Arkadin 10th Anniversary Tour Report – Paris 2018

Arkadin’s Joe Cotterell – whose drunken late night liaison with the man wicketkeeping in this picture gave birth to this Tour – fends off a quickish delivery from Naseem in his innings of 33.  The two SAC opening batsmen, whose unbroken and extremely annoying partnership would spell defeat for Arkadin, are shown fielding at slip and gully.  [Photo: Zed Jameson]

A sunlit Friday lunchtime in the City of London on the first day of June was the starting point for a whirlwind 3-day tour that took in the delights of Folkestone, Calais, La Defense, Le Marais, Meudon, Porte de Saint Cloud, Versailles, Bailly-Fontenay and Le Quartier Latin.  All of these destinations were reached courtesy of a 2.7L Mercedes-Benz Sprinter CDI 612 and an extremely dedicated and tolerant driver called Russell whose only other defining characteristic was that he is the only upright, sentient human being to possess an IQ of zero.

Not the last laugh of the Tour. l-r: Archie Marr, Gerald Waterfall, Paul McKechnie, Chris Lawson, Julien Allen, Joe Cotterell, Shakaib Qureshi. [Photo: Zed Jameson]

Zed Jameson – our keenest player and official Tour photographer – was delivered to the rendez-vous by car two hours early, by a glamorous blonde companion who seemed quite besotted with him, until the point came where he had to introduce her to the captain and promptly forgot what her name was. By contrast Shaks, who arrived at the rendez-vous by private jet from Dubai, was still half an hour late, having bafflingly chosen to walk from the airport to save money on a taxi. A first Tour photo in the bag (taken outside Julien‘s office to the amusement of his colleagues) and we were gone.

The luxury minibus had a bit of extra space as only eight of us took the Eurotunnel. l-r: Paul, Chris, Archie, Gerald, Tom, Shaks, Julien. [Stragglers: Joe Cotterell, Alan Synnott and Ali Kashif]  [Photo: Zed Jameson]

The collective excitement made the trip down to Folkestone fly by. The Headingley test match was playing on the laptop and England were doing well against Pakistan, much to Shaks‘ poorly-concealed annoyance. The first can of beer was cracked around about Spitalfields market, five minutes into the Tour.  Word came through that Alan Synnott, who had spent the last three days in the white-hot belly of Hell (Disneyland Paris) was going to get to our hotel well ahead of us. Archie Marr had, shall we say, an incident involving an altercation between his bladder and Russell’s refusal to stop on the hard shoulder. The incident was resolved with an empty bottle of Proper Job, a couple of rolls of kitchen paper and much ribaldry all round.

What would Lilly say if she knew? She must never know.

Otherwise, despite:

a) the budget ice box (two black bin bags full of bags of ice from Tesco and fifty beers) melting then leaking all over the bus, thereby soaking upwards through Julien‘s canvas bag, drenching his clean change of underwear, and

b) a bit of business with an old lady at the border who just wanted an excuse to come aboard and personally search all the occupants,

Gerald was vehemently requesting some form of orifice search, but this customs official in the hi-viz jacket just wanted to check our passports and see us on our way.

things ran smoothly and before long we found ourselves on the train.

Le Couloir de l’Incertitude: l-r: Chris Lawson, Archie Marr, Julien Allen, Gerald Waterfall (batting), Tom Leach, Paul McKechnie. [Photo: Zed Jameson]

Zed – who seemed to be labouring under the misapprehension that this was a cricket tour – would be the person who consistently suggested we play cricket at any given opportunity and in every location. His first choice was inspired, as the “track” in the Eurotunnel behind our bus provided plenty of help for the seamers. Tom Leach, who had netted before the Tour, was particularly adept at finding the enormous crack on the left-hand side of the central steel corridor on a regular basis, making the ball bite and spit, thereby proving a handful for all the batsmen.


Notable was the bizarrely flattering effect of batting with an indoor ball on a 100mph train 40 metres below the sea bed of the English Channel. Chris Lawson showed himself an impeccable stylist with a range of front and back foot shots, wristy flicks and Caribbean flourishes which led to his being described in advanced despatches by one somewhat optmistic observer as “comedy good”; Gerald Waterfall, whose penchant for hunting shooting and fishing had previously been sufficient to sum up the entirety of his cricket technique, suddenly unleashed immaculately-timed lofted-driven straight sixes over the minibus and into the back wall of the carriage (one such shot travelled 300m, if you take into account the speed of the train at the time). Hopes were high for the real cricket the next day.


All good things have to come to an end. Paul McKechnie – in a rare display of yobbishness –  applauds sarcastically as one of the train security staff arrives to put a stop to our cricket, under threat of “confiscation” of our equipment. [Photo: Julien Allen]  All that was left was for Julien (below) to bore the absolute pants off everyone for the rest of the journey with his stories about the history of Arkadin CC. [Photos: Zed Jameson]

Between Calais and Paris, as the realisation kicked in that we were actually driving 300 miles to play cricket, we settled in for:

a) more test match and beer;

b) some wine (Australian Chardonnay, stopping short of bringing French wine to France);

c) a civilized debate about who would share hotel rooms with whom (or rather who had earned the right not to share with Gerald – this turned out to be everyone, so absent Synno got the red pill);

d) a startling view of the misty blood-soaked killing fields of WW1, and

e) a brutally explicit Whatsapp narrative of Alan Synnott‘s private activities as he waited patiently for us in his hotel room at the Ibis La Defense.

