Humbug's Blog - Pieterson Free Zone

Humbug's Blog - Pieterson Free Zone

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It's blogging time again, a bit like Hammer Time but without the cool. I am inspired by a magnificent Club Supper in the George Holyport last week. I would like to thank the 41 who made the effort to have a really good night and support the club and chide those who had not made it a priority or are basking on the newly discovered Veggie Love Island. Ringo's referral to Chesney and the implied lovelorn years hit home with a few of us. It is evenings like that which can reignite enthusiasm for our great little club.
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Is it me, or is there a legacy to the Games when I look at Jess Ennis or the other body beautiful lady athletes and think 'I could do that?' Why has the GB triple jump coach got three names? Will we be seeing the many faeces of Clare Balding on our TV screens during the Para-Dressage?
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Ok, it has been a bit of a lull since the last blog. A combination of depressing results for Hurley and the brilliant Olympics dampened my ability to blog. I was initially anti the Olympics as the BBC thrust it down our throats in the lead up, but now I regret not going for tickets, and I don't mean just beach volley ball. What is it with the Keirin, Taekwondo and dressage anyway?I did find it a bit disconcerting seeing Clare Balding pop up everywhere though, and just as I settled down for the night preparing another fantasy about Gwyneth Paltrow and taramaslata, up pops Clare to spoil the girl on girl action. I swear I saw her down Waitrose as well, and the bloke in the petrol station looked suspiciously familiar.
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I experienced intense pain this week, but learnt a valuable lesson. Never leave the oven door open in a dark kitchen, it is at shin height. But the pain is nothing to this season and almost every Saturday finding us scrabbling around to put out 2 teams. This is no longer fun. The problem is many fold and is not unique to us. The five year plan is having a difficult birth, but there is nothing more important than strengthening membership and I really hope not to hear that it is more a problem than a challenge. It's not as difficult as Lords Reform, a dedicated playing committee should address this critical issue. Many are not enjoying league cricket, but I doubt we can survive as a club outside this form of the game.
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After all these jubilee celebrations, I have started to look obsessively at union flags to see if they are flying the right way up. At Denham on Saturday I noticed one upside down. Now, not many people realise that flying the union flag upside down is a sign of distress. This was quite prophetic as the 'Denham' weekend was one of distress and the worst I can remember for the club. We desperately tried to get two sides out, the first Xi arrived with eight men, one 9 year old 'mini me' Cole and Howie who orbits a planet of his own. The second Xi fared better, somehow scraping to 11 but were dismissed for 28 and were home to surprise the wife by 3pm. I think that is what many 'better halves' think is an acceptable game of cricket.
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Last week saw a roller coast of emotions. It has never been pleasant travelling to Hamersham Mill, not least for the speed camera that sent me to a 3 hour speed awareness course or the emptying of the nose by one of their players in front of Mary last year. My mood plummeted on being greeted by the Orbes with the news we only had 9 men. This eventually went up to 10 with the addition of J-Lo, but no umpire as well. My mood lifted as the home side didn't employ their usual tactic of 'common buddie' after each ball possibly because the nose blower was absent this year with a nose bleed. We scored a comfortable 251 to put us well placed at tea and Roy of the Rovers smacked a car door panel of an unsuspecting horticulturist in the allotments. He was most unlucky, and most upset but got little sympathy when he marched into the club demanding compensation for his dented courgette. After a good tea, my mood quotient was about 8/10. It would have been 9 had the chill not started to creep up my leg and it was bloody late May!
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I have been musing on the nature of panic buying triggered by politicians and people of authority telling Joe Public not to panic. Consequently, Joe panic bought Jerry cans, petrol and now stamps. So I would just like to assure everyone down the club not to panic at a lack of beer, burgers, runs and wickets. DON'T PANIC as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would also recommend. The drought may also cause more panic, and all those Jerry cans can now be filled with water. I have already noticed a lack of watercress and water melons in Waitrose. Come to think on it I have not spotted any Water buffalo in the last few days; strange.
