Ring, ring…..ring, ring…..ring,ring
“Cabinet War Rooms. Operations room” a muffled voice said before the line dropped out.
Dad was rereading Sir Vivian Richard’s book ‘Batting with Confidence,’ quoting liberally from the best passages. “I faced the fastest men in the business in a crimson cap,” he yelled to me from the other side of the heated pool. “The tattoo sleeved metrosexual gumbies we watch today would frack [Ed. frag?] themselves facing Marshall & Co….” Thea and Mum were sunbathing so I left a note on the bar, collected the Prof from the upstairs reading room, and joined the end of the Kensington rush hour to town. We were in no hurry and took the bus. I drifted off to sleep leaving the Prof ‘in charge’.
We joined a tour at the Cabinet War Rooms. We had not long to wait. The Operations Room was laid out as I remember it, as it was in May 1945. Then the lights went out. The air raid siren blasted through the green corridors to the sound of urgent commands. As we followed the weak ceiling globes to the briefing room, someone glided past me in a rush of cool air. When the lights were restored I noticed the yellow envelope on the bench beside me.
It was a note from Deep Third, in the same serene hand as ever.
“The Oval had 5,000 runs in it. The gas men defracked it twice, for you and then for us. We piddled on it to test it. Flooding wouldn’t alter it.
Loved your Awards. Broad sends his best.
Our Awards inside.
Best, Deep Third”
Four beer stained coasters were enclosed joined by a pink ribbon at the top. [Ed. A female eye for detail?]
The Investec Player of the Series Award: Ian Bell, for “three HUNDREDS and not going on with any of them” at an average of 68. [Ed. Av 68 but chokes before 115]
The Bet365 Mug Punters Player Award: KP Pietersen, for “scoring one century at 3:2 on and taking a ripper at mid-wicket to dismiss Hollywood at 178:1.”
The Yorkshire Bowler’s Batsman Award: TT Bresnan, for “taking complete command of the bowling attack when it mattered most, with extreme prejudice.”
The Heineken ‘Mike Brearley’ Award: AN Cook for “the least impact in a home Ashes Test Series since 1995.”
The Umpires Award: MJ Prior, for “the highest number of successful top order DRS challenges in a Test series, ever.”
The Mint Factory Confectioners Award: SCJ Broad, for “highest number of mints consumed in one Test (4th Test, Chester-le-Street)” and “highest number of complaints that match balls did not reverse.” [Ed. Not surprising]
Priscilla Queen of the Desert Most Injured Award: KP Pietersen, for “overuse of knee and calf strapping.” [Ed. The knee and calf seemed fine to me]
The English Groundsmen Award for Most Wickets: GP Swann, “Australian batsmen are girls. Best to my bunnies”. [Ed. 27] I didn’t see it, but apparently he tied his shoelaces together and mimed an Australian leftie [Ed. Not sure who, there are so many leftie bunnies] fumbling with his box, and gloves, doing them up and undoing them repeatedly, before facing up to an arm ball on the crease eyes closed. “I fished in a trout farm,” he said. He left the stage to a standing ovation.
The Roger Federer Cool Award: JPL Trott, for “maintaining his poise when falling for the leg side trap.” Trotty was slightly embarrassed. He hates the limelight even more than he loves winning the Ashes.
Most Deceptive Arm Ball: JE Root, “Full toss balls don’t spin”. The Boy Root received a free wig and gown from the English Bar Association. He looked like a grinning Draco Malfoy. He left the stage with the best of the Boy Band ringing in his ears. [Ed. Nothing to add]
Swingers Club Reverse Swing Award: JM Anderson, “I had done my job after Lords. No team comes back from 2-0 down in England with the weather.” Jimmy did an Irish jig with Broad to wild applause from the press gallery.
The Candid Camera Award: JPL Trott, losing his cap turning to chase a ball that made it through slips. No one knew he was that bald! [Ed. Cap makers take note]
The Loreal Soft Hands Award: SCJ Broad, “That sitter at mid-off from Hollywood. Dropped it cold off Jimmy. I’ve got the bruises to prove it”. No one clapped. Jimmy shook his head in disbelief as Coach replayed it on the big screen. “I still can’t believe it,” he said.
The No6 Award: JM Bairstow, for batting at 6 when the ECB could find no one else “I did ok. I’m proud. We won!”
The Surrey CC Pitch Award: MJ Prior, for reviewing the piddling incident. The DRS called the pee outside the line. PeeBW denied, although KP’s shins copped a spraying.
The English Pie-makers Award: AN Cook, for “making a game of it at The Oval after lunch.” (5,000 pies sold before lunch, 15,000 after 6pm)
The Cambridge Chirping Award: That spectator who tormented Puff, shadow boxing at every Test.
Youngest Roomie Award: JE Root, for “bringing Scottie Dog bed warmers into disrepute”. Chef was particularly concerned after Old Trafford.
The Ninja Prank Award: AN Cook, for “Fire at the Australian hotel, St Johns Wood.”
The Chairman of Selectors read out a long apology from the CEO, Surrey CC. I noted down the relevant excerpt “You can piss on my wicket any time.” A band of scantily clad pole dancers entertained the troops for 15 minutes in a sound and light spectacular. Then the drums rolled and Her Majesty appeared in drag and made a speech about Dick Turpin, HM Tours to the Colonies, and French Cricket for Corgies.
The Coach’s Award: GP Swann, for his diary ‘Managing High Revolution Spin: Bamboozling Lefties in the Summer’, 2013 [Ed. True to label]
The SUN Award: AN Cook, for “the slowest over and run rates in Ashes history [Ed. England were losing] and acceptable play when the bunnies gifted us a win”
A short break followed while chef took the stage to present
The Captain’s Coach Award: Andy Flower, for winning another Ashes series [Ed. Who can rid me of this troublesome priest?]
No other incidents were recorded. Late in the evening a lot of water flowed from sprinkler heads on an upstairs balcony onto the red carpet entrance at the Ritz.