Alastair Pan paused by the window, transfixed by the voice beyond. It was a tale of derring do, of heroics, and he couldn’t tear himself away. The soft tones of Selvey Darling could be heard, relating a story to the children, one of a young, dark haired legend, smashing Australians to all parts. Alastair crept closer, unable to resist the siren call of a story that spoke to his very soul, and stirred his emotions. The lure of far off places, the paradise called Brisbane, and the call of the crowd enthralled him, and made him wish he was there. “Tomorrow children, I will tell you about Adelaide. No, not that time, I don’t wish to give you nightmares – this is much better”. Alastair slipped away, determined to return to hear the next stage of the tale.
The following night, he arrived early. The window was still open, the darlings and the Darlings still just beyond. Getting himself comfortable, he was ready to hear the next stage. And as he listened, lulled by the dulcet tones, beguiled by the exploits of the hero, he didn’t notice one of the children come to the window. Young Joe had always been the most precocious of the children, and an awareness of a presence nearby, looking over his shoulder, led him to look outside and poor Alastair was seen. Oh calamity! Panic stricken, he fled, but not before being separated from his career. Bereft, he wandered for a time, but he knew he couldn’t be without it, and late at night, he returned, slipping in through the open window, to wake young Joe.
Startled, Joe awoke, to be told of Alastair’s problem. He was the middle child, and known to the family thus as the Media Darling. But he was a kindly soul, one prepared to give it all away even when things were going well. He listened to the tale and learned that for Alastair, without his career, he was incomplete, and had nothing to look forward to. Joe looked over, and said “But it’s behind you!”. “Oh, no it isn’t”, Alastair replied. “Are you sure? I thought I saw it in the distance?”. Agreeing to help out, they hunted high and low, and sure enough, hidden somewhere at home (no point looking away), they found it.
Re-attaching it, a grateful Alastair burst into tears, and explained that he had heard the tales of Brisbane and Adelaide, and wished to know more. Joe was astonished, telling him that he knew lots of these stories, such as the Legend of Edgbaston and the Parable of Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Amazed, Alastair told him of his world, Neverland, where he lived with his gang, the Lost Boys. These poor children had been abandoned at Kensington Oval, and ever since had wandered from place to place, forever being beaten, most recently in Perth.
“Come with me” urged Alastair. “These children are leaderless and just go from disaster to disaster. They need help”. Joe agreed, and together they left, flying through the air, and narrowly avoiding the cannonballs fired from the Hazel Wood below as they reached Neverland.
The Lost Boys were thrilled, welcoming Joe, for finally they had a father figure, albeit a 12 year old, to look after them. Introduced to them one by one, Joe promised to take them to all the wonderful places, and see all the wonderful things in the world. In return, they decided to build him a house, one with flimsy foundations and that would fall down the moment any pressure was placed on it, but he was happy and they were happy.
Yet there was danger on the horizon, and no more so than in the shape of Captain Kevin “Irresponsible” Hook. Long the enemy of Alastair Pan, he wanted to be in the gang, but Alastair would have none of it, defeating him in a popularity contest and cutting off his hand, which fell into the mouth of a voracious crocodile called Newman. And so he was sworn to revenge, determined that if he couldn’t be part of the team, then no one should. Newman had the taste for him though, and followed him around, desperate for more.
Irresponsible plotted his revenge, to steal away the Lost Boys from Alastair’s grasp, promising fun, good form and an abundance of sensible tactics. Yet despite all efforts and common sense, they wouldn’t go. And thus is came to be that Hook and his piers took direct action, kidnapping the boys and imprisoning them on his ship, the Hit and Giggle. There, they were forced into a life of short (but highly lucrative) games, with some of them used as cannon fodder for his batman.
Alastair had been wounded by Hook before, and as a result Ian “Tinker” Bell had vanished, never to be seen or heard from again, but this time he was going to finish things. He crept aboard the ship, finding the Lost Boys, and even Woakes’ long lost twin Stokes, who had been cruelly ripped away from the group some time earlier. “Where is Joe Darling?”, he cried, only to be told he was being guarded by a Lyon and every time he tried to cut free was tied back down. For the first time in his life, he was unable to get himself out.
As Pan moved across the deck, Irresponsible saw him. “So Alastair, we meet at last, the circle is now complete. When I left you I was but a boy, now I am the…..hang on, that’s a different story. I mean, when I left you I was forced into exile. No one would hear me whistle, no one would see me looking out of windows. It is time for us to finish this”.
