Monday, 9 July 2012

Bob's Your Uncle

It was Fantasy Bob's pleasure to organise a quiz night at the world HQ of go ahead Edinburgh cricket club Carlton at the weekend.  Since all cricket activities have been suspended at the instigation of the jet stream, contestants have had much time to memorise encyclopedia, Wisden and other relevant reference books, so a keenly fought contest ensued.

Ever a man for the obvious, one of the picture rounds FB devised presented 20 faces all sharing a common Christian name.  He presents it to his world wide readership here so that they can test their powers of recall.  (Those reading on smart phones will have their eyesight tested as well as their memories).

Since this round was called Bob's Your Uncle - another painful statement of the obvious by FB - there was some discussion as to the origin of the phrase.  Subsequent research has revealed that there are alternative theories, including that vouchsafed by Carlton's Doughty Groundsman, that it was coined in 1887 when the Prime Minister Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, surprisingly appointed his nephew Arthur Balfour to the prestigious and sensitive job of Chief Secretary for Ireland.  Another suggested origin relates to a military commander at the height of the British Empire. Lord Frederick Roberts was held in high regard by his troops who referred to him affectionately as Uncle Bob and used the phrase to increase confidence among the ranks and imply that all would be well.

FB leaves his readers to decide for themselves.  However he is certain that the phrase has no cricketing origins, even though four of FB's portraits are cricketers.  There are several uncle nephew combinations in cricket but, for some reason, not as many as father and son.  They include Pakistani Test pair Javed Miandad and Faisal Iqbal, and New Zealanders Colin and Martin Snedden.  But have a thought for West Indian Mahendra Nagamootoo who played 5 Tests between 2000-2002.  He has two eminent cricketing uncles who number among the greats of West Indies cricket - Alvin Kallicharran and Rohan Kanhai.

Nagamootoo - Bob's not his uncle

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