A Milan C.C. Vetran Looks Back
by David Hill, Milan
It's years since I've played
Some here will say I never did!
They'll say: "What! You a bowler!
Who are you trying to kid?!"
They'll snigger, maybe, at my
When in my hands the willow was wielded,
Or at my lumbering efforts
When the M.C.C. team fielded.
And when I look back at those
From '88 through to '92
The statistics will not let me down —
They'll give me what I'm really due.
Sixty-six times in those five
For the M.C.C. I appeared,
And in only nine innings from fifty-one
For a duck was I cheered and jeered.
And only sixteen times out of
Did I go home without a wicket,
And I held on to twenty-five catches dropped three.
What a wonderful game is this cricket!
I was bowled out by Brown,
Oakes, Fortune and Day,
Caught by Barker, and various blokes,
But the first time I played Bob Cowper said:
"David, there were a couple of nice strokes."
And I slept with Sweetman one
night up at Zouz,
Kept awake by his snores' chain-saw buzz;
When I told him, he said:"You should've given me a poke —
That's what Marcia does."
And I was bowled out by Doug
Hind and Chris Onions,
And I was l.b.w. whilst shuffling to more,
But I clouted Reg Scarlett, West Indian,
Back past him for a straight four.
The hangover breakfasts at
Boozy dinners down on Lugano lake,
The barbeques under the plane tree,
Autumn crocuses, Chris O'Keefe's snake,
Trips to Switzerland, Germany,
Wives Sheila, Manuela, Claire, Penny...
Euratom, Alpine, EPO, MCCC,
The people and places are many.
And I bowled out Peter Hermann
and Putman H.T.,
John Dexter, Graham Hanson, Mike Sale.
Cricket always ends up as statistics,
But before one thing the figures pale:
That's friendship. And that's
what it gave me,
My years with the old M.C.C.,
— A sense of belonging when I was alone,
And often a reason to be.
I watched players come, hit
leather and go,
The brave, mediocre and bad,
And sod all the runs made, wickets taken,
For friendship was the best friend I had.
The Hursts, Hansons and
Los, Brookes, Spyer and Banks,
Mitchell, Chambers — even O'Keefe —
They all deserve some kind of thanks.
Nicks Lynam and Simon, John
All long gone to seek pastures new,
But I'm here to say how good friendship was
With them — and still is with those left — that's you.