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Golden Oldies in Cape Town

April 3, 2015

Leader of the Nidderdale Taverners, Sir Thomas “Tommo” Ingilby has commanded me to construct a new blog surrounding the recent Golden Oldies cricket tour to Cape Town. It was at breakfast at the team hotel when the steely eyed knight of the realm fixed me with “that” stare. He had asked if I was still writing my daily commentary on life in general and when I answered in the negative, I had the feeling that the stocks at his home, Ripley Castle, might soon be reopened in order for the writer of this column, an indolent former music business supremo, and representative of the excellent  services of FC Exchange to be suitably admonished. Thus I have retired from retirement in order to report on the tour, and avoid beheading or whatever fate awaits the working class if they deny the wishes of the gentry.

The Nidderdale Taverners group at Newlands, Cape Town

The Nidderdale Taverners group at Newlands, Cape Town

But who am I kidding? If one gets the call, one hardens to action, (can I say that?) much in the way that I was recently called to play cricket for England Over 60’s in Barbados but that is another matter. And so it was that the Nidderdale Taverners, who had last gathered in Adelaide two years ago, met, this time in Cape Town, to do cricket battle once again.

Any cricket team in any country of the world will boast a number of diverse characters amongst their number. Indeed I have played in many teams where the diversity of backgrounds is very marked, but in the Nidderdale Taverners new depths of diversity have been plumbed.  Chippy Northerners, more used to tundra than sunshine, mix uneasily with the aristocracy, judges, solicitors, lecturers and barristers, a music business Svengali, and even a few personalities, some even emanating from the the world of business in the favoured South of England, but as soon as the first beers are poured and the banter begins, the shared love of the greatest game in the world takes hold and all prejudices are put aside, unless, of course, a bantering point can be made.

It is a tradition that misdemeanors on the field of play are subject to a fine and in Adelaide two years ago, Judge John, The Hanging Judge, was appointed (without his consent) to the position of fines master. But so fanatical he became about his new appointment that he acquired a judges wardrobe and held, aptly as we were at that time in Australia, a kangaroo court at which to deal with the litany of indictments. As he was not playing in the first game, it fell to me to become chief snitch and relay details of the various crimes to the judge in readiness for sentence at a hearing before the end of tour dinner.

Judge John, the Hanging Judge

Judge John, the Hanging Judge, with his beautiful assistant clutching a glass of something. Water?

Steve “Chippy” Jackson was the first offender, for running backwards and forward before luckily clinging on to a simple catch one handed. It was a close run thing as to who was most surprised when he saw he had caught the ball, Chippy or the rest of the team. Had he stood still and waited, the ball would have come to him at an easy catching height.

John “Cutter And Slasher” Surtees, so called not just because he was once chief cutter and slasher of the workforce at Yorkshire TV, but also because it describes his batting to a tee, is a wicketkeeper. These are a breed apart as no proper cricketers ever understand why anyone would want to do the job of mopping up after the bowlers. They are curiously touchy about byes, which, those with a knowledge of the game will know are runs scored by the opposing side when the keeper and batsman have both missed the ball. I deemed it a reportable offence when, having fluffed another easy one at a cost of 4 byes, he questioned and ultimately forced the umpire to change his decision to leg byes (which are not considered a black mark against the wicket keeper), and to check the score book afterwards, although it makes absolutely no difference to the team total.

Seals jumping out of the water for fishy titbits in Houts Bay

Seals jumping out of the water for fishy titbits in Houts Bay

It is true that I dropped the only catch of the innings, an edge to first slip of a ball that was going at about 90 miles per hour, a little slower than the straight one I left when batting (it was so quick it broke the stump!) and somehow the Judge was alerted. Other fineable offences included Graham “Scaly” Fish for slide fielding, showing up the rest of us. Mark “Duck Hat” Claydon for not wearing the duck hat (held by the last person on tour to record a nought, and to be worn on all formal occasions) for the team photos. His unseemly celebrations when he was able to hand this over to John “J-Lo” Lodge for coming 9000 miles for a golden duck (out first ball) should not have been overlooked by the court. Then there was John “Ganga” Bradd, so called due to his constant lack of contact with reality. His crimes are extensive; for missing the bus to the organised vineyard day out, going out to bat with two right handed gloves, and being in a permanent state of apparently suspended animation, and Steve “The Absent Leader” Wilson for turning a certain victory into a nail biting finish.  “Ganga” again for claiming in the bar that taking 35 overs to get 35 in a limited overs game was “a measured response” and then there was that Nice Lady Decorator for not noticing her husband had bowled and had got the final wicket. Also Malcolm “The Spinner” Faddy for claiming to be a spinner and not turning a single ball.

