25 – Don’t worry he’s obviously s**t, he’s got a huge beard.
These were Billy’s encouraging words, uttered shortly before the hairy Wicked Willows batsman smashed an unbeaten ton against us. Billy’s inspired teamtalks are the stuff of legend, many players have seen their performance improve after being told by their skipper to ‘get keen’. Perhaps his most memorable talk came during a league match at Hunton during the 2004 season.
Duckboy described the exciting scenes that followed in his match report.
“Bilial, overexcited after a glass of Kia Ora during tea, called his troops into a huddle. We all stood there, wondering what wise words our leader would offer us. How would he inspire us? What would his masterplan be? His voice booming, ‘Yes…That’s good. It’s a good start.’ Errr… and that was it. Poirot compared Bilial’s words to those of Henry V at Agincourt (not favourably), while the rest of his teammates started laughing. Bilial, now rechristened Winston (‘We’ll fight them on the beaches, We’ll fight them at Lower Halstow…’) returned to point, mentally preparing his next speech. His teammates now encouraged, desperately tried for another wicket. ‘One more wicket and we get a teamtalk lads…’ Unfortunately it took a long time coming.”
This was also the game in which Robbie Scott got lost leading the convoy to the ground. At one low point he stopped to ask a car for directions. Unfortunately there was no human in the passenger seat, which left a confusing image for those cars following. Leaning out of the passenger seat was a panting dog, tongue flailing, as Barrel appeared to ask him for directions. It’s not clear how we ever found the ground.
24 – Saltwood stars get lost
Those from the ‘Bobby Peacock era’ will remember a few entertaining away trips. On one occasion, Tony Sharpe and Simon Pares decided to lead the way for an away game at Detling. After announcing that they knew where they were going, their teammates following behind were surprised to find Tony and Simon turning off at Ashford. The rest of the team carried on towards Maidstone, while Tony and Simon eventually made it to the ground as the game began.
However, surely the least successful away trip comes from Tom Rice and George Bassant. As the duo set off, blissfully (and typically) unaware of where they were going, they decided to follow King Kenny in the car ahead. Unfortunately Kenny wasn’t playing and had only turned up at Kiln Corner to drop off Lewso junior. As Rice and Bassant headed off towards Lympne they suspected something was wrong, and by the time they had seen Kenny get out of his car and open his front door, the penny really dropped.
23 – Steve you throw like a poof
Psycho has been responsible for many legendary moments at the Wood. Many a cess pit has been destroyed by the great man, but it is not only off the pitch that the Psycho has caused havoc. This particular incident comes from Psycho’s ‘Treasure Island’ phase (when he wore his bandana). Owen Reed was given the dubious honour of keeping wicket for the first and probably only time. After keeping wicket during Gambo’s opening spell, Reed understandably thought that wicketkeeping could not get any harder than this, but then Oakes jnr intervened. Always keen to liven up a game, Oakes suggested to Steve (who was fielding at an increasingly short fine leg) that Owen had told him that ‘you can’t throw properly.’ The hairs on the back of Steve’s neck began to rise. From this point any time the ball went anywhere near Steve, Ninja would shout out ‘Steve you throw like a poof.’ Poor Tractor behind the stumps was taking an absolute beating. Towards the end of the game, Steve was virtually standing on top of him, hurling the ball as hard as he could at the keeper. Initially Owen made some effort and got his hands in the way of a few, but after a while, it was all about self-preservation. As the ball flew in, Owen could be seen ducking for cover and diving out of the way, while Oakes jnr continued to shout ‘throw it Steve… you throw like a poof.’
Owen recalls waking up the next day with his hands bruised completely black.
22 – Gambo bowls in bad light
Any list of funniest moments is likely to feature our resident clown- Gambo. His first entry comes from a game away at Littlebourne during the 2001 season. Before coming on for a second spell, Gambo approached the opposition batsmen and asked them if they minded him coming back onto bowl because the light was bad (and he is bloody quick). Littlebourne were 140 for 0 at the time chasing 170. The batsman hit Gambo’s first ball through mid-wicket (it was short!) for four and within a couple of overs the game was lost.