Synnott - to be sure, he won.
Synno, finally sated.

Getting into the Ibis La Defense itself was no picnic and Julien had to be somewhat firm with Russell as he prepared himself to cross the river (just to come back on himself) for the fourth time, only to realize that we were circling the wrong Ibis anyway. Once at the place, we wasted no time setting off into the night. 3 Uber drivers, 3 separate attempts at mangling conversations about the French football team’s match against Italy*. We flew past The Arc de Triomphe, Concorde, The Tuileries and The Louvre, all beautifully lit up. Julien had been given a great tip for the best late night eating in Paris, in the hottest, hippest area: Le Marais. We got there at 10pm to find it buzzing…

*(this match ended 3-1 to France and by the time you read this one more time for nostalgia value, France will have won the 2018 World Cup)

‘Tata Burger’ in the Marais – looks very comely…
…a young diverse hipster crowd inside…
…these placemats are interesting, it just seems to be…pictures of Joe, Zed and Gerald…
YAY, Alan’s here! Tour party almost complete… 

Erm…  [All photos: Zed Jameson]
Aaaaanyway, we all had a really nice time, the cocktails were good, the burgers interestingly shaped and the waiters were very accommodating. Julien decided it might be time to delegate some of the social aspects of the tour to a young and eager Zed, who had loads of good ideas, the main one being leading us on a wild goose chase through the streets of Paris at midnight and then stopping at a totally random bar, which turned out to be very pleasant. They set up a table for us outside. Archie ordered a G&T served with the tonic on the side in what looked – surprisingly appropriately – like a hospital urinal bottle. Shaks had two Mojitos which he says nearly killed him. Julien also had two Mojitos and both were completely different. The waiters were clearly making it up as they went along.

l-r Tom, Julien, Alan, Shaks, Chris, [extremely indolent waiters] Paul, Gerald, Archie [Photo: Zed Jameson]
The phenomenon known as ‘Gerald’s Black Teeth’ has started to take hold. Paul kept his pearly whites bright white, by sticking to beer. [Photo: Julien Allen]
Gerald was sold this little bag without realizing what was in it, thinking it was one of those lucky dip presents for his kids. This photograph constitutes his diminished responsibility plea. [Photo: Zed Jameson]
Arkadian_002_LI - Copy
Chris (seated, far left) nervously awaits his moment to speak French to the waiter, while Archie (dark jacket seated furthest from camera) is starting to feel the effects of  ‘Tata Burger’. [Photo: Zed Jameson]
The decision as to whether to head to something called the “Licking Lizard Lounge” or something else called – equally ominously – “The Jazz Club” was taken for us by our most experienced tourist, Alan Synnott, who made clear that we were not going “annywhere” which required us to pay for entry. As we were a morass of hopeless, gibbering idiots by then, we owe Alan‘s wise head a strong debt of gratitude. I would hate to think how the next day’s cricket would have gone if we’d stayed out any longer. We were in bed by 4am.

The “supplies”, such as they were, were purchased at 8am and delivered by means of a young Vietnamese man following me back over the river to the hotel with a tricked-out shopping trolley. [Photo: Julien Allen]
For some reason – no doubt anxiety at having forgotten something – Julien woke at 7am and hastily found the nearest supermarket to obtain some supplies for the evening’s festivities which were to be held at our new digs: an AirBnB in Bailly-Fontenay, near Versailles. Now this factlet is important, because Julien‘s waking-time meant he had only 3 hours sleep, which at 47 with a heart condition and anger issues, is not enough. This decisively affected two things:

  1.  his eyesight and judgement as regards the type – and quantum – of supplies to buy for 10 grown men in need of a consoling drink, and
  2.  his ability to captain a cricket side, make proper decisions about declarations, keep wicket, bowl and generally keep his head together on the field.
  3. #JustSaying

Match day! l-r back row: Paul, Archie…look you know who these guys are by now. All you need to know is that these smiles do not betray how we were actually feeling, physically. (Mentally, we were excited). [Photo: Russell Regan]
And after breakfast and table football in the hotel (Gerald was 8-0 up against Shaks, then lost 10-8, to the immense consternation of the Indian betting authorities) we were off around Paris to Meudon, a posh suburb of South-West Paris (think Richmond-on-Thames) to pick up our 11th man: Ali Kashif, a Pakistani “batting all-rounder” who spoke Urdu, French and Spanish but very little English. [We are greatly indebted to Ali for his efforts on our behalf.]

Like BOSSES – also rare photo of Zed, third from left [Useless Blackberry photo: Julien Allen]
Walking about in our smart blue tour shirts in Meudon, we were spotted by numerous locals and wished “bonne chance” as well as by some giggling girls (I really don’t see what’s so funny) and a contingent from the opposition driving past in a Renault Clio, whose first thought was apparently “these guys look a bit young”. Zed took a few snaps of Meudon then at midday we were off to the game.

The Standard Athletic Club is a 130 year old cricket club set up by English expatriates in 1890. In the 1900 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France lost to Great Britain in the final of the cricket (the only time cricket has featured in the Games) and 15 of the people on the field were from the Standard Athletic Club. We were honoured to be playing them, and their facility – recently opened to French members and featuring clay court tennis – was stunning. Things were looking up even further when Joe arrived, having Eurostarred it from London, not just on time, but before the start of play.

