The second in what I hope will be a series of little things
(mostly reposts, probably) , in honour of the upcoming Ashes series :-)
This bit is also from "Ala recherche du cricket perdu" by Simon Barnes -
its the Oval game , Oz v/s England, 1985 , with Gower captain, written by
Samuel Pepys :-) . As usual, all scanning errors are mine :-)
Sadiq [ the scanner ] Yusuf
The Oval Diaries
29 August-3 September I985
29. I up early, it being the first day of the Sixth Test match, at the
Oval, and bidden to attend. This is, to watch from an executive box the
five days, where my Lord hopes I will do much business with the company.
Dressed in a silk suit, which cost me much money, and a fine cloak with
gold buttons. To the Dog for my morning draught, where the talk is all of
cricket. Some say that England, leading the series 2 to 1, will surely win
the Ashes; others taking the opposite part foresee an Australian victory.
Then by land to the Oval, where I did break my fast with a brave dish of
neat's tongue. I did make game with the waitress, a good handsome wench,
and talked much of business with the company. At times did watch the
cricket, at which I marvelled greatly. Felt much for Mr Tthy. Robinson,
who did sorely miss out. Mr Dvd. Gower and Mr Gr. Gooch batted with much
freedom. Together, they scored 35I for the second wicket. Methinks the
Ashes are settled and the battle as good as won. Did drink a pint or two
of wine in the final session, and was a little too free to make mirth with
Mr Thos. Clarke, he being a sober and an upright man. After play to the
Leg, where much discussion of merits of this England side, against that of
I953. Great talk of our chances in the winter against the West Indies,
which I believe will come to nothing. Home, and so to bed.
30. Up betimes, and to the office, where infinite of business. Was
resolved to reach the ground by lunch, which I did, but fear I had left
some work undone. At the executive box, did find a great lunch ready: viz.
a dish of marrow bones. A leg of Mutton. A loin of veal. A dish of fowl,
three pullets and two dozen larks, all in a dish. A great Tart. A dish of
anchovies. A dish of prawn and cheese. The company was of men of much
influence, but they did not look greatly at the cricket. I was not a
little impatient of this, it being a day of much splendour. The Australian
team, much cried up when they arrived in the spring, did look in great
disarray, and surely cannot but lose both match and Ashes. Mr Gooch did
miss his double century by 4 runs. England lost their last nine wickets
for 91, which was something disappointing after yesterday, but the
Australians batted worse than did seem possible, and were 145 at close.
Cannot see that they will avoid the follow-on. I was exceeding free in
dallying with the serving wench, and she not unfree to take it. Then home
where did work on my accounts, and find I am worth 500 l more than I had
thought, at which my heart was glad and blessed God.
31 . All of the morning at home, Iying abed with my wife, then to the Oval
for the cricket. It being Saturday, there was less talk of business in the
executive box, and the company very merry. Did drink several pints of wine
before lunch, which was the best venison pasty that ever I had in my life.
Borrowed a perspective glass belonging to one of the company, and did
marvel to see the faces pulled by Mr Php. Edmonds at bowl. England in
command all day. Australia forced to bat on, at which some of my fellows
did criticise, saying the Australians had by this their only chance of
saving the series. I did speak up loud for Mr Gower, and praised him for
taking the bolder course. At day's end, Australia needed a full 161 runs
to save defeat by an innings, which does show both Gower and I have the
right of it. Made much game of this in the company, and did drink several
pints of wine after the play was done. Then to the***, where much more
drinking and talk. Thence home, and much troubled in finding the way
I. Lord's day. Exceeding ill all day. Did suspect I had taken food
poisoning at the venison pasty that I ate yesterday. To the parish church
for sermon, which was very tedious, and during it, God forgive me, I
slept. Very ill all day. Did think to send for the doctor, but methinks
doctors often prove more trouble than their worth. Great hopes of seeing
the victory tomorrow. To bed.
2. Up betimes, and rose today without any pain, which makes me think that
my pain yesterday was nothing but my drinking too much the day before.
Straight to my office, where did work in much haste, so to be at the
cricket by start of play, believing that play would not last long that
day, England being so mighty. Arrived at eleven, and no one but myself in
the executive box. The waitress came to ask what I required. I was very
bold with her, and, we being alone, soon discovered that, in the Latin,
nulla puella negat. Australia did succumb to England, making but 129 for
all their wickets, at which England won the Ashes 3 to 1. Mr Ls. Taylor
took the final wicket. Did wonder much at the change come over Mr Botham,
so fine has his cricket been this summer. He has taken 31 wickets in all,
at which only he seems unsurprised. He did sometimes bowl with a pace like
that of a West Indian. Mr Gower was exceeding merry on the balcony after
the match, and told Mr Ptr. West:'I'll warrant the West Indians be quaking
in their boots.' Later met with Mr Math. Engel, the scribe, who told me
that Gower's batting this summer does represent the greatest comeback in
history since that of Charles II, at which I cannot disagree. We played a
while at ninepens, at which I lost 5 s. So back home by land, and after
supper, to bed.