21 – Classic Scoring
In the bad old days before Barbara, some of the scoring at Saltwood games was erratic to say the least. When Duckboy walked back to the pavilion after one innings he saw that the scoreboard was reading 15 for one. He walked over to the scorers where a very young Lewso was in charge of the book. The score still read 15 for one, but Rice was delighted to discover that he had scored 22 (including a 7!). Lewso was also the scorer on tour, when along with the opposition scorer, he called out to the umpire as the bowler was reaching his delivery stride. ‘This is the seventh ball of the over’ cried the scorers. ‘No it’s not, it’s the first ball of the next over’ came the response from the umpire.
20 – Ian Oakes is hit for four by a one-armed batsman.
Marginally ahead of the moment when Ian was dispatched to the boundary by Birgit, comes Oakes junior’s first entry on the list. Ambling in off a few paces, Oakes forgets to bend his back, and soon finds the ball sailing over his head. A loud cheer goes up from the pavilion. The one armed batsman is soon swaying out of the way as Oakes sends down his customary comeback bouncer
19 – Andy Lewsey breaks Gambo’s stump in the nets.
Waltzing into the nets, a spare bat resting against the back wall, Gamlyn prepares to show the club exactly what he has learnt in the last six months at the Loughborough academy. A few moments later, and the forlorn figure of Gamlyn is kneeling on the floor trying to work out exactly how Lewso managed to snap his leg stump. His teammates offer supportive comments- all they can see is the back of his sweatshirt, with the word ‘Loughborough’ proudly displayed.
18 – The away league game at Rolvenden
A comedy of errors, as Saltwood find themselves contemplating a league walkover. It’s 3.15 and the opposition are nowhere to be seen. A quick check and it becomes clear that the Wood are not actually at home today, but rather are meant to be playing in Rolvenden. After much finger pointing (mainly at Cookie) the team screech up the M20.
Alex Rice has fond memories of the day.
‘I remember sitting in the back of Ian’s car, eating a pile of sandwiches, while Ian complained about his wasted tea.’
When we finally arrived, things didn’t improve. Skipper Rob Crumbie goes out to bat, but is dismissed first ball. Number three, Alex Rice, is still in the pavilion with his jeans on eating a sausage roll. Incredibly the Wood managed to win from this unpromising position, with John Oakes scoring a remarkable hundred. However the biggest drama of the game involved future Saltwood skipper, Will Crumbie (see number 9).
17 – Adam Tumber takes his frustration out on the boundary boards.
After a few missed chances, Leeds Tumber storms down to fine leg. As the over progresses, it is clear that the frustration is too much for the quiz maestro. Unable to comprehend how his team could let him down so much, Tumber begins kicking the white boundary markers. As his fellow seamer, Mark Gamlyn recalls ‘Adam seemed to lose it for a while… Upside sown bouncing of the ceiling…’ The rest of the team laugh, except for Cookie, who had spent the morning setting out the boundary boards
16 – Dave Patel discovers he is playing for both sides.
An embarrassment of riches for Dave. There is the running out of Bob Oakes (Bob arguing at Dave as he refuses to leave his ground), his famous overthrows off Steve Ellyatt at Stone, when Dave took a shy at the stumps despite the fact that the batsman was not only back in his ground, but was actually talking to the umpire with his gloves off. Or what about the game when Saltwood were batting for a draw and Dave was out stumped second ball for six? However the leg spinner’s defining moment came in the clash with local rivals Hythe Green. Saltwood turn up to discover that Dave has agreed to play for both sides. His defence- ‘I didn’t know you were playing each other.’ The stuff of legend.
15 – Gamlyn’s Black armband
Saltwood ‘Star’ (his words not mine) Mark Gamlyn decides to pay his respect to the victims of the American terrorist attacks by wearing a black armband during the friendly match against Stowting. The inevitable comments follow from his entertained teammates, while Gambo struggles to bowl with the tight strap cutting off the blood supply to his arm. Just in case anybody thought that this wasn’t a publicity stunt from the ‘camp’ (my words not his) all-rounder, it should be pointed out that in an earlier game, Mark had walked to the wicket (and back again) with black tape over his pads, after a ‘dispute’ with his sponsors. Understandably they didn’t want their logo showing.
14 – Keith’s Wide
Saltwood players watch on in an amazement as Alex Rice appeals for LBW. The umpire, under extreme pressure, turns down the decision and signals a Wide. He was unavailable for comment after the game.
