The Heavy Ball

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Dessie and the Major

The perils of fancy dress

In which our intrepid duo nearly cause, and then avert, needless trauma

As told to Alan Tyers

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Cricket fans in fancy dress in the stands, Nottinghamshire v Kent, Trent Bridge, April 17, 2010
If it's Tuesday it must be a fat man in a red tube top in the Fox Road stand © PA Photos
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Dessie and I spent the day at Trent Bridge. We went in fancy dress, partly to enter into the spirit of the occasion, and partly because Dessie pointed out that being identified at a T20 match could compromise my position on the select committee of the International Coalition to Stamp Out Short-Form Cricket. If wanting to preserve the sanctity of Test cricket while also enjoying watching cheerleaders of both genders gyrating around in their tight-fitting official ECB cagoules makes me a hypocrite, then so be it. However, some of the other board members of the international coalition are not as morally fluid as myself; Michael Holding threatened me in no uncertain terms when I was photographed enjoying a ham and mustard sandwich with Norma Major at a rain-affected Friends' Life game at Northampton. All things considered, fancy dress was the only sensible option.

I dressed as David Lloyd George, as is my custom at any costume party. Dessie went as the late pornographic video actress Linda Lovelace. It is a sad reflection on today's youth, desensitised and spoiled by the seemingly limitless supply of home-produced smut as they are, that the entire crowd failed to identify Dessie's costume homage to a really first-rank adult performer. That my own outfit met with widespread bemusement is yet further evidence of a) the creeping barbarism of widespread historical ignorance that is sweeping this country and that b) the Wales in the "England and Wales cricket board" is mere lip service. While not myself a Welshman, I identify with them as I do all oppressed peoples: the poor, the deaf, foreigners in general.

Dessie and I have held a joint account at Nat West for many years now - we initially moved our banking to them in the early 1980s to take advantage of their excellent amusing ceramic piggy banks - and were able to gain entry into a sponsors' jolly area at Trent Bridge.

The dejected West Indian team were corralled into pressing the flesh briefly after the close of play, and I must say that the happiest Chris Gayle has seemed on his entire brief tour was upon catching sight of Dessie done up in his Linda Lovelace finery. Dessie, the beast, fluttered his eyelashes in the most sickening way as poor Chris strode over to introduce himself. Within a few seconds of conversation, Dessie was suggesting that they go somewhere quieter so he might elucidate to the West Indies opener some thoughts he had been having about Chris' head position. Had I not intervened swiftly and firmly, the blissfully unaware Mr Gayle's poor form with the bat might have been the absolute least of his unhappy memories of this visit to our country. All things considered, we will be eschewing fancy dress in the future.

With best wishes and a sense of relief,

- The Major

RSS FeedAlan Tyers is the author of WG Grace Ate My Pedalo
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?

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Alan Tyers
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.

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Alan Tyers Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.
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