IMG_3523PHOTO-2018-06-03-19-04-57PHOTO-2018-06-03-19-04-58_4IMG_3522PHOTO-2018-06-03-19-04-58_3PHOTO-2018-06-03-19-04-58PHOTO-2018-06-03-20-28-47Match report – morning session: Arkadin won the toss and batted first. Shaks and Ali opened the batting and looked comfortable but boundaries were hard to come by, owing to the pitch having been mowed on Tuesday and the outfield’s grass being long and wet. Ali departed swinging and Joe came to the crease, playing immaculately but hitting only singles as the outfield claimed all solid strikes for itself (and Shaks wasn’t running twos, let alone threes). Chris – another stylist – came in at 4 after Shaks had departed for 28 and he played some beautiful looking drives and cuts, not one of which made contact with the ball. He reverted to just hitting it after that and duly got going. Early season rustiness was apparent in everyone. Gerald tried to take his pads off so he wouldn’t have to bat before lunch, but Chris duly jinxed that idea by succumbing with three balls to go and the umpire didn’t take the players off, so Gerald had to go in and extravagantly leave half an over of spin. 92 for 3 at lunch. Slow going, but we were ready for our fillet of salmon and tagliatelle lunch with oodles of rosé wine.

A generous welcoming speech from SAC captain Alastair Thomas ended with a toast to the Queen (a 130 year old tradition at the club).
Arkadin’s Australians Paul, Archie and Chris crossed their fingers behind their backs…
You could easily read this as a picture of Alastair talking and Julien saying to the camera “can you believe this guy?” but that isn’t what it is.

Match report – post-lunch session: There was a significant rosé-driven uptick in the scoring rate as Gerald blazed away, Joe found his slogging straps, Tom injected a bit of speed and energy then Paul, Archie and Zed (all of whom were disgruntled at being shoved down the order, presumably believing that the top nine people could all bat at number 3) came in and smote a few very valuable boundaries, including sixes from Archie and Gerald and a huge, potentially litigious six over mid-wicket by Zed which bounced just sort of a French family playing tennis with their children on the lawn. Julien and Alan never bothered to get changed into their whites, as the overs were elapsing (we took nearly 45 of them to get to 177). A declaration seemed polite as the grass wasn’t going to get any shorter and we would be leaving the opposition less than 40 overs to bat (and more to the point, less than 40 overs to dismiss them). Had skipper Julien known only two of the SAC team would ever actually bat, he would have left them 15 overs to get 250. But hindsight is a wonderful thing. Here are some superb long lens photos by Zed of the Arkadin batsmen (except Shaks and Paul, because Zed was umpiring when Shaks was batting and later decided to take no photos of Paul batting as he secretly despises him).

Lawson and Cotterell
Cotterell strikes out
Cotterell and Lawson discuss how to get things moving a bit quicker
Cotterell does that thing where he takes guard at the wrong end to confuse the fielders, umpires, spectators and scorers; Synnott looks on, admiringly
Lawson gets behind a quick one
Cotterell fends to leg
Lawson throws the kitchen sink at one
Waterfall tries to knock the leather off it
Waterfall tries to knock the leather off it
Waterfall tries to knock the leather off it
Waterfall knocks the leather off it
Lawson shows his guns and shares a joke with the fielders, none of whom respond
Leach enters the fray, anxious to get things moving some more
Marr is finally called upon, at a crucial moment in the game
Yes go on Marr, it’s your turn
Marr totally blanks the outgoing Leach because he’s a pom
Marr keeps his eye on the ball
Marr opts for an on-drive
Spectacular swing to leg from Marr ends up in the keeper’s gloves; fortunately Marr got nowhere near it
Waterfall explains to Marr that he needs one whole litre of rosé poured down his throat before he can continue
Jameson is up
Some lusty blows from Jameson helped take the Arkadin total to 177

The Arkadin fielding performance was skilful and enthusiastic, especially Tom Leach, who scampered and scurried like a sex panther (see tours passim) and the bowling attack (which consisted of everyone except Joe and Tom) was brave, dedicated, resourceful, hungry, relentlessly committed and almost wholly ineffective. Julien grew dildo hands, missed a stumping and a catch in one over from Shaks then took Shaks off in disgust, telling him he was “posing no threat to the batsmen”;  then he threw what’s known as a “wicketeeping strop”, hurling the gloves and pads to the ground, ordering Joe to put them on, in the wholly mistaken belief that this would improve matters.

There was some general disgruntledness from players who were bowled against their will, or weren’t bowled enough, or had to watch others bowling who were terrible, or were told to keep wicket when they wanted to bowl, or thought they were better than everyone else (despite the book showing that in terms of the team’s requirement of getting ten wickets, it was very hard to make any meaningful distinction between them). Generally nothing much went right because – in stark contrast to almost everything else that happened on Tour – when it came to the cricket, we didn’t have one scintilla of good fortune.

SAC scored 178 for 0 with 4 overs to spare, one of them (Todhi) got a ton to a ripple of muted applause from his team mates who had spent all afternoon watching him instead of batting themselves and at the end of the day we had been well and truly stuffedOnly an al fresco barbecue meal in a rose garden laced with rosé, followed by a wild trip to Porte de Saint Cloud to score 4000 bottles of beer and 250 bottles of wine and then an entire night spent bonding (ostensibly over the exhumation and autopsy of the cricketing calamity that had just occurred) would suffice to compensate for our distress. Luckily, this is exactly what the next twelve hours had in store.