13 – ‘You’re cool Cookie’
It was a scorching Somerset Summer’s Day and Ian Oakes was being carted to various parts of the county by Rusty, the big hitting Somerset farmer. Acting skipper Will Crumbie controversially calls Geoff Cooke out of the slip cordon, sending him out to long-on to ponder his actions. Geoff, on the back of a large tea, spends the next two hours charging around, fetching the ball for Oakes jnr. When Cookie, breathless and disillusioned finally manages to capture the attention of the power happy skipper, he asks him in sarcastic tones, if he wants him to stay out at ‘cow’. Crumbie, quick as a flash replies. ‘You’re cool Cookie’.
12 – Ian Oakes given out Obstructed the field.
Ian takes up the story.
‘Obstructing the field my arse, some git threw the ball at the stumps and all I did was accidentally put my bat in the way and block it. I was in fear for my life and was very harshly given out by S Bilsland after much protest by the opposition’
Alex Rice offers an alternatively insight into the incident.
‘The match was Kingsnorth away in the KVL if I remember correctly. I was in after Ian…on the way to the middle I asked him how he was out. He simply shrugged his shoulders.’
However that certainly wasn’t the end of the drama, as Oakes jnr recalls:
‘It all came down to the last 2 balls. We needed 8 to win with Steve on strike. He hits a six and Geoff starts a riot by adding 7 to the total score, claiming that he had been one run behind all the time. To avoid bloodshed, we took the extra run off and promptly lost the game.
11 – Classic Kenny
It is hard to pick one moment from almost fifty years of Ken’s Wood career, but surely Ken must be the only person in Wood history to have been run out first ball of the entire match going for a fourth run. Ken’s umpiring also caused the odd moment of high comedy, not least when he famously administered an eleven ball over after forgetting which hands he was moving his coins into. Another glorious moment occurred during the 2004 season when Kenny walked back to the pavilion after a loud appeal for caught behind. During tea the umpire came over to see Ken. ‘I didn’t think you hit that one Kenny.’ Kenny nodded ruefully, ‘I didn’t hit it.’ The surprised umpire turned back, ‘well why did you walk then?’ Kenny smiled, ‘Well they all seemed so certain I hit I didn’t want to disappoint them.’ A true gentleman.
10 – Robbie Scott run out without facing a ball.
The second match of the 2000 tour of Somerset saw Robbie Scott striding out to open the innings with Owen Reed. Scott was understandably keen for a decent bat after sitting out the opening match. In fact up until this point Barrel had spent most of the tour standing around with a note book, gleefully (and harshly- I still maintain there is no such thing as ‘ginger tax’) collecting money in his role as chairman of the fines committee. As he got to the crease, Robbie announced to his opening partner that he would ‘take number two’ in order to allow him to have a look at the bowling and acclimatise to tour conditions.
Robbie takes up the story: “I remember the first ball missing Owen’s bat, clipping the edge of the keepers glove and heading down to 3rd man. I thought easy single and called ‘Yes’. As I ran down the wicket I was focussed on where the ball was going and didn’t look towards Owen until I was a few yards away from the crease. I then saw to my horror Owen practising his forward defence and shouted at him to run, only for him to look up and calmly say “No”. At this point I slammed the brakes on and tried to make the return journey back to the non-striker’s end, which of course failed.’
‘As I stormed back to the pavilion I passed Duckboy and he couldn’t bring himself to even look at me, and then there was everyone else on the sidelines, crying with laughter, trying to dodge my flying bat.’
Duckboy remembers passing Scott on the way to the middle. ‘I tried to say ‘unlucky’, but I couldn’t because I was laughing so much. All I remember is Robbie muttering away about the fine Owen was going to get. I barely saw my first three balls as I had tears of laughter rolling down my face. At the end of the over I looked over to the pavilion to see Robbie writing in his beloved notebook.’
For the record Owen received the maximum fine of £5, although Robbie was also fined for being out first ball of the match, without facing a ball.
9 – FCB and Saltwood controversies.
The image of Will Crumbie chased off a cricket pitch may seem a familiar one for die-hard Wood fans, but the Rolvenden match remains a career defining moment for Crumbie jnr. Before the game Crumbie admitted that the ‘only thing I knew about them was that there was that fish centre that they used to advertise on telly.’ Soon he would remember Rolvenden for entirely different reasons.
