There’s been a change of plan.
For reasons I cannot divulge due to the need for confidentiality (that may sound intriguing, but the reality is far from it) I’m not going home today.
I should be on the 20.20 (yep… as in cricket for people who don’t like cricket) BA flight with Cam, bound for a rain-swept, freezing Heathrow and the misery of a British winter, but I’ve had a reprieve.
I’m going to Jo’burg.
England did their very best to liven up a potentially prostrate day’s cricket by batting as if to suggest they were already cruising the shopping malls of the Waterfront, frittering downtime away with WAGS and pushchairs. The WAGS could have batted much more convincingly.
With six wickers down, thanks to some pretty ordinary batting from the top order, there was a general sigh of relief amongst England supporters when bad light stopped proceedings shortly before tea. The captains shook hands at 5pm and the game was given the last rites.
And so it was a quick shower and into best bib and tucker for a slap-up end of tour dinner, courtesy of Howzat Travel at the Kelvin Grove Club next door to the Newlands ground.
My prediction that the three course meal would consist of limp-lettuce and over-Marie-Rosed prawn cocktail (option of tepid vegetable soup) followed by overdone beef/dry chicken and soggy veg, with Crème Brule to follow (option of cheese & biscuits) was as widely off the mark as my expectation that the guest speaker would be a crushing bore.
Let me start my saying I’m not a big fan of ‘Sir’ Geoffrey.
In fact, it’s no understatement to say that he polarises cricket lovers in a way no former player or commentator could ever hope to rival. He is the Margaret Thatcher of cricket: brash, controversial and always right.
So I decided to have a little fun. I had already begun the day by antagonizing the South African Director of Cricket, yelling at him: ‘Oi you… you in the suit… you on the phone… move to the left please… you’re ruining my picture.’ as he stood directly in front of the South Africa team, seated for an official photo (Amla’s last as skipper). Although, to be fair, I didn’t know he was the South African Director of Cricket until he sat down next to Amla.
And was it my imagination, or did he scratch his cheek with his right middle finger and turn his head ever so slightly in my direction?
Anyway, back to Boycott.
I passed a sheet of paper around our table with the words ‘corridor of uncertainty’, and, ‘my mother could make runs on that wicket batting wi’ stick of rhubarb’, and invited the nine other guests to speculate at what point into his talk — in consideration of R100 per entrant — these immortal Boycottisms would appear. I was tempted to add ‘ifs and buts… if my aunty had balls she’d be my uncle’ but considered that that may confuse the scorer: me.
Answers: the former arrived after a surprising wait of eight minutes 32 seconds (a lot quicker than time into his innings he would have run a quick single for his partner) and the latter was trotted out after only 1 minutes 12 seconds. Dick from Dagenham scooped the R900 pot and celebrated by ordering another free bottle of red.
I must, with reference to my earlier comments, point out that the food was excellent, the service slick and the free bar, with copious amounts of wine provided to the table, ensured that the evening was a huge success.
DAY 10 (early morning)
It’s quiet now at the Commodore, as Cam and all those here only for the Newlands test have departed.
Time to reflect, enjoy the clear blue skies and Cape Town and do some sightseeing.