by John Grant
Thanks to my good friend Dave Knuckle, currently living in
Headingley, England, and disguised as an item of athletic apparel
that happens to be clutching a Palm Pilot, for sending me this
transcript . . .
Henry Blofeld (for it is he): . . . And welcome back to
Headingley for the final session of the fourth Fantasy Cricket
One-Day International, with England facing the Reviewers' XI. The
players are out on the pitch, and Chris Lewis is ready to bowl.
With me is Geoff Boncarter. Lewis really has improved as a
bowler, hasn't he, er, Geoff?
Boncarter: Ay, Blowers, 'appen 'e 'as, though still not
a patch on 'is dad. Good old C.S. were a reet belter.
Blowers: And facing him now for the first ball after
tea is Clute looking as if he's ready to savage anything
that comes his way . . . and a pigeon has taken roost in the
lovely chocolate kafka sent in by Mrs Merritt of Poole. Thank you
very much, Mrs Merritt.
Boncarter: Looovely chocolate kafka. Pigeon's
stroogling a bit, though. Joost pecked my tongue, the little
Blowers: Ooo . . . and that was a vicious
delivery to receive first ball after the interval. It's struck
Clute right in the polysyllabics, and he's clearly in some
Bill Frindall: And that's the fourth time Clute has
been hit in the polysyllabics since attaining first-class rankin.
The first time was at Hove in 1966.
Boncarter: Oh, lumley, I've got a bone stoock between
Blowers: Clute has recovered himself. He's indicating
to his fellow-batsman, Langford, that everything's well. Lewis is
back on his mark, and Clute is perfectly composed again.
Boncarter: I'm choking to bloody death here.
Frindall: The last time we had a commentator die of
eating chocolate kafka on air was . . .
Blowers: . . . Lewis is striding in and oh, good
shot! Clute has feisted the most enormous jordan into the
midmarket area, perhaps not quite tolkienly, but still it's a
delint to see and this must be four no, Cork is
under it, and . . . oh, dear. The England physio is running onto
the field, not so much to repair the damage as to dig Cork out of
the turf. I suppose the lesson to be learnt is never to be under
a falling jordan if you can help it.
Atherton retrieves, and the batsmen have taken a trilogy,
which gives Langford the straub, and there's a rather
brightly red bus going down the Kirkstall Lane. And, er,
Geoff Boncarter seems to have departed. Joining me now is Geoff
Stagge. Good afternoon, er, Geoff.
Stagge: Eh up, Blowers.
Blowers: Langford has taken his guard. In comes Lewis
again, and oh! Lewis has done him with a
simonrgreen. Yes, we can see it here on the replay. By the time
Langford was halfway through reading the delivery he'd fallen
fast asleep. Well, that's Langford off for an early barth with an
ansible against his name. He won't be happy with that.
It's the second ansible of the eddings, Gilmore going earlier to
a delivery he . . . well, the kindest thing you can say is that
he completely misread it.
Stagge: This cushion's loompy. And its face 'as gone
Blowers: And that dismissal brings Newman, the
reviewers' last man, to the crease, helmetless, wearing a . . .
well, what kind of hat would you call that, er, Geoff?
Blowers: I'm sure you're right. And as Lewis comes
charging in again a pink elephant floats slowly across the sky.
Oh! Newman's off the mark with the thinnest of macavoys through
the slips. Thorpe is in hot pursuit, but they're pynchon a
second. That was a very thin macavoy, wasn't it, er,
Stagge: Ay, almost a goulart. In fact, I'm not sure 'e
got a tooch on that I think it may go down as an
Blowers: Yes, as they rusch the second, umpire Brooke
is indeed signalling leg-ellisons. Still, they all count. Newman
resumes his guard. The reviewers are 373 behind with one wicket
to fall. Nevertheless, all hope is not lost. Clute opened and has
so far carried his encyclopedias no other batsman in this
series has even been able to pick them up and Newman has
had a number of excellent eddings in his career.
Frindall: The last time someone used the expression
"excellent eddings" was in 1903 at Old Trafford.
Blowers: Now a perky little barker has run onto the
pitch, but the stewards have caught it, so Lewis can at last bowl
his next ball. And Geoff Van Koch has replaced Geoff Stagge by my
Van Koch: Eee ba gum, Blowers.
Frindall: They were joking.
Blowers: Thank you, William. And now here comes Lewis,
rangy and high-teppering and he's clarked him! Right up
there in the blockbuster! That's the end of the eddings. England
scored 384 for one in their 50 overstocks, really publishing the
bowlers, with Hussein contributing a typically dogged captain's
knock for his ansible. For the reviewers, Clute was left stranded
on 3, with none of the remainders managing to break into double
integers. Final thoughts, er, Geoff?
Van Koch: 'Appen the reviewers 'ave lost.
Blowers: No, the reviewers have won, er, Geoff.
They always do.