InkedArkadian_0066789756_LI (2)
Arkadin captain Julien Allen gives a vote of thanks to Standard Athletic Club in the rose garden while doing his utmost to conceal his abject fury at the defeat
A toast to SAC and to their terrific hospitality and sportsmanship…
…and a plea to Alastair not to stand up again and say anything else…
…ignored by Alastair who couldn’t help himself, to the visible delight of the SAC players and Archie alike…
…until the chef shouted at Alastair to shut up because it was time to eat, already…
But Alastair finally did get a big laugh with the “how did you all feel about driving 300 miles to get laminated?” line


Just the thought of what happened next is making me exhausted, so I will let Zed’s instamatic tell some of the story as best it can….

Haha Synno, you’re hilarious
Yep, okay Synno, let someone else talk now…
Getting a bit lairy
Shaks begins his five minute fine for Gerald
Synno (weights & measures) holds court some more so he does
New boy Tom asks if the fines can be made out in drags from cigarettes instead of sips of beer…no dice.
Shaks, at 50 the oldest tourer, accepts a fine for wearing a bomber jacket in 30 degree heat
Shaks at about 2am
Shaks at about 3am
Shaks at about 4am
Not sure taking a nap with a glass in your hand is the best policy, Shaks
Awww…past his bedtime….
The hardcore posse: Paul and Joe
At 5am, Paul was still fresh as a daisy, making clever puns when everyone had been on willy jokes for about the last three hours.
What would Lilly say if she knew? She must never know.
The next morning we woke up and saw where we were…
…a very pleasant converted farmhouse in Bailly, about 3km from Versailles
Left: Russell, the designated driver
In the absolute sticks – nice though
And into the rue Mouffetard, in the Latin Quarter of Paris, for lunch
As we walked the cobbled streets, Zed took some arty shots (below)



Gerald spots an escargot poking out of Joe’s shorts – Synno does too, but doesn’t want to say anything
A look at Joe’s healthy-unhealthy choice; meanwhile snails, onion soups, entrecotes and frogs were the order of the day for the rest of us. And for Gerald of course…five bottles of rosé.


An emblematic fist-bump between Gerald and Synno
Perhaps with less standing around we wouldn’t have NEARLY MISSED OUR TRAIN


Le Pont de Chepaquoi
Zed’s photos are great, his spelling is getting better.
Julien’s attempt at The Eiffel Tower on Blackberry

Do do, l’enfant do, l’enfant dormira bien vite…

Nearly in Calais! This calls for some inexplicable masquerade involving brioches which only we understand!
This woman saved me £350, just by being there when we pressed the help button
The only time I picked up a bat on tour – in the Eurotunnel car park in Calais, facing a six year old whose parents (left) insisted he play with us. They were right to: he was good.
Shaks, still insisting on bowling
Immaculate tennis-ball car-park miniature-bat six-year-old-facing technique by the skipper
Archie hits the six-year-old out of the car park and into the field: telling him to “fetch that, snot-nose!”




A happy memory of sitting watching the game with vice-captain Joe, who advised that we declare on 177. I bowed to his far greater experience in these matters, despite wanting another 40 runs or so. That’s just cricket, Joe. I’m still grateful for your counsel and I’d follow your advice again.
Au revoir, Paris. Until next time?

Salutamos mores





Arkadin 10th Anniversary Season, 2018

I’m delighted to announce that the two showpiece events of our 10th Anniversary Season will be:

A match against Standard Athletic Club in Meudon, nr Paris (France), on Saturday 2 June.

A match against the MCC Women’s Academy at Caterham on Saturday 21 July.

We have one space left for the June tour to France (two nights) and a long list of players for the MCC game already.  Our other fixture is a T20 against KMPG on Thursday 21 June.

Details and appointments will follow nearer the start of the season.

Salutamos Mores


Julien Allen, Cpt, Arkadin CC





Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2018 to all Arkadians

Gentlemen (and ladies) of Arkadin

I want to wish you all a very happy Christmas and the best of health and prosperity for the New Year 2018.

Next year sees our 10th anniversary, which is a proud achievement for any serious wandering cricket club these days and I’m delighted to say we have some exciting plans to celebrate it.

We have a fixture lined up against The MCC Women’s Academy, which is a team made up of the most promising female players in the country – all on track for England – on Saturday 21st July at Caterham. This was organized with the kind help of Danni Warren, head of Middlesex cricket and MCC women. I am very much looking forward to hearing your Facebook boasts about our margin of victory. This will be a public event with some activities and possibly some sponsorship, so please bring all your families so they can watch you very much beat – and not at all lose to – the girls.

We are also in the process of organizing a Tour to Paris, France with two fixtures lined up. More to come on this. In the meantime our fixtures against KPMG and Clayesmore are safe as well as a trip to Highclere for those in the mood for Earl-based antics. A magnificent season in prospect.

No season-closing dinner this year, but instead a season opener in May 2018. Watch this space!

Here is a photo of an Ashes cricket party in happier times. Decent effort John Crawley and Ray Illingworth, I must say. Not so much Angus Fraser. And Hick and DeFreitas really should have considered covering up a bit more.