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The cricket season seems to be getting closer as I say hello to feelings in my toes and goodbye to a huge dew drop on the end of my nose. Spring brings change, though some things remain. England loose in the sub-continent and I wast four days of my life watching those tossers in the second Test (and I don't literally mean the Pakistani spinners). I wasted 5 days last year watching our 50 over debacle against India. My sofa now has a comfortable butt imprint but I feel nothing to show for my dedication except a few suspicious stains. If I hear another England player with 6,000 Test runs under their belt say they must learn from the experience I will ritually burn my 2b and keep the ashes in a small urn.
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I recently went to Royal Berks to check out a 'floater' in my eye. I naively thought floaters were something the Dawkins nervously did before a match, but no. I had to suffer drops to dilute the pupils and walked out of the hospital like Mr Burns in the Simpson's Halloween Special. But it didn't open my eyes to how we can make Club Supper less of a hassle and persuade more people that it is a good night out to thank people and support the club. We saw 33 committed souls gather on Saturday at Bird Hills Golf Club, an excellent medieval stylie venue, good food, some awful jokes and reward for our talented youngsters and seasoned veterans. But it was a disappointing turnout. The flame haired one was desperately drumming up support late into the evenings like a failed African despot. Maybe the days of a sit down meal and lounge suits are gone and new ideas are needed. How about a curry on long tables in the clubhouse and better jokes? At least the beer would be cheaper, better and maybe people would feel more comfortable in a familiar venue and cheaper event, not that once a season the club supper is expensive. It's a shame, it used to be the pinnacle of the season.
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What a depressing end to the 1XI league season. I think I have just about got over the missed opportunity against Little Kingshill and the selling of Mikel Arteta. A much improved squad (Hurley not Everton) with the additions of Dean, Clemons, Varun and a rapidly improving Ross finished the season only 2 points and one win better than 2010. Not even Ringworm's BBQ and a few beers after our limp display against Little Kingshill or some racey pics on…, better not say whose phone could lift my mood. I think the latter just depressed me more. Then again, I could be going through 'the change', cricket to football. Maybe we need a plan next year as detailed and professional as that for the colts. Still, kudos to Yassir for his astonishing 200*.
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I'm getting sad again. Only 3 league games to go just as the 1XI have got going. Last Saturday was almost perfect, a stonking win, opposition in disarray, doughnuts for tea and Ross looking a very classy bat. At Littlewick we worshiped the zero, is 'nothing' sacred? I am sure Howard Siliconchip can correct me but the 1XI have used 27 players so far this season. I think this is both a strength in our membership and a weakness in availability, 8 players were probably under 25, the average number of appearances per player is 5.25. The thing that really excites me on a Saturday is this mix of some very useful cricketers and a good cadre of youngsters indicating an exciting future for Hurley CC. I could not see a future for Hurley not too long ago, but now I am optimistic and I might now get some new pens and score another year. This strength in depth has a knock on to the 2XI and to have two teams relatively comfortable in Divisions 2 & 3 is better than many other local clubs.
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I have been changing my mind about where we are as a club faster than Shane Warne has had a make over, and both of us have had a Hurley to heart. Mind you, his has more bumps than our outfield. Stonking maximum pointers for the 1XI against the hated Hammersham Mill and the new boys of Pinkneys has fired expectations, but dented by the 2XI falling off the pace. It just shows that with a few absentees we are down to bare bones and I don't mean the skeletal form of Onmytodd. Of course the burgeoning colts are brilliant but it also exposes our lack of numbers as they now exceed senior paid membership. Ramadan is not going to help 2XI either as 3-4 players bow out for the holy month. Sun set this week 8.41!