Alastair sprang into action, waving his trusty blade somewhere outside off. The two clashed, Hook swinging his sword around his head. But Hook was no match for Alastair, protected as he was by his Mail. In no time at all, he was pushed back, back, back to the edge of the ship, before falling into Newman’s open, waiting mouth.
With Irresponsible’s demise, the Lost Boys were free. Never again to be humiliated, able to travel to distant lands secure in the knowledge that no longer would they be second best. Hook had been responsible for everything wrong in Neverland, and with him gone, they could look forward with confidence, and tales of Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth once more. All was well.
But Joe was feeling homesick. He knew his place couldn’t be with Alastair and begged to be allowed to return. The Lost Boys went with him, where Selvey Darling agreed to adopt those of them who promised to go to Bedford School, while rejecting Stokes as a lost lamb, but a New Zealand one rather than Essex. Selvey offered to take Alastair too, but he declined with love, citing his need to go off and find his off stump.
And so they all lived happily ever after. The evil Hook was vanquished, and Alastair Pan was free. Joe Darling grew up to tell ever more stories for Alastair to listen to, and the Lost Boys showed their spine, mettle and skill as they went to Australia and showed the locals just how things should be done.
And don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Apologies to the shade of JM Barrie, and may we wish you a very Happy Christmas from all of us at BOC, and we’ll be back when the next
defeat match starts on Boxing Day.
Brilliant. A whole new career beckons
A fantastic tale of Alistair and Joe. JM Barrie would be pleased.
A request please. Could Jimmy, the paragon of virtue, not, walk the plank with Smee.
i am enjoying the blogs and admire all of you with stamina for the early starts.
Roll on Aussies.
Can I just say, ‘bollocks’. I didn’t think of that. 😦
I see we are about to let Tom Curran lose on the Aussies. That’ll learn ’em.
(As General Melchett said, I think, “Unleashing the same plan 17 times in a row is the /last/ thing they’ll be expecting”)
I keep thinking we’ve picked Sam Curran and Jamie Overton.
Is it because they are better?
Cheers for the reply about Stoneman, q. Good to see you still have your coaching head screwed on well. I shall look forward to hearing great things from him on Boxing Day morning (or, if the Aussies bat first, on the 28th).
Joyeux Noël, with your tuque and your mitaines!
Nicely written. ☺👍
I look forward to redemption at Melbourne ☺
Public service announcement for anyone else who missed it up until now: the “Urnbelievable” podcast by Andy Zaltzman and Felicity Ward really is very good.
Especially ‘He was the middle child, and known to the family thus as the Media Darling’
To all our hosts here, with particular love sent to LCL, also everyone else who contributes and reads – have a lovely festive break (if you do and can) and may BOC continue to be the most effervescent and ever reliable scribblings of those of us who truly care about OUR game.
…and hey, with no ‘Ashes Panel. I may be tempted to flannel, something off of my own ‘long run’, it may be seriously estranging, siriusly wide ranging, of just a bit of fun… (level of alcohol may tip the scales) 🙂
Well well well…
Tom Harrison in amazing form here…
There’s lot to chew on, but my favourite part? This, maybe…
“It’s a shame this series hasn’t gone our way but there’s more to play for over the course of the winter. It’s also important to remember that in every one of the three games England have been in a position where things could have worked out differently. We just haven’t managed to turn the screw in those moments. But we’ve remained pretty competitive even in Australian conditions.”
Or maybe this…
“We have to be careful not to overreact half way through an Ashes series. We can all understand there’s some frustration and we haven’t been able to close those matches out. Now is not the moment to be overreacting. There will be no review. This is not the moment for knee-jerk reactions or rash decisions about what we do from here in respect of performance.”
Nero fiddles away, while the test team burns…..
Translated into English……….
We, your lords and masters couldn’t give a fuck what the result is because this series has been contested in weird Antipodean conditions that don’t really amount to anything of importance. In addition the important leg of the tour, the 20/20, is still to come and up for grabs.
The good news however, and what people should really be focusing on is the deluxe Australian 5 star tour packages have sold very well. In particular those lucky people who paid extra for the life size cardboard cutout of Alastair Cook with the special taped Cristmas message from the great man himself will be entered into the summer draw for free tickets to next summers 20/20 match vs India. (Now these are the tickets you really want to get your hands on.)
Those who still take test cricket seriously should get a life. No, only joking, but you should understand there will be no accountability from those of us who run corporate cricket. Accountability is for the little people. We only judge performance in stock price, share options, and cash flow into our bank account. Those are the real averages and stats we take seriously.