And for our Antipodean friends, a touching exchange of presents from two extremely popular legends of the game.

All the very best



Cpt, Arkadin CC


Arkadin British & Irish Lions v Arkadin Rest of the World – Match Report

Rare example of “happy teapot” from Jonny Lee – victorious captain of the awkwardly named Arkadin British & Irish Lions


Match played at Dulwich Sports Ground, Turney Road, Dulwich.  Rest of the World won the toss and elected to field.  British & Irish Lions – 110 all out (Norris 24, Smith A 30, Lee 20, Freedlander 3-12, Price 2-8). Rest of the World – 101 all out (Barker 31, Qureshi 28, Smith 2-4).  British & Irish Lions won by 10 runs. Man of the Match: Anthony Smith


A delightful combination of slate grey skies and a somewhat tetchy groundsman awaited us at the Dulwich Sports Ground at 6pm as we arrived.  As the rain came down, Chuckle brothers Joe Cotterell and Tom Cotterell (both Gloucestershire) arrived late, the latter looking like a bedraggled puppy who was wondering what the Hell he had agreed to turn up for.

When the covers finally came off at 6.45, the pitch was dry and the Rest of the World took the field, with Lions debutant (and local boy) Simon Norris (Northants) clipping Cape Town’s Matt Friedlander (RSA) through the off side with some ease (though he did play and miss a number of his 75mph deliveries too), while Hampshire’s normally laconic Gerald Waterfall opened his shoulders from the other end against Durban’s Mark Price (RSA) cudgeling four boundaries in two overs. Price snared his man, though, pouching a skier of his own bowling as Waterfall tried one too many shots. This brought Joe Cotterell gingerly to the crease, muttering to anyone who could get within earshot something to the effect of: “can the Saffer not bowl, please?” seemingly ignorant of the fact that ROW’s first three bowlers were all Saffers. The third, Zed Jameson – also on debut – was spanked for a big six by Norris but almost immediately struck back, snaring him for 24, caught by Marr (Aus) in the ring.

Matt Freidlander, seen here bowling for Ashtead CC in the Surrey Championship Premier League

Then a very fine piece of cricket saw the end of Cotterell: an outswinger from Price (Arkadin’s most capped front-line bowler) took a thick edge (Cotterell did well to reach it, considering he wasn’t actually sure who he was at the time) and Barker pouched the regulation slip catch, to his evident glee. Regrettably for the ROW this brought Surrey’s Anthony Smith to the crease. Smith had arrived at the ground first that evening, wearing the original Arkadin hoodie and a limited edition original Arkadin cap (of which there are only five still in existence) but which hadn’t been dusted down since 2014. Promptness and proper attire were not Anthony’s only attributes on show that evening. He stroked a six over long on with consummate ease, amidst a flotilla of firmly struck fours all around the wicket, with Marr his principal victim. When questioned about his cricket by the fielders, Smith just looked wide-eyed and said he hadn’t played for two years and didn’t know what was happening. Which wasn’t remotely annoying. He eventually retired for 25. He was supported in his endeavours by Essex’s Danny Buttleman, one of the few players involved in the game who understood that there were runs everywhere and that as it was fifteen overs a side, it was probably a good idea to take them. Lions skipper Jonathan Lee replaced Smith and looked fairly imperious, tucking into Trent Smith and Marr until a magical over from Friedlander accounted for Lee, Buttleman and Slone (first ball) all bowled with their stumps out of the ground. Slone looked particularly forlorn as he often wont to do during cricket matches, but the deliveries in question would have done for pretty much anyone on the field that day: it was a magical piece of cricket which left everyone on the Rest of the World team wondering aloud what would have happened to the Lions innings if Friedlander had bowled at the stumps in his first two overs. The last pair for the Lions, seen-it-all-before old pros Gloucesterhire’s Tom Cotterell and Leinster’s Alan Synnott saw the innings through before Arnfield bowled Synnott with a pearl and a brief return cameo from Smith ended when he was castled all ends up by Barker for 30 (almost as if someone up there somewhere was granting Barker his every wish).


Not the plan! – ROW danger man and Arkadin Player of the Season Archie Marr bowled by Smith for 0

Then disaster struck for the Rest of the World, in the shape of Anthony Smith and Gerald Waterfall‘s fucking dibbly-dobbly swing bowling which tore the absolute throat out of the Rest of the World’s top order. First, big-hitting danger man Archie Marr, bowled clean for 0, then Waterfall induced an edge from “we-expected-a-bit-more” Friedlander (14 first class matches for Boland and Cambridge UCCE, scoring 81 against Eastern Province at Port Elizabeth) for another duck, well held by Lions gloveman Norris. Smith’s second (and ROW’s third duck) was Adelaide’s Trent Smith, caught behind as well; it was 5 for 3 and the British & Irish Lions had complete command of the game. At the other end, patiently watching his companions surrender, was Shaks Qureshi. He’d sat in the Pakistani cabinet for two years (Minister of Finance and Industry for the People’s Party), so he’d seen a fair few catastrophes and wasn’t minded to panic. He continued to nurdle the bowling around until he felt it was time to open up, whereupon he duly did, despatching Synnott for six over long on and cuffing Slone to the square leg boundary in successive balls.

