lester or me.



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