‘When I went in, I was pumped and with early wickets gone, I knew I had to work hard. The ball happened and I looked at the fielder. It was low down and I honestly felt he had grounded the ball. I waited for the decision which Cookie eventually gave.
As I walked over, I thought I would mention what I thought to the fielder and then ‘FCB’ came out. I carried on walking oblivious to the rest of the goings on. I got back to the pavilion and whacked my pad hard. Later I realised that he had run after me ready to hit me.’
Crumbie was suitably delighted when the fielder/attacker in question was later dismissed first ball by Mark Howland.
The incident itself may not be funny (legal reasons), but the subsequent disciplinary hearing (in the pub) involving Cookie and Billy remains a classic, comparable to DeNiro and Pacino’s meeting in Heat. As Billy sat apologetically, Cookie read out the letter from the league, complaining that Will had called an opposition person a ‘F** Cheating B*** (and you know it)’. Billy promised to mend his ways, and since then he has avoided all controversy (except of course for the occasion when he screamed at the umpire ‘How can that not be out?’).
The Wood have had their fair share of controversial moments over the years, most of them involving this website. Duckboy was called a ‘bloody idiot’ before a committee meeting, after being threatened with legal action over ‘boot-fair related’ comments made within ‘Saltwood 24’ (now banned, but available in Amsterdam). Duckboy also managed to offend an entire team after writing a report apparently questioning the performance of the opposition team (well they had just lost to us and Gambo got wickets). Despite Duckboy’s gentle and inoffensive comments, this excellent piece of journalism provoked massive controversy. When the team in question turned up to play the Wood in 2004, they all arrived with photocopies of this report to ‘inspire them’. Gloriously Duckboy was away on holiday for this game, and so the opposition vented their frustration out on Gambo. Believing that Gambo was responsible for the report, they spent his entire innings (four minutes- he had to change bats) abusing ‘Loughborough’s finest’ (his words not mine). Despite his continued protests, the opposition sent Gambo on his way, and took great pleasure in beating us. The Saltwood team remained slightly perplexed by the whole affair, blaming Duckboy for their defeat, despite the fact that he was stuck in a tent in the middle of a flooded field.
8 – Rob Crumbie drops his towel
Will Crumbie remembers this incident, simply as ‘Mrs Botting seeing my brother in the nude after a KVL League game.’
Alex Rice recalls the incident in more detail:
‘Rob was one of the few people to use the Saltwood shower. As I recall he was drying himself at the back of the changing room when the door opened. Mrs Botting happened to be walking past and caught sight of a fully naked Rob, and dropped a plate of food ( I think she had been doing teas).’
Rob’s memory of the incident?
‘It was all over very quickly.’
7 – Jayasuriya Jo falls over.
Despite the fact that no ball was bowled, the 1997 six-a side competition will go down with many as the greatest of all tournaments.
The weather had caved in, and the chances of play looked slim. While everyone was huddled outside the pavilion, Tournament organiser, Jo Rice decided to walk out to the middle for a final pitch inspection. Ian Oakes fondly recalls what happened next;
“Jo danced up to the wicket to test the footing, leapt into the air, planted his foot, slipped, and gently fell to the muddy ground in a “mary poppins with umbrella” style. I then tried to humiliate Alex [Rice] by doing a ‘thats your dad that is.’
A muddy Jayasuriya Jo returned to the cheers of the pavilion, while Ian was still grabbing hold of Alex pointing out to anyone that would listen that ‘That’s his Dad’.
The drama had not finished here, as Jayasuriya Jo recalls.
“Firstly I’d like to point out that I didn’t fall gently, the full weight of gravity sent me crashing to the ground. Anyway, after we had called the event off, we discussed the possibility of rearranging the competition for later in the season. A few people suggested the following Saturday, but I thought we left it at that.’
Unfortunately the event couldn’t be rearranged, but one team evidently didn’t realise this, and turned up on the following Saturday, complete with cricket bags, ready to play. Cookie had to break the bad news to them, sending them out of the ground on their long journey back to London.
6 – The great Pasta Theft
It was the quiz night in the village hall, and Billy, Duckboy and George had been preparing food for the event. The trio had made a pasta salad, which they left on the window ledge to cool.