Arkadin co-founder and ROW tail-ender Barker, exiled in Abu Dhabi, batted like he’d never been away.

Watchful Australian left-hander Arnfield played a fine supporting role and while ROW were always behind the eight-ball, this pair kept them in touch. Lusty hitting from Berry, Price and particularly Jameson (with a massive six over long off, arguably shot of the day in a crowded field) took us within 36 of the total as Arkadin co-founders Barker and Allen were united at the crease in a seemingly lost cause. Barker then smashed thirteen off the first (his Durham university colleagues Lee and Cotterell J had come in for above average punishment) and all of a sudden Lions skipper Lee‘s complexion started to seem a bit paler. But it was too much to ask; and frankly the Lions were too good, particularly in the field with Buttleman and Tom Cotterell excelling. Despite some comic antics at the end with Norris – impeccable with the gloves up to that point – dropping Allen then not running him out (as he was so certain of his demise he had walked) the ROW fell ten short. A mention for one superlative piece of cricket amongst many: the catch by Synnott to get rid of Berry, as remarkable for the dexterity shown by the catcher as for the celebration by the bowler, Slone, who behaved like he had just strangled a murderous paedophile, putting an end to his reign of terror.

Arkadin ROW skipper Allen beaten all ends up by a devilish Tom Cotterell delivery. Keeper Norris tidies up.

A convivial evening then was brought to a close with a barbecue and three bottles of Alfred Gratien Champagne as well as lashings of beer. Some old acquaintances were renewed and new ones made. We mourned absent friends, Nick Pontt, Ben Clark and others. A few memories of Arkadin trips of old (Oxford, Eton, Clayesmore) were rekindled and we made our way into the night.

Cotterell J (0 and 0-11); Allen J (4*); Barker K (31 and 1-12)
Lee J (20 and 1-11); Berry C (7)
Cotterell J (0 and 0-11); Cotterell T (7* and 2-10); Synnott A (0 and 1-27)




Gentlemen of Arkadin

Our itinerary for our Dorset trip two weeks today (Wednesday 12th July):



Congregate at the Heston Blumenthal Popham Little Chef (Drayton, Barton Stacey SO21 3NF) at the mouth of the A303 for Olympic Breakfasts.



Leave for Clayesmore School, Iwerne Minster, Blandford DT11 8LL



Match against The Clayesmore Cormorants CC starts. We bat first and knock up 300. Then we roll their sorry west country arses. Exceptional lunch and tea are both served on the lawn.



Match ends. Rendez-vous at the Talbot Arms after a brief Champagne presentation.



Accommodation has been made available at Devine Boarding House, Iwerne Minster DT11 8NF.  So far, myself, Joe, Paul, Chris and Gerry have said we are staying over. Please shout if you would like to stay over and I will get you a bed.

Thursday 13th


Golf at Ashley Wood GC at 10.10am: Julien, Joe, Chris, Paul already signed up. Anyone else, let me know.

Match Fee

£25, plus £10 for accommodation.



Julien Allen
Captain, Arkadin CC

d +44 (0)20 7423 8114
m +44 (0)7921 106214



KPMG CC v Arkadin CC – match report

Match (T20) played at Dulwich Sports Ground. KPMG CC won the toss and elected to bat. KPMG CC – 148 for 8. Arkadin CC: 149 for 5 (Lee J 88). Arkadin CC won by 5 wickets.


Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
   Rode the six hundred.


– Alfred, Lord Tennyson: The Charge of the Light Brigade


Like Cardigan’s army, the brave cavalrymen of Arkadin were not given a prayer against the guns of KPMG on this warm June evening in South London. A rejigged and patched up Arkadin eleven, reeling from heavy, late casualties: in memoriam Corporals Cotterell and Synnott of the Irish Guards, both of whom had deserted us for a lesser, Marylebone-based club; RIP Major Buttleman and Gunner Price, who fell victim to the domestic requirements of ‘half term’ shore leave (these military metaphors are coming undone already – Ed.) and, sadly, valete last year’s 4-wicket hero Lieutenant Waterfall, fallen himself, at the hurdle of “a mate coming to see me for a night out in London”. Onward, half a league onward, rode the six hundred (well, ten of us…plus our promisingly named ringer, Dilshan, who was donated by the other side for the evening) but unlike the doomed Light Brigade at Balaclava…we prevailed! With an over to spare.

This now happily annual fixture against the offshoring, HMRC-dodging one-percenters of KMPG, is the brainchild of Chris Berry, proud Arkadian and possessor of some of the weakest chat ever heard on a field of play. An example:

to cover fielder: “Paddy can’t hit it off the square, so stay close in.”

Paddy effortlessly caresses the next ball through extra cover for four

– “Okay, Paddy can hit it off the square, but he’s just not very consistent with when he’s doing that.”

collective groans from entire KPMG team

What we can give Chris credit for though, is organizing a very decent game of cricket AND staying very bright and chirpy despite his heavily-backed outfit absolutely Theresa Maying the whole thing up.