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I have to say that the quality of writing, my efforts excepted, on this website is impressive. From the Hurley Lions colts reports to the Sunday 2XI guest reporters it is all very entertaining. I wonder if brown envelopes changed hands to entice Vicky Pollard and Bill Oddie to report, and maybe a pie or two for Lardy. Mind you, anyone watching any of the games a couple of weeks ago would have been treated to a weekend that saw 3 one wicket/run results. Sadly only one was in our favour.
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Oh well, better try to get a couple of blogs in this month so as not to disappoint my reader. As I gazed on the Spitfire doing loops over the Thames a couple of Saturdays ago and dwelled on the few, WW2 pilots that is, not Hurley regulars, I thought about all the noble acts that go unrecognised or just forgotten. Well, it distracted me temporarily from the clichés and jive coming from Hamersham Mill. While I am talking of selfless acts could a few more people offer to buy Val a drink after games, the amount she puts into the club is truly astonishing and we should never take it for granted. Also, if I didn't mention the many others that put in so much, they would feel unappreciated, not least the colts coaches trying to lay a better foundation for the club. The recent bbq and beer tasting would not have been so successful without the colts and their parents and of course Mike and his sausages and Rita and her baps and Caroline who did teas and helped with the food. With no Prof in the Team there was food left over, though the Lards did their best.
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Was it Morrissey that said 'Heaven knows I'm miserable now'? Just who is Humbug these days and why have I got so much competition? There are two outstanding competitors for my title, Stevie Sailor and Dave Walnut. Now don't get me wrong, both are really nice chaps but there just is no room for three of us. It is my handle and I jealously guard it. I wonder if it is a co-incidence that we are all long-suffering members of Hurley with about 90 years service between us. Maybe curmudgeons need to mature like a fine wine. Pop our cork and we flow nicely with a rather strange bouquet.
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Obama Bin President decided not to show the too horrific pictures of Phil's bloodied face last week after he tried to take a bite out of the ball, but as compensation, he is hoping to get a bumper pay out from the tooth fairy. Unfortunately it was the only ball of the day to spit, much like Phil was doing copiously until ushered off the square. The rather macabre sight of people looking for his missing tooth on a length after the match was made all the more amusing had we known that A&E had found it wedged in the top of Phil's mouth like a blown down tomb stone. Still, it allowed Veg and Dean to add 97 and coast the new Tri Nations 1XI to a 9 wicket victory.
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Despite transfer rumours over the winter, Hurley have not secured the services of a host of banned Asian players or Ricky Ponting looking to regain respectability after an Ashes humiliation, but instead have been in the greenhouse growing their own. Careful nurturing by Ringo, Lardy and Veggy is maturing budding talent, so is the Cola too expensive?
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Thanks to Kevin Clement who reminded me of my long absence from this page, it appears he still keeps in touch with what is going on through our website. I now have two readers!
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Visiting Hurley on Saturday for the annual fixture against Nally's XI (Hampton Hill), I received a tip off that we would score 150. So I placed all my loose change down the bookies with Mo Ne Launda and sat back in full expectation of a future life of leisure. Imagine the shock and awe when Rita calculated 151 and I had lost everything. Surely Mike 'the mask' had acquired an extra run, but no, a 24 ball duck disputed that theory. I did not dare challenge the red headed statistician who was brooding menacingly. Double or quits I thought on 3 stumpings in the second half but Jacko kept hitting the stumps and I was left without a button to my name.
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The sun shines brighter, Val's scones are fruitier, and the beer is more bitter/sweet when we win in the League. The 1XI climbed to 4th and the 2XI climbed to 3rd so things are looking good like Cameron (Diaz not David). I do blanch a little at the excitement in the weekly round up about the prospect of the 2XI getting promotion as there are several individuals lingering there who should be playing 1XI on merit. This rather makes a mockery of a 1st and 2nds, and will it be sustainable next year. Bring on a proper selection policy and a bit of competition for places! I really wish someone would tell me why these individuals prefer to play at a lower standard than they are capable. I hope I get a veto on the annual awards. I am not targeting any one individual, I can think of at least four who grumble at any invitation to play 1XI. ?
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