As the event reached the half way mark, Billy wandered into the kitchen to set out all of the food. The pasta salad was nowhere to be seen. As news circulated that the pasta salad was now missing, more and more players moved into the kitchen, looking around for the missing bowl. In a scene reminiscent of the J saga (see number three), Billy began opening up every cupboard frantically looking for the food. Conversation soon turned to speculation, as the clubmen, buoyed by cheap French booze, began to wonder what had happened to this mysterious pasta. As Billy recalls ‘The local rude boys were mentioned. We realised they were having a party a few doors down.’
It was at this point that Steve got invoved. As Billy remembers it, ‘Steve, having had a few shandies thought ‘right’ and went down there. Unfortunately he found nothing and so came back for the second half of the quiz, in time to face a thorough piss-taking from the rest of his teammates.
The mystery remains unsolved, but in an intriguing development, Robbie Scott announced the next morning that as he drove back from Sandling Station he had spotted a group of ‘youngsters’ heading towards the pub with a large plastic bowl.
This is not the only example of food theft involving the Wood. After one away league game, the Wood headed towards the opposition’s local pub. After a while a massive plate of sausage and chips came out, and the opposition skipper told us to tuck in. The Wood players all got up (capsising the garden table in the process) and dived into this feast. A short while later, the opposition skipper reemerged and asked us if we had taken our share of the food. We definitely had. In fact we had polished off the entire plate, having assumed that the opposition had their own massive plate. We nervously nodded over to the opposition skipper and told him we would bring the plate over. There followed some frantic retrieval work, led by Mabbs and ‘Son of Morgan’. There were about four chips left and these were spread out across the plate unconvincingly. Duckboy’s half-eaten sausage was nicked from his plate and put back on the massive plate.
Short of throwing up, we had retrived every shred of food from the table and floor. Jesus fed 5000 with a couple of loaves of Bread, we were trying to turn five chips and one and a half sausages into a meal for 12. It wasn’t going to happen. ‘Son of Morgan’ barely able to move after eating so much, picked up the plate and placed it in the middle of the pub. Mabbs called out to the opposition skipper and thanked them for the food. We then all sped out of the pub, desperately trying to get out before the oppo realised that we had not only nicked six points of them, but also their entire evening meal.
5 – Billy kicking the ball under the sightscreen and Ian’s pair on tour.
There have been a number of classic moments on tour, and many of them have involved barmaids. On the first tour Billy turned down the amorous advances of the local barmaid. She suggested at 4am that there was no point in her making the four mile walk back home, but Billy had other ideas informing her that ‘four miles isn’t that far love.’ This was certainly a relief for the Rice brothers who were sharing a room with Crumbie, particularly Pollock who had been up clearing Howland sick (in his ‘Rice is for Lovers T-Shirt’) late the previous night, while his brother pretended to be asleep. Rilo has also had his fair share of barmaid joy. As a shy 16 year old Rilo made bold moves with Mystique, the 6ft soul singer. He followed this up two years later by asking a barmaid if she would like a ‘Saltwood sandwich.’ His actual words were ‘Excuse me, I’m terribly sorry to disturb you, but I was wondering if you might like a Saltwood sandwich?’ To the annoyance of Gambo, this proved a highly succesful chat up line for the prolific Rilo. For Gambo this was one more set back. While playing pool on the 2000 tour he had acted angrily to the taunts of an opposition team, by throwing down his cue and yelling ‘Just because I’m better looking than all of you.’ It was shortly afterwards that the team in question (the appropriatly named Real Oddies) awarded Gambo the nickname ‘Gayboy.’
For many the funniest tour moment remains the 2000 trip to Cheeky’s. Keen for a ‘boys night out’ a number of the youthful contingent set off to find their own version of Ibiza in Somerset. Jumping into the taxi at 10.30 the wild five had no idea that they would be back stone cold sober within an hour. The mood was good as they approached Cheekys, with Crumbie (who had been there before) telling everyone what a great place it was. The five paid happily their money and began the long walk up the dark dingy steps, as yet unaware that they were entering Hell. Tractor and Gambo led the way, enthusiastically preparing their chat up lines (‘I’m not gay, honest’), while Duckboy, Barrel and Crumbie followed like lost sheep. On entering Cheeky’s, the five found a virtually deserted relic. On a stage was one lone transvestite dancing to what may well have been YMCA. Rice and Crumbie headed towards the bar, looking forward to what now promised to be a considerably more entertaining night than they had expected. Gambo and Reed were appalled. Where were the woman? Where was their little piece of Ibiza? Within ten minutes Rice and Crumbie were dragged from the club, bottles in hand, and off to find another suitable venue. They found Butlins. As they approached, four massive Eric Bristow lookalikes, with hair last seen in the Bundesliga during the 1980s, headed towards the entrance. ‘If they go in, we don’t’ was the unanimous call. They went in, and the five called up their taxi driver, who was slightly surprised to see his 3am booking moved forward by four hours. On returning to their teammates, the five received hours (weeks and years) of abuse, from their very contented pissed teammates, who for some reason were throwing heavy skittle balls at Pollock.
