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I was resting in the tea room yesterday afternoon, savouring a slow-sipping amontillado and watching the November rain lash down onto the herbaceous borders when I was surprised to hear a heavy rapping on my front door; surprised because my pack of Japanese fighting dogs usually intercept any visitor long before they attain the sanctuary of the portico.
I was even more surprised to see Jeff Thomson standing on my doorstep, holding a World Series Umbrella and a bulging plastic carrier bag.
“G’day, yer Pommie bastard,” he greeted me, “Can I use yer fax machine?”
Since I had only last week allowed Rodney Hogg to avail himself of my hedge trimmer, I felt obliged to extend the Hughes hospitality to his hairy compatriot. Before long, I heard the soothing whirr and beep of the facsimile device, punctuated by a choice selection of ripe Australian expletives.
“Sherry?” I asked, when he was done. Propriety forbids me from repeating his reply here, but you can be assured that he left me in no doubt as to his opinion on the merits of fortified wine and its implications for the sexual preferences of the imbiber. As he left, I tried to warn him about the pack of slavering beasts that was sure to descend upon him, but in the event, I need not have worried for his safety. Later that evening I found them cowering and whimpering behind the livery stables.
But to the gist. As he left, a solitary sheet of paper became dislodged from his carrier bag and drifted onto the marble floor. When I picked it up, I found that I held in my hand a single page from the minutes of the latest meeting of the FBU, the Fast Bowlers Union. In the interests of freedom of information, I feel duty bound to publish the entire contents of page two for your perusal:
“…tore his arm off and had a good laugh about it in the dressing room afterwards.
Apologies Mr Edwards is unable to be with us as his bruised fingernail is a lot more serious than first thought. I understand that he also sustained a nasty paper cut when trying to open his Deccan Chargers pay packet. I’m sure we all wish him a speedy recovery.
Appointments We are delighted to announce the re-election of Mr Sreesanth to the top table (applause). Previously a strike bowler only in the sense that we all wanted to strike him (thanks to Mr Kirsten for that joke), he has recently managed to take some wickets without doing anything silly. Thanks go to Mr Dravid for the hypnosis sessions, to Mr H Singh for the slaps and to Mr Patel and Mr Nehra for stepping aside so graciously.
Injuries Mr Lee wished me to pass on my thanks for the flowers and chocolates. He has undergone emergency teeth-whitening treatment and his dentist believes that his smile should soon be back to normal. So a reminder to everyone to remember their shades next time, and I will also be writing to Mr Lee, reiterating our rule on bringing guitars to committee meetings.
Awards It’s that time of the year again when we reveal our ‘Snarler of the Year’. It has been a good year for snarling, although several entrants had to be disqualified for excessive smiling on the field of play. And a reminder to you all for next year that a grimace because you’ve put your back out again does NOT count as a snarl.
I’m pleased to announce that this year’s award goes to Mr Siddle for his sterling work in Cardiff. The judges were impressed not just with the extent of his snarl and growl work, but also the high volume of spittle deposited onto the pitch, the umpire and Simon Katich at short leg. Well done, Sid; a worthy winner, I think you’ll agree.
Charitable Causes Mr Akhtar has once again been leading by example. His concern for the plight of penniless cosmetic surgeons has led him to voluntarily undergo the knife-and-vacuum-cleaner procedure, rather than just going for a bit of a jog of a morning. I think we can all applaud such selfless dedication.
Unfortunately, our ‘Radar’ appeal has stalled a little of late. I know there’s a recession on but can I ask all of you to dig deep and redouble your fund-raising efforts so that sufferers like little Mitch can get the treatment they need for their unfortunate problem. Thanks in this regard to Mr Steyn for his ‘sponsored choke’. It didn’t raise any money, but it did give us all a good chuckle and helped to raise morale…”
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Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. Providing his ransom demands continue to be met, he has promised never to write a whimsical book about village cricket. @hughandrews73