My family have had problems with immigrants ever since we arrived in this country from France fleeing The Terror, something the EU have lined up for us True Blue Brits after The Referendum. So it’s no surprise to me to find that the big nobs at Lord’s have been having trouble with foreign staff.
The Boer is a strange fish – sound on many issues, but not the most diplomatic of men. I recall a stopover at Durban on the Colonel’s ’56-’57 Ashes Tour which rather illustrates the point.
The party had been at sea for a month or so and the shock of dry land on sea legs meant that we weren’t in the greatest nick for a two day match (for the benefit of The White Wives of Natal, an admirable charity dedicated to providing additional opportunities for poor swimming pool labourers and cleaners). Well, it was either the sea legs or the champagne breakfast at the Government House that morning. Wally was missing (having been caught in a house of dubious morals in a Restricted Area the previous evening – The Colonel managed to keep it out of the press; mind you, two of them were with Wally) but we were otherwise at full strength.
It was a one innings match against GBH Sjambok’s XI played on a matting wicket – at least, that’s what we thought it was, but we couldn’t really tell. I was listed at 8, so took the opportunity to go into town and buy a few diamonds and krugerrands from Jannie (with whom I had been at school) with the deck quoits winnings. It was handy that Johannes, another school pal, was on customs duty when we went back on board, I can tell you!
When I got back to the ground, we were 78-3 after 57 overs with Baldy finding it hard to get it off the square – indeed, off the mat – and some complaints that the fielding was just a little sharp for our boys, who could hardly be expected to run twos (and not many ones) after so long at sea. We did declare on the second day at 320-6 (I was pleased to get my eye in with a couple of hours at the crease for my 7*) but the crowd, which only numbered a few thousand, were disappointed that we left the locals only 40 minutes and the last hour to get them. To be fair, they only fell 20 or so short, but most of the public had gone by then. And our press writing it up as “a choke” did little to lighten the mood.
But that’s The Boer for you – if the cricket isn’t going exactly his way (and wasn’t it their obligation to bowl us out in the 220 overs they sent down – and it was not as hot as many claimed either) – he’s as likely to pack his bat away and go and play in India as to knuckle down for his country. Well, in the current case, our country – but the point holds.