Famous for its ducks

Tuesday 3rd April 2012

CLUB cricket is as English as buttered scones and cups of tea. It’s a while since I scored a grass-scorching leg-bye or dropped a stunning catch, but the lads know they can still call on my years of experience should the need arise.

Slimbridge, known more for its wild-fowl conservation than any sporting achievements, is where I played the summer game as a younger man. The poems came later. Here are two:

The Tea Interval

The tea interval
A cricketing ritual
The sandwiches, malt loaf and cake

And, of course, while we’re eating
The Slimbridge team meeting
When we ask, “How long will it take

To get their men out?
They all look quite stout
And fit and healthy and able”

So our heads start to drop
And we find, when they’ve stopped,
They’ve left nothing but crumbs on the table…

Slimbridge C.C.

Slimbridge Cricket Club
Has a long, distinguished history
Of somehow always managing
To snatch defeat from victory

It’s all recorded there
In the pages of those scorebooks
Between the thin green lines
Slimbridge – famous for its ducks

And these were written for a well-known Test Match Special commentator and distinguished guests. I was in a cubicle at BBC Radio Gloucestershire, having to pretend I was there with them in the 5 Live studio.

Colin Croft

Once saw him blast
Out Yorkshire
Yorked for very few
Mostly lbw
Power, accelerator, speed
Now a commentator… indeed
He’s more softly softly
Off the field

Jeff Thomson

Once saw him pick up
Six for forty-six
Four of them bowled
Against the old
Enemy England
I remember
His test best
But, I wonder, did he always wear that vest?

Jonathan Agnew

Up his run-up
At Lord’s in 1984

He started with nought-for-nought
And nobody thought
He’d concede
One hundred and seventy-seven more

Ah! I see that Aggers
Is now looking daggers
Across the studio floor

But for all cricket lovers
When the rain means the covers
We all know what’s next in store

And for stories and chat and who’s who
It has to be said there are very few
As good as Jonathan Philip Agnew





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