POSTCARD FROM MARBELLA – A TALE OF TWO TAIL-ENDERS

Progress with Saving Dave is currently about as productive as Ireland’s second innings at Lord’s – more on that in a minute – which is why I’m blogging again.

My partner and I were talking about names last night.

No particular reason.

As many of you may know we’re getting married in September. Some of you may even be coming to the wedding. But children’s names, I can guarantee, will not be a subject for conversation at the post-nuptial breakfast table.

In Poland they have some very sensible laws and the naming of children is one of them. You see, there are only certain names – those on a list, or register – that you are legally permitted to inflict on your children.

‘It’s my name day! Get the vodka out!

Pity the same doesn’t apply in Britain, or the UK or whatever it’s known by these days.

A typical conversation at the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages may go thus:

‘First name of child?’

‘Err … Peeches.’

Registrar consults register.

‘Sorry, can’t have that.’

‘Oh. Well we thought … maybe Storm?’

Further consultation of register.

‘Nope. Sorry, can’t have that one either.’

‘Bugger.’

‘Certainty can’t have that one.’

‘Hmmm Well, we thought, as a last resort … although we don’t really like the name … Tiggy?’

‘Oh come on. For goodness sake.’

‘Alice?’

‘Fine.’

The Polish have, probably accidentally, devised a foolproof system whereby it is impossible to give your child a name for which they will hate you forever.

And because they have sensible names like Anna or Pawel or Eva this means the choice is fairly limited. But then if you are christened Malgorzata (which roughly translates to Margaret in English) you can choose to be known as Gosia, should you prefer.

And you know what’s even better about the Polish system?

Well, as we all know, the Poles love a party because parties involve huge quantities of vodka and sometimes also wine, beer and food. And so in addition to birthdays they have “name days”. Thus, everyone registered by the name of Carolina, for example, is honoured on a particular day of the year.

The Irish should definitely consider adopting this because they currently only have the one Name Day and a few more wouldn’t go amiss.

Anyway, talking of the Irish, what a kerfuffle at Lord’s.

Lord’s the home of … two tailenders?

I mean, what was that all about then?

For those of you who don’t know, last week Ireland played England in the first full test match in their history and almost dumped the hungover ODI world champions on their arses.

When I say nearly, that’s probably not quite true. However they did manage to bowl a decent England side our for 85 (runs, if you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about) on the first day and went on to establish a lead of one 122. On the third day they required 182 to pull off an incredible and unpredicted victory but instead were dismissed for 38 in very short order.

To sum it up, it was the tale of two-tailenders.

A tailender, dear reader, is a batsman who goes in last. He is not expected to trouble the opposition unduly and is sometimes unkindly referred to as a rabbit. But if Nos 9 and 10 can be similarly described, then our No11 is termed a ferret, because he goes in after rabbits. 

And why is this person is the team at all, I hear you asking, Mr Woman? Because he is a bowler and his job is to inflict pain and humiliation on the batsman and not wield the willow to any great purpose.

One of the most famous tailenders was called Bob Willis and he once set out to the wicket only to arrive at the crease to discover that he had forgotten to bring his bat with him.

Bob Willis: his job was to break jaws and take wickets … not to carry bats

So, two tailenders. The first, named Jack Leach had only made 45 runs in the entire season before being sent in as a “nightwatchman” to see out the final over of the first day. He went on to score 92, a mere eight runs short of having his name inscribed in perpetuity on the Lord’s Honours board.

The other, an Irish fellow by the name of Boyd Rankin didn’t fare quite so well, but achieved his own place in Irish folklore through an anonymous adaptation of The Wild Colonial Boy, which I will shortly share with you.

But before I do, I will tell you that I actually laughed out loud when I read this and woke up in the middle of the night chuckling. It still puts a smile on my face and those of you who know me also know that this is not an easy thing to do.

Boyd Rankin: the Wild Tailender Boy

This is the first thing I actually wish I had written myself since I read last Sunday’s Jeremy Clarkson column or anything by Hemingway.

Judge for yourself and then take a look at the original being performed by The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem.

The Wild Colonial Boy

There was a wild tailender boy,

Boyd Rankin was his name

He came to play in St John’s Wood

The HQ of the game

He was the only not out score,

his captain’s pride and joy

And dearly did the Paddies love

the wild tailender boy

With the top score at eleven,

he left the dressing room

And to the gentle slope at Lord’s

he marched to face his doom

He swiped thin air,

technique was poor,

his shots no Jason Roy

A terror to the English (not)

the wild tailender boy

One over at the wicket

where Boyd did not belong

A listening to the mocking chants of cheerful English throng

Out stepped a pair of bowlers,

Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad,

They all set out to capture him,

With zero on the board.

“Surrender now Boyd Rankin

for you’re thirty two for nine

Surrender in the Queen’s high name It’s nearly time to dine“

Boyd pulled two shots without success

his bat a children’s toy

“I’ll fight, but not surrender,” said the wild tailender boy

He tried a shot at Woaksey, which much amused the crowd

And turning to the umpire

he heard him laugh out loud

A seamer pierced his partner’s stumps

As per the English ploy

And that was how they captured him

the wild tailender boy.

Hasta pronto, chic@s!

Care to share?
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6 Responses to POSTCARD FROM MARBELLA – A TALE OF TWO TAIL-ENDERS

  1. Malcolm Fitter says:

    are you intending to have a baby

    • Richard Grainger says:

      Absolutely not – neither by accident nor design. This was my point amigo … children’s names will NOT be a topic for conversation at our post-nuptual breakfast table!

  2. David Stewart says:

    Done by a lad in Newcastle upon Tyne, of Irish extraction.
    Will try to get his name.

  3. Anonymous no more! Written to amuse the Irish contingent of my veterans football team – the Tornados. Glad it brought a smile :-)

    Harry the Piano

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