Now I must turn to the visit by the team to a party day out at the Groot Constantia vineyard. I wish to draw a discreet veil over proceedings in general but a member of the aristocracy whom I cannot name (but the stunningly beautiful Lady Emma Ingilby will know of whom I speak), was entirely responsible for leading a group of Wags in a serious bout of table dancing. As you can see, I have the photos to prove it and the address of Tatler…

The WAGS get table dancing at Groot Constantia Vineyard day out.

The WAGS get table dancing at Groot Constantia Vineyard day out.

At the team dinner on Wednesday evening news reached me of more transgressions which will have been noted by the Hanging Judge. Disappointed by the lack of catering, our team female aristocracy, as befits her status, sent one of her surfs down to pick up a Macdonalds for herself and the Wags. This lapse in culinary standards will undoubtedly have registered with our resident legislator. Now it is a widely suspected reality of life in South Africa that the police have a reputation for being on the make, and so it was that said surf, team follower Steve “Jaywalker” Gill, was the man charged with this mercy mission, and which resulted in his nickname.  “Jaywalker” was stopped by police and relieved of 50 rand for jaywalking. It was pointed out to him at the dinner that there is no such offence in South Africa, so at the time of writing I am sure the duly appointed legislature will be considering imposing upon him a fine for paying a non existent fine. I think he should also be fined for suggesting that it was unfair that he be fined for a fine, however, fairness is seldom an attribute exhibited by old Hanging.

A huge school of dolphins off the coast of Cape Town

A huge school of dolphins off the coast of Cape Town

Other incidents which will have troubled the Judge included blonde bombshell, Helen “Kiss Me” Hardy,  wife of the considerably less attractive Steve (batting well above his average there) was seen going for a drive with a dishy young member (well comparatively to Steve) of the opposition in a smart Mercedes convertible. Then there was the Judge mentioning that the other team in the bus were a bit reluctant to get off, not realising there was a door in the middle and they were all sitting at the back and the Judge himself again for aiming a kick at a waste paper bin when failing to score in the final game.

However, the most notable crime of the week went unpunished and was committed by a baboon. Sir Thomas, Lady Emma, That Nice Lady Decorator and myself hired a taxi to go to The Cape Of Good Hope, and to see some wildlife such as seals, dolphins, penguins and baboons along the way.

That baboon with baby attached

That baboon with baby attached

The first three of these were witnessed in spectacular fashion but without personal loss, however when it came to the baboon, things changed. Anxious to get a close up shot of the mother and baby clinging to its back, Sir Thomas asked the driver to stop, got out of the car and was taking photographs when the baboon noticed the back window was open. It was in the car in a flash and everyone but my good self bailed out immediately.  I was marooned in the back with with two baboons and, as Sir Thomas remarked later, she took one look at my luxuriant moustache, decided I was a kindred spirit and made off with his aristocratic man bag containing a valuable camera lens.

I am afraid to say that despite the fantastic seals , the school of dolphin and the penguins at Boulder Beach, my abiding memory of the day will be the sight of a Baronet running in the undergrowth after the baboon trying to retrieve his bag.

Sir Thomas eventually imposes himself on the treasonous baboon

Sir Thomas eventually imposes himself on the treasonous baboon

Eventually, having opened the bag and eaten the hand cream (?), and generally making a monkey of everyone, she dropped the bag and order was restored. If there were baboons on the Ripley Estate, I think a vicious cull would now be taking place. Feeling that he might need to understand baboons a little better, I found this one on a market nearby.

A Baronet with a baboon...

A Baronet with a slightly less dangerous baboon…

So next stop for the Nidderdale Taverners will be Barbados in 2017…

Chris France

2 Comments leave one →
  1. DAVID BAUMANN permalink
    April 4, 2015 5:15 pm

    Chris! Good to read you again!  Not quite a weekly blog, but better than nothing! Does that mean that the next one will be in 2017? Incidentally, “Tuffers” was on TV last night saying that he didn’t remember anything about his days playing in Barbados.  Wonder if that is to be repeated?? Best David




    • April 7, 2015 6:16 pm

      Nice of you to comment! I shall try to do occasional blogs as it seems some people miss them. I saw Tuffers in Millers Bar during the Test Match and I am not surprised he remembers nothing!


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