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September 2008
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Benj Moorehead: In awe at cricket’s Madame Tussauds

September 19th, 2008 by Benj Moorehead in Miscellaneous and tagged , , ,

Talking to Vic Marks down the phone line had been strange enough. TMS, only through cables, rather than by wireless. He even did his infectious chuckle. Well, just a month into my job at The Wisden Cricketer, and now for the Plaisterers’ Hall, the Cricket Writers Dinner. An invite had been casually chucked across my desk some weeks before. “Another one for your diary, Benj.”

Another one for my diary indeed. This wasn’t the Saltex Equipment Fair in Windsor. Or even the Village Cup final at Lord’s. This was the Cricket Writers Dinner, where all those I had read and heard for years and years were going to be present. Moving and talking. And, absurdly, I was somewhere in the mix.

I might say it was the party where you cling on to someone because you don’t know anyone else. But I did know them, sort of at least. It was like cricket’s Madame Tussauds. Sometimes I felt I was looking at them as wax figures until a jolt of expression would suddenly remind you that they are living, moving, talking. Human beings would you believe.

Atherton and CMJ were hardly a ruler’s length from me. And the further afield I looked the more I gawked. In fact, if you were there and saw a young-looking lad, gawking, a tad star-struck perhaps, that was me.

But of course no-one knew me. I passed unnoticed. Which made the museum feeling all the more acute.

At one point I drifted outside, needing a little fresh air. On return to my table, a place I otherwise never strayed more than a couple of metres from, things had changed. Mike Selvey had made serious advances while I’d taken a breather, and was almost upon me.

I backed up against the wall under the cover of an experienced friend of the magazine, who afforded me some company and a couple of introductions.

Shortly after I slipped away, bedazzled, a little drunk, but gradually coming to wonder what all the fuss was about.

Benj Moorehead is editorial assistant of The Wisden Cricketer

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RMJ: Rain brings memories of days long gone

September 19th, 2008 by Robin Martin-Jenkins in County cricket and tagged , , ,

Two weeks ago our County Championship match was a relegation clash with Yorkshire at Scarborough. It should have been a vital game to win for both sides but two and a half days of rain meant that we spent more time in the seafront arcades than we did on the pitch.

It was almost identical to my debut in 1995. Same venue, same result. I have now played only three days of cricket out of eight at Scarborough. My debut, therefore, was far more notable for the off-pitch antics of various team-mates, none more memorable than Ed Giddins, with whom I had the dubious honour of sharing a room.

Two minutes after walking into the room I had realised why the others clearly didn’t want to share with Giddo. When I entered, he was naked on the bed, on the phone. Instead of covering himself he beckoned me over, shook my hand and holding the receiver towards me, said: “I’ve got the receptionist on the line. She’s a bit of a goer and I’ve been trying to talk her into a threesome. She’s not having any of it at the moment. See if you can persuade her.” I don’t recall seeing much of him during the following four days.

There seemed to be more characters around in the game back then. I think because the stakes are so much higher now, both at county and international level, players feel they cannot let go during a season. The days of visiting the local pub with members of the opposition at the end of play are gone, and that’s a real shame.

On the other hand most senior players who remember those days would say that standards of professionalism are so much higher in the game today and this has translated into higher standards on the pitch, most notably in the fielding. Whether this makes the game more attractive to watch, however, is a moot point.

2008 is Robin Martin-Jenkins’ benefit year, visit for further details.

Posted in County cricket | 2 Comments »

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