Far from the MCC

~ Est. in 1998 ~

 

 

“Brewers Droop: Jude Notch Historic Double, Cow Lost in Tent

 

 

Match:  00 / 030

Won by 47 runs

 

 

Team

 

Total

Jude the Obscure

119 - 9

L. Phillips  34,  E. Lester  20

 

The Brewers Troops

72

G. Le Tocq  4 - 9,  A. Mann  2 - 8

 

 

 

 

“That which is once forayed, and found to be not wanting in either outcome or satisfaction derived therefrom, is oft ventured again in expectation of a similarly felicitous result. On this desire for a joyous return are all our best traditions based.”

 

-  Thomas Hardy, Close To The Sane Individual

 

So it was that, in the best tradition of traditions, the Jude The Obscure XI once again made their way south from Oxford towards the coastal havens of Dorset, that county which is itself steeped, nay, pickled, in such vast quantities of tradition. From the enormous distended nob of the chalk Giant on the hillside at Cerne Abbas to the equally upright Hardy’s Monument, which strains violently up from the earth to stand guard over the peaceful village of Martinstown (sadly the monument itself cannot be seen from the village over which it stands guard), there is tradition everywhere.

 

 

Martins3

 

St. Martin’s church is not a pub.

 

The players of Jude the Obscure were not unaware of the small part they had to play in adding to the rich and colourful tapestry of the region’s history and folklore. Leaving Oxford on Friday afternoon in several cars, it was to the Brewer’s Arms in Martinstown that the team was unerringly drawn, as though a giant beer magnet had been at work, directing its rays to the parched throats and palates of the ale-hungry travellers. Tents were pitched by the hardier members of the team, in an almost professional erection display, and by the gracious host, Nigel Sawyer who, it appeared at first sight, had brought with him the entire contents of his house and several others, and thus filled his spacious marquee to the brim with all mod cons and several out of date ones. Meanwhile, the softer, more cosseted members of the team, not wishing in any way to compromise the flabbiness of their souls, sought out the comfort of the local Bed and Breakfast establishment which, by accounts, was luxurious enough to satisfy just about any degree of sloth.

 

Once the full complement of Jude players had arrived - among their number several veterans of the 1999 tour, able and willing to advise the uninitiated how to respond to any quaint or confusing local customs - the partaking of refreshments began in earnest at The Brewers, with several team members appearing to need more refreshing than others. Indeed, there seemed to be a general preoccupation with refreshment throughout dinner and the rest of the evening, which carried on through the weekend, and in fact shows no sign of stopping to this day, despite the tour having finished some weeks ago.

 

But, spurred on by the rejuvenating effects of the local brew, the team faced up to its first sporting challenge of the weekend, and once more the skittles alley became the focus of attention. J. Hoskins, defending his 1999 Southern Counties Skittles crown, faced stout opposition this year from A. Mann and newcomers L. Phillips and “4.1.” Holt. The latter put in an especially good performance, and after 4.1 rounds had averaged 4.1 per ball. L. Phillips averaged 5.2 and won an ‘end’, but A. Mann was the form pony with two wins out of three, and the reign of J. Hoskins looked seriously threatened.

 

 

Martins2

 

This is the pub – the Brewery Arms – but it’s the best picture we have (or found on the internet).

 

The real sport of the evening, however, was yet to begin, and after the pub finally closed, a small crowd gathered outside behind the carpark to watch as several Jude latecomers began a race to erect their tents in the dark while under the influence of copious amounts of beer. According to the rules of the contest, spectators were not permitted to lend a hand, but had to stand back and laugh heartily for several minutes before wandering off to the comfort of their warm and cosy rooms in the bedsit down the road. The winner of this contest has yet to be determined.

 

Saturday saw the sun burning brightly as the clouds scurried, chastened, from the bedomed, azure sky. It was hangovers all round and - for those who had not spent the night loafing in warm beds, flopping lazily to the floor, dragging themselves to the breakfast table and indulgently stuffing their faces with all manner of bloating foodstuffs - there followed a bracing trip into the picturesque seaside town of Weymouth for an early-morning constitutional, a healthy breakfast and some star jumps and push-ups to impress the locals in the town square. Some chose then to travel north to pay homage to the Giant at Cerne Abbas, impressive in many ways, a huge figure outlined in chalk on a steepling hillside. The origins of the mysterious Giant remain obscured by the mists of time, but is thought by some to be the relic of a lost civilisation of extremely tall people who used to lie flat naked on hillsides. Others have conjectured that the Giant is no more than two hundred years old, but what the hell would they know? Whatever the case, the legend goes that having sex on the Giant’s great todger will often lead to orgasm, and in some cases even conception, particularly if people of the opposite sex are involved, but the queue was far too long for any members of The Jude’s party to test this theory out.

