Venues for 2016

Cape Town
The inspiration for this picture gallery is Newlands in Cape Town, where England are playing South Africa in the second Test. Where else can you play cricket with Table Mountain and a brewery in the background?
Kapi'olani Park, Honolulu
Hands up if you’d fancy a game of cricket here? Matt Barrett writes: “Kapi’olani Park, home of Honolulu Cricket Club, is a great ground suitable for cricket all 12 months of the year. And after the cricket Waikiki beach is only a few minutes walk away.” Sounds brilliant.
Dharamsala, India
How about this for one of the most attractive grounds in world cricket? Colin Grant sent us this picture of the international cricket ground in Dharamsala, India, in the foothills of the Himalayas
Wormsley Cricket Club
A little closer to home is Wormsley Cricket Club, which was the creation of US-born billionaire Sir Paul Getty. We’re sure you’ll agree it’s one of the most beautiful English backdrops
Audley End, Essex
Steve W tweeted: “As far as picturesque cricket grounds go, you do not need to look any further than Audley End in Essex.” Agree? We suspect there are plenty of balls which have been lost in that lake
Bude, Cornwall
It must get pretty blustery at this cricket ground, which stands proudly at the top of the cliffs in Bude, Cornwall
Spout House CC
Imagine bowling 25 overs unchanged from that end! Mark Thomas emailed: “Maybe not the best, but one of the most amazing is Spout House CC in Bilsdale, N Yorks. Recreated from a farmer’s field each year for the last 150 and with a slope so severe it makes Lord’s look like a billiard table. Prince Harry was bowled by a 12 year-old there and WG Grace was out first ball to the local blacksmith. And it’s achingly pretty too.”
The famous tree at Canterbury has made a captain’s fielding positions during Kent matches slightly more complicated since 1847
Valley of the Rocks
Cricketers from Devon might recognise this ground in the Valley of the Rocks…
Cholmondeley Cricket Club
Never mind the natural beauty of Cholmondeley Cricket Club in Cheshire… what about this for a forward defensive? Great stride.
Bamburgh Cricket Club
James Quinlan sent in this stunning image of Bamburgh Cricket Club in Northumberland. The hosts have made this ground their fortress in recent seasons…
Like cricket and plane spotting? You really should get yourself to Queenstown in New Zealand…
Singapore Cricket Club
Surely even master blaster Chris Gayle would struggle to clear the skyscrapers dotted around Singapore Cricket Club?
Portchester Castle, Hampshire
Portchester Castle in Hampshire takes some beating for scenery. Castle? Tick. Fort walls? Tick. The sea? Tick. Yachts? Tick.
Basin Reserve, Wellington
The Basin Reserve in Wellington is one of the more quaint Test grounds in international cricket. You’d get a decent view from the houses built on the hillside.
Sedbergh School, Cumbria
“Rather nice.” That’s how Martin South describes Sedbergh School in Cumbria. It’s hard to disagree
Bandipur in Nepal
Bhokraj Gurung is a huge fan of cricket, street-style, in Bandipur, Nepal
Milton Abbey School
A grand pavilion, immaculate outfield and a backdrop of rolling hills, Milton Abbey School ticks plenty of boxes
Children playing cricket in Galle
Oliver Doward took this just outside Galle Stadium. Spot the real cow at cow corner
Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle – so picturesque it could have come straight out of a fairytale
St Moritz
Cricket, Swiss style. “It may be a bit cold but this is how we do it in St Moritz,” says Josh Thompson
Cricket match in Chitral
A touring team takes on the locals in Chitral, northern Pakistan. Thanks to Iqbal for sending this in
Test Match game
The prize for the most nostalgic suggestion goes to Gerard Ross: “Living room carpet in 1980, watched by a crowd of my dad.” What better way to end the slideshow?



Wishing a very Happy New Year 2016 to all the members of Arkadin Cricket Club and their families.

Julien Allen, Captain


The Arkadin Annual Dinner 2015


After a 3 match season (W1 D1 L1) there was a healthy and convivial turnout last night for the Annual Arkadin Dinner 2015, which was a somewhat truncated affair, due largely to the many distractions that befell our captain this year, such as almost falling down dead.

