The hologram of controversial ‘Bodyline’ England cricket captain Douglas Jardine has made contact with Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni in First Century Britain.
With the weather having seemingly improved in AD 60 Norfolk, The History Maintenance Commission have received a far more substantial report from visiting hologram Douglas Jardine than his initial missive simply telling them that there was no prospect of play that day due to rain. Without further ado, here follows the new report:
Having won the toss I elected to field first. Unsure of the propensity for the ball to swing, in 1st Century Norfolk, I was rather reluctantly inveigled into venturing half-a-crown that it would.
As cricket didn’t exist in this Celtic society, I set myself the most thankless of jobs of establishing the greatest of sports in Ancient Britain. A parlous few of us have sampled a tour down under where all Australians are an uneducated, unruly mob. But compared to these Celts I now live amongst they appear like Oxbridge toffs!
No one would grudge them the honours they have won so deservedly, albeit that their danders are at a low ebb due to the trouncing the Roman tourists have inflicted upon them….reminiscent of the 1930 Australians upon England. But I have observed these things that would need addressing for Boudicca and her followers to gain the ascendancy over their foe, and once they’ve got the bastard down there, to keep them there!
- There Are No Sightscreens – I cannot, myself, see how any combatants can pick out and deal with, with any degree of confidence, any missile headed his way when the delivery is indistinct from its background of fellow combatants and spectators.
- They’re sadly and singularly deficient in arrangements for net practice. Just as many years from now The Battle of Waterloo will be effectively won on the playing fields of Eton, a game of cricket is won by those who devote themselves to practice. The lack of net facilities in 1st Century Britain is appaling. I can count on the fingers of one batting glove the amount of net facilities I have observed and still have enough fingers in reserve to tally the five horsemen of the apocalypse if they should ride by.
- There exists no concept of the term ‘fair play’ and cricket would not exist without this evocation of sportsmanship. This might be legitimately construed, coming from myself, Douglas Jardine, as ‘rather strong meat’ in light of my pursuance of leg-theory to terrorize the Australian batsmen in 1932-33, but it can scarcely be open to doubt that I played within the rules of the game at that time. I played hard but fair. In conversation with Boudicca, it emerged that when she complained about the Romans ignoring her late-husband’s will, no apology was offered, although it had put her at a distinct disadvantage, and to add insult to injury she was then publicly flogged and her daughters were raped. I’m convinced that this would not have been the outcome if the Citizen’s Advice Bureau had been in existence to ensure fair play. Strangely, Boudicca isn’t as outraged as she should be. She even contemplates assisting the Romans with their road management procedures. Once I get her embroiled in cricket with its ethos of battle, service and sporting decency and fairness, it is hoped that she will come to perceive how unfairly she has been treated and will react accordingly.
These are all threads, along with a lack of groundsmen, that need a hand to fashion them into a composite fabric. If the cogs work then the machine works. A new set of values are formed. By promoting cricket and all its inherent merits I will be instilling the Celts with the mettle to prove themselves worthy foemen of their Roman oppressors.
I was able to persuade Boudicca and the Celts to adopt cricket, although initially they appeared to be curiously disinclined after my preliminary overture, but they soon fell victim to the allure of the sport as I regaled them with tales from fields and pavilions all over the world. It wasn’t too long before they were donned in whatever white material they had at their disposal, although they still preferred to use blue woad as sunblock.
The sporting of whites attracted the unwanted attention of a couple of Druids. Just like fast bowlers and Jehovah’s Witnesses they hunt in pairs. They objected to the use of white in the cricket attire as it is sacred to the Druids and so we then conducted our training sessions in secret locations to avoid the dreaded “pair”.
Boudicca, herself, is a magnet for laurels. She has proved to be a capable fielder and a magician with the ball (an improvised cherry constructed from waffle, horse sung, thread and blood….had any captain presented this to an umpire at Trent Bridge it would’ve been changed without hesitation!
During an adjournment for lunch, Boudicca asked me to elaborate upon the visit to England of the 1930 Australians and I do not think I am opening any Bluebird’s cupboard if I state that it is easier and more expeditious to act autocratically in how I then dealt with the threat posed by the brilliant batsman Don Bradman for the tour down under of 1932-33. Boudicca was impressed by my clinical application of leg-theory and I could sense that she possessed the nous to employ such tactics if it ever came to battle. She also considered it a tad unfair that there were 1930 Australians pitted against just eleven Englishmen!
After a day of practice I have to say that the Celts who participated won their spurs worthily. The quality was no mean advertisement for its organiser, namely myself. It is easy to be hypercritical but these people had had no knowledge of cricket until the moment I was, quite literally, projected into their lives, but they took it wholeheartedly and justified the faith reposed in them.
END OF THE DAY’S PLAY