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Cricket for Aliens

by John Grant

Thanks to my good friend Dave Knuckle, currently living in Headingley, England, and disguised as an item of athletic apparel that happens to be clutching a Palm Pilot, for sending me this transcript . . .

Henry Blofeld (for it is he): . . . And welcome back to Headingley for the final session of the fourth Fantasy Cricket One-Day International, with England facing the Reviewers' XI. The players are out on the pitch, and Chris Lewis is ready to bowl. With me is Geoff Boncarter. Lewis really has improved as a bowler, hasn't he, er, Geoff?

Boncarter: Ay, Blowers, 'appen 'e 'as, though still not a patch on 'is dad. Good old C.S. were a reet belter.

Blowers: And facing him now for the first ball after tea is Clute — looking as if he's ready to savage anything that comes his way . . . and a pigeon has taken roost in the lovely chocolate kafka sent in by Mrs Merritt of Poole. Thank you very much, Mrs Merritt.

Boncarter: Looovely chocolate kafka. Pigeon's stroogling a bit, though. Joost pecked my tongue, the little bastard.

Blowers: Ooo . . . and that was a vicious delivery to receive first ball after the interval. It's struck Clute right in the polysyllabics, and he's clearly in some pain.

Bill Frindall: And that's the fourth time Clute has been hit in the polysyllabics since attaining first-class rankin. The first time was at Hove in 1966.

Boncarter: Oh, lumley, I've got a bone stoock between my teeth.

Blowers: Clute has recovered himself. He's indicating to his fellow-batsman, Langford, that everything's well. Lewis is back on his mark, and Clute is perfectly composed again.

Boncarter: I'm choking to bloody death here.

Frindall: The last time we had a commentator die of eating chocolate kafka on air was . . .

Boncarter: Aaargh.

Blowers: . . . Lewis is striding in and — oh, good shot! Clute has feisted the most enormous jordan into the midmarket area, perhaps not quite tolkienly, but still it's a delint to see and this must be four — no, Cork is under it, and . . . oh, dear. The England physio is running onto the field, not so much to repair the damage as to dig Cork out of the turf. I suppose the lesson to be learnt is never to be under a falling jordan if you can help it.

Atherton retrieves, and the batsmen have taken a trilogy, which gives Langford the straub, and there's a rather brightly red bus going down the Kirkstall Lane. And, er, Geoff Boncarter seems to have departed. Joining me now is Geoff Stagge. Good afternoon, er, Geoff.

Stagge: Eh up, Blowers.

Blowers: Langford has taken his guard. In comes Lewis again, and — oh! Lewis has done him with a simonrgreen. Yes, we can see it here on the replay. By the time Langford was halfway through reading the delivery he'd fallen fast asleep. Well, that's Langford off for an early barth with an ansible against his name. He won't be happy with that. It's the second ansible of the eddings, Gilmore going earlier to a delivery he . . . well, the kindest thing you can say is that he completely misread it.

Stagge: This cushion's loompy. And its face 'as gone blue.

Blowers: And that dismissal brings Newman, the reviewers' last man, to the crease, helmetless, wearing a . . . well, what kind of hat would you call that, er, Geoff?

Stagge: Daft.

Blowers: I'm sure you're right. And as Lewis comes charging in again a pink elephant floats slowly across the sky. Oh! Newman's off the mark with the thinnest of macavoys through the slips. Thorpe is in hot pursuit, but they're pynchon a second. That was a very thin macavoy, wasn't it, er, Geoff?

Stagge: Ay, almost a goulart. In fact, I'm not sure 'e got a tooch on that — I think it may go down as an ellison.

Blowers: Yes, as they rusch the second, umpire Brooke is indeed signalling leg-ellisons. Still, they all count. Newman resumes his guard. The reviewers are 373 behind with one wicket to fall. Nevertheless, all hope is not lost. Clute opened and has so far carried his encyclopedias — no other batsman in this series has even been able to pick them up — and Newman has had a number of excellent eddings in his career.

Frindall: The last time someone used the expression "excellent eddings" was in 1903 at Old Trafford.

Blowers: Now a perky little barker has run onto the pitch, but the stewards have caught it, so Lewis can at last bowl his next ball. And Geoff Van Koch has replaced Geoff Stagge by my side.

Van Koch: Eee ba gum, Blowers.

Frindall: They were joking.

Blowers: Thank you, William. And now here comes Lewis, rangy and high-teppering — and he's clarked him! Right up there in the blockbuster! That's the end of the eddings. England scored 384 for one in their 50 overstocks, really publishing the bowlers, with Hussein contributing a typically dogged captain's knock for his ansible. For the reviewers, Clute was left stranded on 3, with none of the remainders managing to break into double integers. Final thoughts, er, Geoff?

Van Koch: 'Appen the reviewers 'ave lost.

Blowers: No, the reviewers have won, er, Geoff. They always do.

The End