Sunday, 9 September 2012


Cricket and hangovers are not easy bedfellows.  Nevertheless several times a season lower league skippers such as Fantasy Bob will be confronted by one or other of his chosen elite eleven turning up with some indication that a good time was had by all the evening before.

Sometimes it is the power of the player's breath as he strides confidently into the dressing room that is the giveaway.  The paint peels under the chemical spray he exhales as he utters his cheery welcome to his colleagues.  This bright front rarely lasts long and half an hour later he is quietly slumped in the corner with his head in his hands.

Other players shamble into the ground and to no one's surprise confess that they did not manage to get to bed.  They will then say cheerily that they didn't manage to together for tea but had improvised.  It is shotrly after that they discover that lower league cricketers are not gastronomically as bold as they might be and will shun the Weetabix and mayonnaise sandwiches.  In his early career there were occasions when FB was that player when that last drink on the Friday night really did for him.  But no more.  FB's pre-match preparations are legendary for their abstention from anything that could undermine his performance on the next day.

Heightening desire but inhibiting performance
However this season there was one regrettable lapse.  Particularly so since the offending player who crawled in ashen faced and trembling with the indulgence of the night before was only 11 years old.  A quick examination of his player's demeanour revealed to FB all the indications that tequila slammers had been involved.  But not a drop of tequila had passed the young man's lips.  His hangover was instead produced by Haribo - vast quantities of which had been consumed late into the night as part of a sleepover with a friend.  FB expects that there will soon be a campaign for minimum pricing of Haribo legislation in the Scottish Parliament.

There was nothing to do but to suggest to the young man that he went home for a lie down and a replacement was successfully foraged for.

Fueled by Haribo or something
FB will stick to his view that cricket and hangovers - both alcoholic and Haribo are uneasy bedfellows.  However there are examples which disprove his view.  One of the most famous concerns Gary Sobers, by reputation always a man for a party.  In 1973 he was called back into the West Indies side touring England.  At the end of the First Day of the Lords Test, Sobers was unbeaten on 31.  Rather than return to the hotel with the majority of his team he  hooked up with an old friend with whom he made a night of it.  At 9 o'clock he put his last drink down, had a shower and got to Lords in time to pad up and get to the middle. His head cleared slowly, but his stomach began to complain.  With great resilience he soldiered on completing his century.  But at the afternoon drinks interval it became too much and he rushed off.  Asked by skipper Khanhai what was wrong sobers said that his stomach was acting up and the only thing that would help him was brandy and port.  So he was plied with a couple of large ones, had a lie down for a couple of hours and returned to the crease later in the day ending up undefeated on 150 when the innings was declared.  This was to be Sobers final Test hundred. He was 37.  Could he have achieved so much if Haribo had been a constant temptation to him?

The hair of the dog worked for Sobers.  Might the Haribo of the dog worked for FB's 11 year old star?

No comments:

Post a Comment