There has also been much comedy on the field during these tours. Who can forget Billy’s superb diving stop to save four runs off Steve’s bowling? Unfortunately as Billy got up, he stumbled and kicked the ball over the boundary. This was bad enough, but the ball then got stuck under the nearby sightscreen. As he crawled on his hands and knees, all that could be heard was Psycho swearing loudly at Crumbie, while Duckboy amongst others had to lie down because he was laughing so much. Oakes jnr remembers ‘Billy chasing the ball to the boundary bendng down to pick it up just inches from the ground and then kicking it over for four. You spaz.’
Billy’s football skills have often been questioned. On one occasion he attempted to claim a run out by kicking the ball at the stumps from a couple of yards. Unfortunately he connected very sweetly, almost killed the keeper as the ball disappeared for four overthrows.
However all of these stories pale into insignificance when placed alongside Ian’s golden tour of 2002. After being dismissed for 0 in the first game, Ian was promoted to open the innings in the next match. ‘I thought I’d get the tour match off to a good start by trying to smash the first ball out of the ground.’ Despite the ball being one of the rankest long hops ever bowled, Ian managed to miss it and so began one of the slowest walks back to the pavilion ever witnessed. For all there at the ground, this remains right up their in classic Oakes dismissals.
4 – Alex Rice hits girl in face and runs
It was a home friendly match and Alex Rice was batting. A juicy half volley was served up, and Pollock drove the ball straight into the air towards mid-off. The fielder hidden there was a young woman/girl who put her hands up towards her face preparing to take the catch. Unfortunately for her the ball disappeared straight through her hands and smashed into her face. The girl fell to the floor, blood pouring from her face. As concerned teammates rushed over to the distressed fielder, Alex Rice offered a loud clear call of ‘Yes’ and set off for what he felt was a comfortable single.
Pollock remembers it slightly differently.
“Firstly, it wasn’t a girl. The unfortunate victim was a fully-grown woman, and had shown while batting that she wasn’t a bad cricketer. I remember driving the ball on the up and middling it, but soon realised it wasn’t going to quite clear the victim at mid off. She tried to catch it in front of her face, but the ball shot through her hands and smashed into her mouth. Relieved at my let-off I called for a quick single – the ball having deflected quite a distance. It was only when I got to the
bowler’s end that I noticed there was a lot of blood. She was shaken and visibly upset, but after declining the second run, I apologised and helped mop up the mess. I believe she made a good recovery.”
Pollock is not the only Wood player to injure female players. Adam Tumber broke the finger of one batswoman, while Morgan Oakes bowled a bouncer at the first female player to face Saltwood. As Oakes junior remembers, ‘He justified it, on the grounds of equality.’
3 – Where’s J?
Will Crumbie was delighted to welcome Saltwood’s newest player to the dressing room before a home friendly. Will was like the proud manager unveiling his new big money signing. Little was known about our new player, but the usual talk went around- ‘so you’re a bit of an all-rounder then… do you have your own whites etc’. The new player seemed particularly quiet, perhaps he was just shy, or even intimidated by the big names at the club. In fact he was so shy that he hadn’t even given us his name. He mumbled something, but all Will picked up was ‘J’.
The Wood won the toss and batted first. Crumbie told ‘J’ that he would be batting at number 8, and all seemed absolutely fine until the fifth wicket went down.
‘Who’s in next?’ asked the skipper.
A quick look over at the scorebook revealed that the next name (or rather letter) in the book was ‘J’.
‘Has he got his pads on?’ Crumbie didn’t seem unduly concerned at this point, but panic soon began to set in, as his calls of ‘mate’ fell unanswered.