Having lost the toss, the steady seam of Jonny Lee and Dilshan opened up the bowling for Arkadin, largely in a defensive effort, to minimize the impending carnage from the KPMG openers (“Wild” Bill Holland and Eugene from Grease). Mission accomplished: a combination of gentle outswing from Lee and a slowish pitch prevented KPMG from getting off to anything that could remotely be described as a flyer. Lee bowled Eugene from Grease with one which nipped back and pierced his otherwise technically perfect defences. Then Bill went after our first change seamer Stephen “The Axeman” Hunter, spanking two length balls straight back at the bowler, who dropped both. (Hunter deserves praise not only for creating the chances in the first place, but also for not raising our expectations by looking like he was ever going to hold onto them). He eventually snared his man though, beautifully caught by Paddy Arnfield, diving, one-handed on the midwicket boundary. Wild Bill – always somehwhat put out when scoring less than 150 – politely asked the question of the umpires as to whether Paddy’s arm was on the boundary rope when he pouched it, but thought better of pursuing that line of enquiry once he’d seen the beginnings of the blaze of sanguinary controversy which threatened to ensue. [For the record, Dilshan (who let’s remember was “one of them”) was standing right there and he was clear that no part of Paddy’s body went near the boundary rope. The smile on his face as he confirmed this was a little disconcerting but we’ll let that pass.]

As batsmen came and went with the regularity of nil tax returns from the KPMG post room (Lee grabbing two more scalps in his four-over spell), the highest strike rate on display was ” sundries”: a bountiful cluster of no-balls and wides offered up by the rusty Arkadian attack, each counting for two runs. Nigel Slone bowled two overs as tidy as my youngest daughter’s bedroom (she’s pretty OCD) while seamers Paddy Arnfield, Trent Smith and George Dowson showed excellent promise, with their steady repeatable actions and solid seaming technique, frustrating the book-cookers who were looking to press on. Jacob Gilkes bowled an over of what could cautiously be described as leg-spin, during which time seemed to stand still and the entire planet seemed to fall off its axis. Once this bewildering, hellish vortex had ended, the scorebook showed that there were eight deliveries and sixteen runs scored: not nearly sufficient to adequately describe this veritable event horizon of an over, which really defies objective analysis and about which I shall say no more (except to remark that Jacob generously suggested that a single over was, probably, all things considered, enough).

The ruthless traitor Paul “Edward Snowden” McKechnie came in for the opposition at five, looked very smooth as always, but was run out by a tracer bullet throw from Dilshan at square leg for just one run, which made us feel a bit sorry for him for about three seconds. Archie Marr, having fully recovered from last year’s elbow surgery, span the ball sharply and bowled a tight line, all of which kept a firm lid on the potential onslaught which was threatening to explode at any moment. At this point, I think everyone present would also like to thank Archie for bringing along a supporter (named Lily) who was not only the most charming company, but also showed bewildering levels of interest in the game: an extremely rare and very welcome occurrence.

Late in the order for KPMG, came a man who shall only be known – largely because I never thought to ask his name, which was probably Cobus or Faff or something – as “The Saffer”. Just from the way he wielded his weapon, one could sense the potential for heavy damage. He negotiated an over from Allen (manifestly the slowest bowler he had ever faced) before tucking into Marr in the final over and spoiling Archie’s hitherto impeccable figures like a particularly plentiful splash of bird guano on a newly polished E-Type Jag. KPMG’s innings closed on 148.

“The Saffer” would return during the Arkadian innings, his tussle with Jonny Lee providing the fascinating centre piece of the match, giving everyone else on the field the rather misleading impression that they were actually taking part in a proper game of cricket. The Saffer immediately announced his intentions (and considerable wheels) with two 70mph snorters, bravely kept out by Arnfield. Lee then kept out a vicious yorker of his own, before glancing a stray one to the long leg fence. Game on. What followed was a succession of thrusts and parries (steady on, innuendo-lovers) between two very fine cricketers. The Saffer responding to each forcing shot from Lee by tucking him up or imposing a false stroke thereafter. A climactic moment in the skirmish came when the Saffer pointedly moved third man into the leg side, only for Lee to open the face of the bat and guide the next ball to the vacant third man boundary: almost ungentlemanly conduct. Chris Berry sought to profit from the Saffer’s parsimony at the other end with his succession of what he called “doosras” (very straight slow balls which grew little knees, dropped down upon them and positively BEGGED to be laminated for six) some of which bamboozled Lee so completely that he offered two catches to Eugene from Grease who, for the good of the match, dutifully shelled them. [He would gain his revenge by running Lee out for 88 with three overs to go, forcing a squeaky-bum time ending to the contest.]


Paddy Arnfield got us off to a positive start.

Aussie Openers Trent Smith and Paddy Arnfield had done us proud with a positive start never letting the KPMG-ers settle into a rythmn. Having moved to 39, with 110 to score off 12, Jonny Lee was joined at the wicket by Dan Hyde, who hadn’t walked onto a cricket field in 22 years, but it didn’t show. Actually let’s be honest, it did show. But he still did bloody well, 17*, negotiating one thunderbolt from the Saffer before hitting one of their seamers for six over square leg. His support for Lee as the latter opened his shoulders was invaluable. Dilshan perished for 0, looking to disrobe one short delivery from KPMG’s opener only for it to clip a bail on its way past him. Thus it fell to Stephen “The Axeman” Hunter and Archie Marr to score the fifteen needed from two overs, and the Axeman obliged – releasing the pressure with a powerfully struck cut shot and a handsome drive – taking us past their total with a handful of deliveries to spare.