As such, there were no speeches or awards or quizzes this time – and in the end, very little bossy behaviour from the skipper at all, but instead a very convivial and informal evening in the Red Room at Jamies in St-Mary-at-Hill – a private function for tired thirsty Arkadians, old and new.

In batting order (and ‘how out’):

  1. Joe Cotterell (RHB, LB, WK) Mythical Arkadian, dismissed cheaply by some dodgy Aussie Shiraz Danny Buttleman bought, instead of his usual Moulin-a-Vent vieilles vignes.
  2. Sam Taylor (RHB, OB) Beard to give Moeen Ali a run for his money and better hair. Played all round a straight one (by talking his yard cricket career up so much he’ll be opening for us in June).
  3. Jonny Lee (RHB, RM) Highest Arkadin run-scorer ever. Came in fuming about Seb Coe and never received satisfaction. Six and out (for a cigarette).
  4. Tom Rischbieth (LHB, OB) Much less frenetic than his cousin. The most erudite professional Australian Rules player ever. Stumped (by the concept of a Jonny Wilkinson tribute film).
  5. Richard “Creepy” Crowley (RHB, RM) Always comes to the drinks. The rims of his glasses get thicker and blacker every year. Bowled (over by Joe’s stories about Danny once Danny had left).
  6. Danny Buttleman (RHB) Life and soul of the party.  Run out (for a cigarette).
  7. Chris Olsen (RFM, RHB) Didn’t enjoy seeing himself on screen. Caught (drinking the beer bucket dry while everyone else was watching the film).
  8. Mark Price (RFM, RHB) Timed out by the umpires, having arrived at 9pm already pissed. At least I hope he was.
  9. Ed Rogers (RHB) Wore a T-shirt, because he knows the unwritten rule that the more successful you are, the worse you dress. Snicked off (for a cigarette).
  10. Alan Synnott (RHB, OB) formed a partnership with Allen as usual (at the back discussing Irish rugby for longer than is strictly necessary). Not out.
  11. Jason Cameron (RHB, LB) Eurosport commentator on AFL (niche-tastic equivalent of covering Crown Green Bowls on Dave). Batted with broken foot as he had in May, and fell on his stumps.
  12. Twelfth Man: Nick Pontt (RHB, RF) Single-handedly responsible for the introduction of the word Ballbag into the new edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, with a full cover illustration of him.

Umpire: Julien Allen – finally doing what I was meant to do. Wisely chose an event involving copious drinking and eating of carb-heavy unhealthy food despite cardiac condition. Tried to get out of the way of the ball while sitting on a shooting stick and broke everything.

The one record of the season came in the form of a four minute “film” of this year’s Clayesmore match report, read by a real actor (Anthony Head), thus making it sound much better than it actually is. The rest was cobbled together by archive footage and general nonsense.  Apologies for the technical difficulty on some of the video. They say a bad workman blames his tools – well I’m a bad workman and as it happens my tools are shit too.

To protect Pontt’s reputation (and those of you with little children who are better at computers than you are), you need a password to access this film and the password is ElephantDiver

A very happy Christmas to all and here’s to another brilliant season next year.


Clayesmore Cormorants CC v Arkadin CC – “Match report”


Match played at Clayesmore School, Iwerne Minster, Dorset. Arkadin won the toss and elected to field.  Clayesmore CC 245-6 dec (Owton 61, Lack 55) Arkadin CC 228 for 9 (Stead 102). Match drawn.

The Flickering Candle by Julien Allen

So back to Clayesmore once again,

That alma mater which we prize,

To draw a cricket match, but more:

To flourish under Dorset skies,

To cleanse our souls, and write a tale,

Of legends of the hallowed track,

Like Alex Stead, without whose runs,

We’d never be invited back.

And Rischbieth, who is full of spunk,

And wants to bat and bowl and field,

And make the teas for all I know,

A nascent superstar revealed,

His off-breaks did for Owton, after

Whiteside’s stumps he’d gently splayed,

While at the other end, Pup barked,

Induced a snick from Price’s blade.

Chris Olsen whirled his arms once more,

Too good for Swabes, trapped him in front,

Wait, who’s that coming out to bat?

It’s Kelvin Barker. What a c….ongenial fellow.

Unfazed by all the sledging from

The members of his erstwhile team,

Young Kelvin looked for all the world,

Like someone who hadn’t picked up a cricket bat of any description since two thousand and thirteen.