Within five minutes, Will was looking behind the pavilion, into the mower shed, and inside the opposition loos. ‘Where’s J?’ Still no answer. By now other teammates had joined the search, entertained by Crumbie’s desperate appeals. ‘J…J…J!!!” A low point came when Crumbie peeled back the shower curtain on the off chance that his number eight may be resting there (fortunately no-one was there). With teammates frantically padding up, Crumbie could still be found lifting up the seats in the dressing room, ‘J?’. The cries grew more desperate, but J was never spotted again. Saltwood played the game with ten men, and J’s remained surely the shortest Saltwood career of all time.
For Crumbie, the story of J still remains a mystery.
‘What happened to him. He was my no.8 and I was keen to get him involved and get him talking. He then just disappeared!! Bloody hilarious but it was his loss… He never even paid his match fees.’
2 – Bob out for 49
Bob ‘Morgan’ Oakes has had more than his fair share of entertaining incidents. As Alex Rice recently commented ‘Bob did seem to play in the sort of games that would make anyone retire.’ This was no exception.
Morgan was coasting towards fifty, when the opposition brought on the sort of bowler you face in your dreams- Black trainers and no discernable ball skills.
Morgan reluctantly takes up the story.
‘In my dotage, I do not appreciate being reminded of my dismissal by the guy wearing black trainers. As you are well aware, at the time I was well in, seeing the ball like the proverbial football and on my way to a well deserved fifty.’
It was at this point that it all went wrong for Bob. The ‘bowler’ (for want of a better word) delivered a ball that very slowly pitched two tracks to Bob’s right. Other players may have taken pity on the bowler and let the umpire signal dead ball, but Bob saw his chance for a fifty. As Morgan remembers ‘I ran across and smashed the ball towards the boundary for a flat six. It was not my fault that the cover fielder put his hands up to his face to protect himself and found he had caught the bloody thing!’ Perhaps Bob could have claimed bump ball, but I suspect that he wanted to get off the pitch as fast as possible. As he took out his mouth guard and walked back past the bowler, teammates congratulated the black-trainered hero (presumably this was his first and last wicket), while Bob’s Wood teammates tried to think of sad thoughts. Anything to stop them laughing. It was all to no avail, as Bob approached the pavilion, the laughter grew stronger, and another classic Oakes dismissal was confirmed.
1 – Yes, No, Yes, No, F*** it!
Those playing at Rumwood on the fateful Sunday, will surely all be in agreement about the number one funniest Saltwood moment, and yes, it is another Oakes dismissal. It was an important KVL league match and Ian Oakes and Richard Owen were batting sensibly in the middle. The tension was growing. Ian takes up the story.
‘As I remember it, Richard made a hash of a leg side full toss and got hit on the foot. The ball made its way down to fine leg and I trotted down for an easy single giving a clear call of “yes”. Richard had other ideas (and to be honest was being a bit pathetic and complaining about his foot).
So I as I reached half way I decided to go back and shouted “no”. Rich chipped in with his own yes no combo and we ended up dancing in the middle not knowing which way to run. As the ball was being thrown in I decided that enough was enough, said “oh fuck it”, and walked back to the pavilion, much to amusement of all concerned.’
Alex Rice, was square leg umpire at the time, and has fond memories of the incident.
‘The main problem was that Richard had been hit on the toe by the delivery and left in some pain. The ball squirted behind but a quick single wasn’t top of his agenda. Ian shouted yes a few times, and Richard replied no – trying to let Ian know that he was injured. It was only when he saw Ian virtually next to him at the crease that he set off, but Ian tried to track back at the same time. They ran up and down the wicket together for what seemed like ages, before Ian stopped, said ‘Fuck It’ and walked to the pavilion.
For Duckboy the crowning moment was Ian’s acceptance that quite frankly, he’d had enough. ‘There was still a good chance for him to get back in his ground, but I just think it was all too much. They’d been running around in the middle of the wicket for what seemed like years. All of us watching from the pavilion were shouting for them to ‘run’ or ‘get back’. It all got pretty desperate.’
Oakes obviously decided that enough was enough, and wanted to walk off with some dignity in tact. To be honest there was little chance of that, and although he initially stormed off, by the time he had reached the pavilion, his teammates were all laughing so much, that none of his complaints about Richard’s running were heard.