As the sun set over the trees, a barbecue dinner was served with jugs of beer and the players congregated outside the pavilion for an al fresco post mortem. I’m sure all those present would agree that if anyone knows of a better way to spend a summer evening with your clothes on than the way the twenty two men (and one woman) of KPMG and Arkadin spent yesterday evening, then do keep your description of it brief, because we won’t believe you.

Sincere thanks to Chris Berry for devising the fixture and organizing the facilities. Please don’t read too much into the levels of obvious disrespect being displayed here. We love you and we love KPMG. Until next year!


Nothing awkward about this handshake at all…

Salutamos Mores



This one is going into the next f**king postcode


NB: some of the statistics quoted below are approximate.

A crack team of Arkadian mercenaries assembled in Dulwich last night for a superb game of T20 against the evil offshore tax avoidance specialists and occasional cricketers of KPMG, finished off in the gloaming with Arkadin needing 6 off the last ball but falling agonizingly short.  Losing the toss with bad light scheduled for 8.15pm was the second worst thing Allen did all day, after demanding everyone wear white then turning up to the game with not one single suitable item of clothing to wear on a cricket field.

The heart of any well-connected Arkadian  will have sunk lower than Simon Danczuk’s reputation at the first sight of “Wild” Bill Holland, scourge of Highclere, opening the innings for KMPG. Six overs in, they had 142 on the board and we needed a miracle of the Jesus Christ variety, as opposed to one by Derren Brown which wouldn’t do.  Cometh the hour, cometh the man: Arkadian stalwart Alan Synnott, whose two ‘warm up’ overs had gone for 39 and 43 respectively. He displayed the class and resilience of a real competitor, promptly despatching both openers, including Bill, foxed and bamboozled (hard to do both at once – he’s a multitasker) by one that danced and spat, caught clean by a nonchalant Pup at lazy mid on without breaking stride (because he couldn’t).  The other poor fellow, stumped Allen: one more desperate soul for the roll call of shame.

The game was now well and truly afoot.  We began to turn the screw as neo-Arkadian Chris Berry, KPMG captain, beard-flexer and the only man ever to be turned down by the Australian paralympics team for being “just too paralympic”, came in at 4, reducing the overall run rate by 2,300%. Gerald Waterfall drilled home his steady medium pacers with the precision of someone who hadn’t bothered to warm up, while Synnott rediscovered the majesty of his Arkadian pomp at the other end with that rarest of appearances at a T20, a maiden. A few streaky blows by KPMG tax return fiddlers and some truly nugatory fielding efforts meant the runs still came, but it looked at one stage that we were at least going to keep them to under 500 for their 20 overs.

Joe Cotterell, perhaps unaware that he would need to come out and bat in the dark, took five minutes to set his field before bowling a 33mph head high beamer which got laminated for four by a KPMG batsman who had only taken up cricket fifteen minutes before the match started.  Joe later settled down to a good rythmn and snared another clueless shylock with a genuine leg break which actually hit the deck before taking out the middle stump.  The fact that it pitched a couple of centimetres in front of the stump is really neither here nor there.

Then Mark Price arrived. Which was nice.

The book-cookers’ last pairing, including Arkadian blood traitor Paul McKechnie (whose leg-glance for six was a highlight) traded a few bustling singles and fruity blows, closing on 488. Quite a task for Arkadin, then, but greatly assisted by the use of a pink ball for our innings, half of which was played out in the sort of light which would have a Chilean miner politely suggesting to the umpires that this really was getting a bit much.  Star man Danson cuffed a couple of early length balls to the fence, then top bats Lee and Clark settled down into a veritable underground orgy of painful punishment spankings. KPMG haven’t chased so much leather since they had to bailiff the Backstreet Bar in Mile End for not paying their accounting bill. Lee’s exquisite off- and cover-driving was matched only by Pup’s corn-fed cross-bat power-blasting over long on.

Then Arkadian opening batsman and all round great bloke Paddy Armfield (umpiring, by now) decided he had had enough of watching Lee bat, so he triggered his sorry arse like a cold hooked fish and sent him back, which – now bear with me here – was a really good move if you think about it, because it made it into a really close game which everyone could enjoy…so we’re all totally cool with this, right?  Luckily Joe Cotterell and Richard “Creepy” Crowley were on hand to keep the rate going, Joe with a succession of flicks and glances out of the Dermot Reeve playbook and Creepy rediscovering the look of a long haired, loose-shirted Ian Botham and caning the holy living fuckoons out of anything vaguely small pink and spherical which came his way.  Solid support from Nigel (disgusted with his own performance, as all great players are) and Mark Price…oh, hi Mark, you made it? – and above all, an exquisite cameo by Jim “don’t call me Si” Howells, who vaporized two late ones over cow corner, ensured Arkadin got as close as dammit to the total but needing 6 off the last three balls, from which we scored the rather more decisive figure of 0.

A thoroughly good time was had by all, except Paddy, of course, who will take his decision to the grave.

Post scriptum: if anyone else OTHER than Joe needs a lift next time, please say so. Joe whined all the way down about “mincing around in a gay car” and “looking like cnuts”, then accepted a lift in a fucking Datsun Sunny to get home, without so much as a by your leave.

Post post scriptum: many thanks to Chris Berry, Bill and all the lads at KPMG for hosting us so well.  We look forward to seeing you again next year.  And some of you in Arkadin colours too…

Post post scriptum: we’re playing Hampstead on 4 September. Sign up.