Also, its important to remember we lost 5-0 here last time, and 4-0 in India, and the world didn’t come to an end. In fact profits were up. So who gives a shit? Certainly not us who have far more important things to do like counting out money.
If you do have any complaints please feel free to send them to Mr 39 care of The Cricketer magazine where your concerns will be shredded, and then sneered at on his Twitter feed.
Merry Christams & a profitable New year.
We certainly will be very prosperous.
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Wish all of you a merry Christmas and a wonderful new year.
Whatever mellow Christmassy feelings I had have just evaporated having read that. Harrison’s willingness to espouse publicly a total and deliberate lack of accountability is breathtaking. His pretence that England’s three losses in the series so far haven’t been all that bad is utterly risible, while His lack of concern at the performance and results speaks volumes. The ECB is simply not fit for purpose – at least not if you define its purpose as being a responsible steward of the English game. The saddest thing about Mark’s excellent satire above is that it isn’t really satire at all but merely (as he says) a translation.
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But enough of all the shenanigans…
A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year to everybody who posts, comments or reads here. You all deserve it (so, I think, do I) so let’s make it happen!
Well said, Sri and Oreston, and a very happy Christmas to you and to all Outside Cricket.
:-). I don’t know if I am outside cricket but 100% cricket is inside me :-). Does that make me inside outside cricket or outside inside cricket , I wonder 😀
A very merry Cchristmas to you Zeph and may your creativity and wit continue to flow and delight your reading audience.
Merry Christmas from me. I hope that the new year brings joy and success. I am sure that I will continue to learn how to think from reading this blog and will remain in awe at everyone’s extraordinary knowledge and love of our fantastic game.
Amidst the understandable excitement surrounding Tom Harrison, you may have missed the latest column from Super Soaraway Selve.
In which Selvey credits one man for the England team’s victory at Melbourne in 2010.
Who COULD it be? Well, first you need to rule out all eleven men who actually played in the match….
I know you all hate my rants about the Sunday supplement, but boy you have to see this one on now.
It’s like a footballing version of A Christmas a Carol, and this week it’s very much Christams past. They have dug up old fosils like Steve Curry. Jesus! Steve (I love Fergie) Curry. FFS he is about as hip and up to date as a game of Monopoly. Harry Harris and Paddy Barclay make up Skys version of last of the summer wine. More like (Whine) HARRY HARRIS for FS!!
They’re off down memory lane now. Sitting in Fergies office, drinking with Ron Greenwood. Harry Harris will be telling us he was in the Sweeny next.
Harris is an idiot. I remember reading some of his nonsense about England. Now he wants a transfer window for mangers. Has he seen what has happened at Crystal Palace, West Ham, and Everton? He thinks Giggs must be given a managers job…… why! Great players very rarely make good managers.
This is not funny Sky. This is drivel. . Old men just shouting out stupid shit. It’s Skys version of Lovejoy
By the way….. Happy Christams everyone here. Well done team for the year.
Paddy Barclay, after the week he’s had? Such a classy move from Sky there.
Not at all.
Steve Curry has always been on my shit list. Well since 1988 when my lot won at Leeds in a game that put us on the brink of promotion to the top flight for the first time. He wrote an article that basically asked whether the top division could afford to let us in (we were playing Leeds, don’t forget) due to our reputation. I mean, three years before Liverpool were involved in an incident that cost 38 lives, but we were the bogey men? Hilarious.
I am glad to know that Harry Harris is still alive. At least that could be exclusively revealed today. His career went west when Ken Bates did at Chelsea. Before then, well, it was a career to savour.
That is hilarious Dimitri because he named checked Ken Bates this morning.
Curry admitted he would not want to be a football journo today. And Barclay said the only sensible thing…… when he said the gossip columns, and front page kiss and tell reporters had killed off any chance of the football journo getting access to players today. “They have ruined it for us.” Players don’t want to talk to them now while another section of the paper is trashing their private life.
Of course these cosy drinking sessions with old managers were not a one way street. Managers used complient journos to stir up transfer speculation, and un settle players at other clubs. It was worth the odd Bristol cream sherry if yo could get a transfer across the line.
Funniest when Curry wanted to know why fans of other clubs don’t support English clubs in Europe? “They all want Man U to lose these days.”
How about Steve, that these big clubs are now foreign owned, the manager is usually foreign, and most of the players are foreign. Man U is registered in the Cayman Islands for tax purposes, and listed on Wall Street. Why would anyone except for a fan give a shit about them? Or any other club. The only thing English about them these days is their location.