DOUGLAS JARDINE HOLOGRAM NEXT REPORT IN FROM ICENI TERRITORY, ANCIENT BRITAIN
One consideration to bear was the reaction of Romano/British crowds. The players would be on a very sticky wicket if the needs of those in attendance were not pandered to. To this end I ensconced myself amongst the crowd at the amphitheatre in Venta Icenorium to watch the gladiatorial combats.
I’ve now had first-hand experience of the behaviour of a Romano/British crowd. I witnessed a deplorable event, so unbelievably childish, that prompted an outburst of hooliganism from the spectators. One of the gladiators had feigned death and as his opponent, the local Iceni lad, turned to accept the plaudits of the crowd, the “dead man” sprang to his feet like Lazarus and decapitated the “winner”. (And the Australians at Adelaide for the 3rd Test in 1932-33 will consider me unsportsmanlike!!!!) It irked the crowd that our “Lazarus” wasn’t disqualified and their headless local boy not declared the winner, albeit posthumously. They wanted it settled by mob law. I refuse to give further oxygen to the owners of these empty heads and brazen lungs by describing any further the heathen actions they adopted.
I was able to conclude that it wouldn’t be a great idea to perform before this sort of mob. Although a step or two up the evolutionary scale compared to Australian crowds they exhibited an unforgiving nature. The Celts would need to show a greater skill level at cricket than previously displayed before being pitched before such a raucous, uncouth audience. I did ask, before the degeneracy held sway, if there were any events staged in the arena that weren’t so fractious. In response to which I was told that on midweeks before the Animal Hunts and Gladiatorial Games a preliminary form of entertainment was staged involving potential entrepreneurs promoting their new business ideas to a panel of hardnosed Roman businessmen in the hope of securing investment, expertise and publicity for their venture. It was called ‘The Hound of Hades’ and it had made its winners successful with their products popular around the vast Roman Empire. I located the quaestor responsible for the local games and put my name down. My idea was cricket. If my pitch was successful it would go a long way to promoting the game swiftly in Roman Britain and my gaining the ascendancy in my battle to win Boudicca over to the concept of reducing major conurbations to The Ashes.
I had to think what would appeal to ‘The Three Heads of Cerberus’ as the trio of Roman businessmen whose favour I needed to enlist to my side were called. I fancied that a display of cricket by my recently recruited Celts could go some way to achieving that objective.
Stumps on Day Three
Tomorrow being a rest day I shall submit my next report at the conclusion of Day Four.