 

In any case, the real business of the day was beckoning, and in the early afternoon the team left The Brewers Arms for the cricket field at nearby Little Bredy. Those of the company who had visited this picturesque spot on the previous tour yearned to reacquaint themselves with the beguiling charm of its natural beauty, and likewise those who had only heard tell of this wondrous arena looked forward to their first glimpse of the hidden vale. Neither group was disappointed, for it seemed upon taking the steep and narrow road down into the heart of the valley that time had stopped, that in the intervening twelve months not one blade of sun-bathed grass, not one leaf on any tree, not one stone or cowpat on the hillside had changed. It seemed that all was preserved as it had been, the memory of a summer’s idyll cocooned and ready to burst open anew, to be relived in full on the return of the eager pilgrims, and the coming of the uninitiated, to that magical place.

 

 

Martins1

 

Martinstown, Dorchester. The pub is somewhere.

 

Soon, with both teams arrived and a barrel of beer installed in the dilapidated clubhouse, the game was on. Supporters cheered lazily from the stand, and R. Bestwick took up her pen and sat poised over the scorebook. Jude The Obscure won the toss, and batting first, L. Phillips (34) and A. Mann (9) opened with vigour. But Mann’s off-stump was soon skittled by the Brewers captain, and with J. Hotson (2) and M. Bullock (4) also going cheaply, the innings was evincing signs of wobble. Top-scorer Phillips, however, began to hit out in lusty fashion, striking blows hither and thither, and along with a rejuvenated E. Lester (20), was able to steady the ship and pave the way for Sundries to chime in with a useful 34. B. Mander (0) and the usually rocklike T. Mander (0) fell without scoring, and G. Le Tocq (1) could only manage a single. But C. Norris (8 n.o.) and J. Hoskins (6 n.o.) remained undefeated, with the 1999 Southern Counties Skittles Champion achieving an incredible strike-rate of 200 despite his recent horrific dancing injury. The redoubtable “4.1” Holt scored 4.1 off 4.1 deliveries in 4.1 minutes. Holt said later, “It was my plan to score 4.1, which is my average, so I’m not disappointed. This is only the fourth time I’ve played cricket, give or take point one, so I’ve got to be pleased.” Of the Brewers, P. Thomas (5-18) stood out with a skilled display.

 

The target of 119-9 was not massive, but The Brewers XI had no answer to the Jude attack, and with G. Le Tocq (4-9) and A. Mann (2-8) skittling the upper order, it was left to B. Mander (2-23), all-rounder E. Lester (1-15) and “4.1” Holt (1-4.1) to finish off the brave home side, whose captain provided the only true resistance. But, with the last wicket falling at 72, The Jude had registered a palpable victory, and there was little left to do but return to the pub and get well and truly shitfaced.

 

As the evening wore on and one beer blurred into the next like nothing so much as a very large beer which made everything blurry, the younger and younger-at-heart members of the touring party were straining at the leash, and by ten o’clock were chasing the last bus down the road, accompanied by several of the defeated locals, who like everybody else had vowed to drink themselves into oblivion, but preferred to do so at Harry’s Tea Rooms in Weymouth, where the hot and buttery crumpet remains the favoured choice from the menu.

 

At the Brewers, festivities continued and, liberated by the effects of the local brew, team members felt free to voice their innermost desires, although everyone was so inebriated that no-one could remember the next day what these were. In a terrifying display of skill, “4.1” Holt demonstrated his prowess at the pool table against all-comers, winning 4.1 games on the trot in an average time of 4.1 minutes per game, and in doing so playing several frames with the cue stuck up one nostril. C. Norris, who had lately been informed that she would be captaining the team the next day, had already begun to ponder the difficult decision of what to wear. Should she wear this, or should she wear that? Or perhaps both? It was with such thoughts uppermost in many other team members’ minds as well that they trooped one by one off to bed, either to an invigorating rest at the campsite, exposed to the fresh country air and the subtle and delightful odours of nature, or to sink into a fitful, nightmare-filled slumber in the cloying environment of the Bed and Breakfast establishment down the road.

 

 

38JD0028

 

Library footage of a pint glass (often used on Tour).

 

Sunday morning, and alarm! as the sounds of a distressed cow were heard to emanate from N. Sawyer’s tent. No livestock had been reported lost, yet no other explanation could be found for the plaintive lowing. Such was the width and breadth of the marquee, filled to the brim with all manner of bric-a-brac, that a thorough search revealed no trace of the frantic bovine creature, but when B. Mander at last awoke and emerged from there to greet the day, the noise abruptly ceased. The enigma of the lost cow remains unsolved to this day, and is especially mysterious considering that, in addition, M. Bullock several times reported he had been woken during the night by strange and loud noises in his room in the Bed and Breakfast down the road.

 

With the team assembled, and all members returned from breakfast at Combe Harbour and an impressive show of beach football skills, there was just time before the second fixture to revisit the alley for a last bout of skittles. Eclipsing the reigning champion J. Hoskins, who many observed was still not himself after his recent horrific dancing injury, A. Mann emerged triumphant in a close struggle to claim the 2000 crown, although M. Bullock came near to it, and “4.1” Holt continued his good form with his 4.1 per three balls making him the most consistent player in the history of mankind.

