(Written 6 Aug 2011)
 
Dear All,
 
Yesterday I had occasion to revisit, as bedtime reading, the cricket match described by A. G. MacDonell in England, Their England (1933).
 
The story is of a fictitious match cobbled together from experiences of a gentleman’s amateur team known as the Invalids. Incidences – not used in the story below – such as the occasion when an opposing batsman had hit a ball high into the air and as six Invalids jostled to get under it their captain (Sir John Squire) yelled out “Leave it to Thompson!” It was only after the ball had thudded into the grass that they remembered Thompson wasn’t playing that week.
 
In this wonderful story the game is played on a perfect day on the Fordenden village green; close by to which was a long bench outside the Three Horseshoes where there sat a row of elderly men, facing a row of pint tankards. One end the field was level for a few yards beyond the wicket but then sloped away rather sharply so that the bowler was visible to the batsman for only the last part of his run-up. A fielder in the deep saw nothing of the game other than the bowler walking back dourly and running ferociously up the hill, and occasionally a ball that had been driven smartly over the brow, in his direction.
 
Here is a fine paragraph:

“All round the cricket field small parties of villagers were patiently waiting for the match to begin – a match against gentlemen from London is an event in the village – and some of them looked as if they had been waiting for a good long time. But they were not impatient. Village folk are seldom impatient. Those whose lives are occupied in combating the eccentricities of God regard as very small beer the eccentricities of man.”

Regards
Jeff

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