Saturday, 12 July 2014


Fantasy Bob was disappointed to read a recent report of further vandalism at the ground of Glenrothes CC.  This club has suffered more than most - and certainly more than it deserves - from such mindlessness.  Glenrothes CC has also suffered from the mindlessness of a previous post by FB.  How can one club put up with so much?

To FB's mind, no punishment is too gross for anyone who would vandalise a cricket ground.  A life sentence facing leg spin bowling is the least that the courts should stipulate.

Vandalism gives the Vandals a bad name.  Originally the Vandals were an East Germanic tribe, or group of tribes, who were first heard of in southern Poland, but later moved around Europe establishing kingdoms in Spain and later North Africa in the 5th century.  Renaissance and Early Modern writers characterised the Vandals as barbarians playing a major part in the sacking and looting of Rome and the term widened to the destruction of works of art and by extension anything else.

There is no suggestion that the original vandals desecrated cricket grounds - and indeed more contemporary writers suggest that they had great respect for Roman cultural achievements (they just liked looting them a bit more).  So real vandals might have regarded the facilities of Glenrothes with proper respect.

FB has to tread with care here and not mount the high horse too mightily.  For he had an early career in vandalism.  Some junior members of go ahead Edinburgh cricket Club Carlton, familiar with FB's increasingly geriatric manoeuvres in the field, may be forgiven for thinking that he was actually involved in the sacking of Rome.  But he missed this event.  Just.
FB missed out on the sacking of Rome

No, his career dated to a time in Aberdeen when he lived in a new house on a new development. All around chez FB (site of the only L shaped cricket pitch in the history of the game) were houses being built.  This being a civilised time before health and safety was invented, there were no security fences anywhere. FB and his chums were free to roam through the shells of soon-to-be-luxury executive homes.  Bliss it was to be alive and all that.

Generally FB and his chums were well behaved on their expeditions to those buildings.  But one summer evening for some reason - perhaps an overindulgence in sherbet fountains or the state of the moon - they took to throwing roofing tiles from the higher points of a building.  They watched as they cartwheeled to the ground and smashed into pieces.  This proved exciting for 10 minutes or so and then the gang went on to something else more gentle and civilised.

This incident faded quickly from FB's mind, but it seems to have troubled the building company who did not share his youthful excitement at converting a stack of pristine tiles into a pile of rubble.  Their preference was definitely for a set of tiles which would be nailed on to the roofs of their emerging executive townhouses.  So a couple of days later the police appeared at FB's front door - (Fit like, fit like, fit like................) seeking information about what he knew about the incident.

Even at that tender age FB understood the importance of walking when he had tickled the ball behind.  He would not have dreamed of doing otherwise.  There was no need for Aberdeen's finest to test their range of interrogation techniques.  A seat in the front room with his Mum and Dad was all that was needed.

'Yes,' he knew about it.  Sob.  'Yes,' he was there.  Sob, sob. 'Yes,' he took part.  Sob, sob, sob.   Most of FB's chums appear not to have been cricketers for they failed to walk.  FB was left shouldering the burden with one other boy - no prosecution but restitution of the damaged materials.  No pocket money for a few months.

FB gave up vandalism after that.  He has forsworn sacking Rome.  Roof tiles are safe in his hands.

He still walks.

Cricket and vandalism - they just don't go together.


  1. The most notorious example of vandalism on a cricket ground was, as FB will remember, the Headingly incident of August 1975, when the Test pitch was dug up and saturated with oil in an overnight raid. The perpetrators were protesting against the conviction of George Davis for armed robbery. Unfortunately for England, who were heading for victory in the match, no further play was possible and Australia won the series 1-0. Luckily for FB, his childhood rooftop antics did not lead to similarly delinquent behaviour in later life - the quiet word from the neighbourhood policeman clearly did the trick.

  2. Yes, FB denies any involvement in the George Davis incident.