Tales from the Boundary
Cloggy, Cloggy, Cloggy
I once played for Colchester against a team from the Netherlands, which was mildly surprising at the time. Holland, I thought, was famous only for windmills, tulips and polders. If King Canute had been Dutch he'd have known how to hold back the rising tide.
In my day job of horse transport I've visited the low countries a few times, mainly ending up at Schipol airport. Good word Schipol. One's mouth has to be well salivated to pronounce it properly. Course, one can cheat and say Skipol but it's not the same.
The obvious route to Schipol from Essex is via the Harwich to Hook of Holland ferry, which takes about six hours or so and usually is done overnight. It's just as quick, however, to go Dover/Calais, turn left up the A16, follow the signs for Brussels, Antwerp and Utrecht and 'Bob's yer Uncle'.
Anyway, in the early morning mist, the ‘Cloggies’ bowled well. Indeed, they bowled so well that by 12:30 I, promoted to bat 9, was sitting with my pads on. I might have batted 8 but Peter 'Farmer' Fairs, who was due to bat 4 but held up by some agricultural problem, turned up and jumped the queue.
Surprisingly, Peter did not last long and so I joined a fella called something Nelson, I think. I can't remember his first name but it wasn't Horatio. Luckily Mr Nelson could bat a bit and my forward defence was working well that day. I remember, with delight, getting four runs from a leg glance off the back foot, worthy of Ranjitsinhji. I also remember my partner being given not out off a blatant nick, which probably led to the current Brexit problems. The bowler and I exchanged raised eyebrows but without DRS nothing could be done.
This was the one and only time I batted through a lunch interval. I did wonder whether to keep my pads on.
Anyway, my innings finally ended on 20, bowled by an inswinger (cunning these foreigners) when I was planning to extend my prod to an offside push. 'Horatio' made 87 and we managed to declare nine down and proceed to a draw, though our friends from across the water could bat a bit too, as Ryan ten Doeschate has often shown us.