 

The second match took place at the newly refurbished Martinstown C.C. ground which, although unable to compete with Little Bredy in beauteous aspect or in the provision of sensual delights, still impressed with its grand, pristine clubhouse and trim green playing surface, enclosed by clay cutting and reedy stream. Stand-in Jude captain C. Norris, in a delicate little white number, frilly white cricket shirt and pink sports shoes, took charge from the outset and, up against accurate Jude bowling, The Brewers Arms were soon in disarray. J. Hoskins (3-5) and A. Mann (3-18), with support from the pacey G. Le Tocq (2-11) and all-rounder E. Lester (2-11), saw the Brewers innings to a finish at a modest 58 all out. It was left then to “4.1” Holt (4.1) and M. Bullock (3) to lay the foundations for a victory which was sealed by an aggressive show from J. Hoskins (17) and E. Lester (16 n.o.). B. Mander (4) and T. Mander (3 n.o.) also contributed handily.

 

So it was then that once again, as it had been the year before, as it would be the year following, and those to come, one after another, in the best tradition of traditions, the time to leave was nigh. Tents had already been struck, and fond farewells marked the moments before players and hangers-on alike repaired to their cars and began the journey north, Oxford-bound once more. And it might be said that in the leaving, the members of the Jude the Obscure C.C. left behind a better part of themselves, made good by the time they had spent there in Dorset.

 

All in all, it had been a grand weekend, and thanks must go to N. Sawyer, and the manager and staff and players from The Brewers Arms for their kindness and hospitality. The Jude the Obscure C.C. extends an invitation to The Brewers cricket team, the descendants of Thomas Hardy and the people of Dorset and neighbouring Southern Counties, to travel north to Oxford and find perhaps a spiritual wakening of their own, or at the very least, to sample the beer at Jude The Obscure.

 

 

‘Blocker’

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

Statto Scorecards

 

 

 

Jude the Obscure versus The Brewers Troops

Played at Little Bredy, 15 July 2000

 

Jude the Obscure won the toss and elected to bat

Jude the Obscure won by 47 runs

 

Far from the MCC debuts:  none

 

 

00 / 030

 

 

 

 

 

30 over match

 

 

 

Team

Jude the Obscure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#

 

Batsman

How Out

Total

Balls

4s

6s

FOW

1

A. G. Mann

b Ned

9

(12)

1

-

1-13

2

L. Phillips

b Thomas

34

(44)

4

-

4-69

3

J. Hotson

b Ned

2

(11)

-

-

2-22

4

M. Bullock +

lbw b Thomas

4

(25)

-

-

3-51

5

C. Norris

not out

8

(37)

-

-

-

6

E. N. Lester *

b Thomas

20

(34)

2

-

5-95

7

B. J. Mander

c Ned b Thomas

0

(3)

-

-

6-95

8

A. Mander

b Wallace

0

(2)

-

-

7-103

9

G. Le Tocq

c Rhodes b Pearce

1

(7)

-

-

8-107

10

P. Holt

c Ned b Thomas

1

(6)

-

-

9-113

11

J. D. Hoskins

not out

6

(3)

-

-

-

 

Extras

(NB4, W26, B1, LB3)

34

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

(for 9 wickets, 30 overs)

119

 

 

 

 

 

 

#

 

Bowler

Overs

Maidens

Runs

Wkts

 

1

Rhodes

4

0

14

0

 

2

Ned

8

0

32

2

 

3

Pearce

7

0

20

1

 

4

Lewis

2

0

20

0

 

5

Thomas

8

2

18

5

 

6

Wallace

1

0

11

1

 

 

 

 

Team

The Brewers Troops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#

 

Batsman

How Out

Total

Balls

4s

6s

FOW

1

Simon

c and b Mann

2

(14)

-

-

2-6

2

J. Rhodes

b Le Tocq

1

(5)

-

-

1-1

3

Mike +

b Le Tocq

3

(10)

-

-

3-6

4

D. Johnson

st Bullock b B. Mander

6

(13)

-

-

5-28

5

P. Thomas

b Le Tocq

0

(8)

-

-

4-14

6

R. Wallace *

c Bullock b Holt

29

(40)

6

-

7-58

7

G. Pearce

b B. Mander

2

(6)

-

-

6-30

8

G. Harris

not out

4

(26)

-

-

-

9

P. Morris

c Phillips b Lester

14

(21)

2

-

8-66

10

P. Lewis

b Le Tocq

1

(6)

-

-

9-70

11

Ned

lbw b Mann

1

(4)

-

-

10-72

 

Extras

(NB3, W6)

9

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

(all out, 25.1 overs)

72

 

 

 

 

 

 

#

 

Bowler

Overs

Maidens

Runs

Wkts

 

1

Le tocq

7

2

9

4

 

2

Mann

5.1

1

8

2

 

3

B. Mander

3

0

23

2

 

4

Lester

7

1

15

1

 

5

Holt

3

0

8

1

 

 

 

 

 

MOTM:  n/a

Champagne Moment:  n/a

Buffet Award:  B. Mander’s seaside fish n’ chips (with lashings of mayonnaise)

 

 

Opposition:  V017 / 01

Ground:  G007 / 02

Captain:  C001 / 24