Michael Martin photo of the year 2021 Seril Shah. THOUGHTS FROM OUTSIDE THE ROPE

Thoughts From Outside The Rope – July


The Ashes decider (we hope) starts on Thursday July 27th and the following day the local Ashes decider between the Victor Trumper XI touring team and Middleton Stoney CC will take place. Our guests will have travelled thousands of miles and have lots of stories to tell so if work or life in general prevents you being there for the start of the match at 2.00pm come along when you can and enjoy the post-match social. The club Social Secretary Mike Simpson having missed out on his fish and chips in 2015 (not that he mentions it often) has taken responsibility for our supper and fish and chips will be available to purchase after the match along with a well-stocked bar. Pre-booked tickets are not required (as having one didn’t get Mike a meal last time) but don’t hang back if you want to be fed. Diary date – Friday 28th July, Middleton Stoney Cricket Ground.


For the first time in living memory tickets had been sold to watch his performance at Middleton Stoney cricket ground and crowds of locals were gathered by 1.30pm.  For £10 and with a BBQ thrown in they couldn’t believe their luck. The Boss was in town and going to play in front of them. Was it stage fright, were his backing group not up to the job or did he fear that the under 15 contingent wouldn’t know who he was and what a performer he had been? Whatever it was, when it was reported a wasp sting in a delicate place had prevented Peter VDK taking centre stage, there was no riot. The sun had shone, the patient crowd had had a lovely BBQ and seen a competitive cricket match against Banbury CC. Peter had brought with him a substitute player; Middleton Stoney had won and just think of those poor people who were in Hyde Park to see Bruce Springsteen. Paying upwards of £500 only to find out that the queue for the toilets was over 30 minutes, there was no BBQ and Chiltern railways were on strike. They sighed that they had missed Peter’s return to Sunday cricket but with a bit of luck they would catch the Ashes and Wimbledon highlights and still be in bed for 10.00pm. Regrettably the younger members were left confused as they had never heard anything by the rapper PVDK or played cricket against a Bruce Springsteen. Glad that’s all cleared up then! As Peter was leaving the ground he was heard to say “I’ll be back” or was that someone else?


George Lamb was relating tales of a Middleton Stoney cricket tour to Devon. Mostly it described the journey as details of the matches and social events were hazy even for George. Given the recent difficulty of getting to and entering Blenheim Palace grounds, it beggars belief that the team got all the way to Devon without satellite navigation or power steering. Mind you anyone with an electric car couldn’t do it now even with all the modern gizmos.


Thank you to anyone who has written a match report this season. They have been brilliant and are stored on the website if you want to access them (via the fixtures page). Outside the boundary rope there are friends and neighbours to catch up with, allotment produce to compare and share, traffic nightmares to discuss and sometimes the intricacies of the match can get a little lost. What a pleasure it is to read the detail later that week and wonder if you were really there. They are not dry as some team match reports can be but are funny, insightful and at times educational. How many would have recalled that the phrase ‘The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword’ was penned (sorry) by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton if his name hadn’t been mentioned in a recent match report? If you all did, then I blame the state education system of the 1960’s! I find myself looking up people and quotes and then forgetting them just as quickly until another match report arrives. What will we all do in the winter?

Happy watching.