Arkadin legend Synnott tweaked,

And twirled, he made it bite and spit,

Though wicketless, he showed his class,

His stats were very far from shit.

His comrade Dunne was also there

(While I’m correcting my mistake)

These Irish wizards did us proud

And showed me how to pronounce “craic”.

A Beaujolais-free Cotterell then,

Displaying wrist spin, sharply spun,

Inducing gasps of disbelief,

From all, each time he landed one.

Mat Corica will suffer most,

The demons of posterity,

Stumped Allen, bowled Joe C? That shame

Will trigger years of therapy.

Si – sorry, Jim, I’ll get that right –

Jim Howells, turning it both ways

Not quite enough to calm the Corms,

Despite Si’s efforts, Lack did blaze.

Then Lack and Matthews took the piss,

Declared it closed on two four five,

Two Cotterells in at three o’clock,

(And one returned at 3.o5).

When Lee, with customary style,

Had plundered Corm pies just for thrills,

He’d formed a partnership with Joe,

They perished like two imbeciles.

So Stead it was who steadied things,

His lusty hitting quite sublime,

He got us close as dammit, but

Ran out of partners – and of time.

In younger days, when in our pomp,

We’d come to play here – to compete,

Our batsmen strode with chests out-puffed,

Our bowlers scampered in the heat,

Our fielding soared in twenty-ten,

Our catches held – our cordon tight,

(Our wicketkeeping hasn’t changed:

It’s still a holocaust of shite).

Instead, we’re all much wiser now,

A smarter bunch than in our prime,

Arkadians play a longer game,

And save ourselves for Badger-time.

A fiendish quiz, with sprinkled Corms,

Some sporting telly kept it fun,

Joe’s Cuthberts won, of course they did

Unmitigated nerds, each one.

We may be old, we may be bruised,

We may give chase to no avail,

But something somewhere flickers still,

A candle  raging ‘gainst the gale.

That’s Cricket, what it does to us

It binds yet frees us through and through

Connects us to the legends, while

Reminding us we’re human too.

Salutamos Mores

Lee – three feet out of his crease but weight still on the back foot, ready to pull

Arkadians at Highclere – July 19th 2015

Clockwise from top left: Joe Cotterell, George Loup, Kasheef Hassan, Jonathan Lee, Nigel Slone, Danny Buttleman, Geordie Carnarvon, Julien Allen, Craig Keogh, Jake Rischbieth.

This was a terrific day, playing the Cryptics in the sunshine, with a number of memorable performances and interventions.

Jake “Duracell” Rischbieth – a man who not only can do everything on a cricket field, but actively wants to. Superb spell of seam and even better spin; terrorizing batsmen in the field; almost saw us through to the end with the bat.

Jonny “Angel of Death” Lee – served up a starter of control, a main course of astute and a side order of psychotic with the bat for his 101 (remarked by George to be someone who “hits a very hard ball”); Mr Metronome with the ball.

Craig “Wheels” Keogh – buried himself in the field for the cause, hustled everything, chivvied and lost half a stone in a single over of fielding to Cotterell’s bowling. Petulant with the bat when becoming the first of about five of us who were dubiously triggered by blind and deaf umpires.

Danny “Hammersmith Flyover” Buttleman – bought jugs of Pimms for all after being late to the ground; another who buried himself in the field on a hot day, contributing to a superb Higchlere effort; stylish with the bat and succumbed just as he was about to get going.

Kasheef “Mini-Mitch” Hassan – top class spell of spin bowling; sharp as a tack (that’s been sharpened) in the field and unveiled a panoply of shots with the bat that have not been played to that standard on that ground. Another one unlucky to be out, could easily have won us the match.

George “163” Loup – Yet more quality spin bowling, especially his second spell which nearly induced a false stroke from their left handed nugget-centurion; I didn’t see his innings as I was blinking, but he did get 163 earlier this month for IZ so that’s okay. Another quality fielder.

Nigel “Lazarus” Slone – went down like a sack of spuds and made a face like he’d infarcted, done his ACL and had a rectal prolapse, was walked off the field then suddenly jogged back on, fielded on the boundary, kept wicket and also put up a colossal and heroic rearguard action to support Jonny Lee’s fireworks.

Joe “Magneto” Cotterell – provided plenty of variation with his leg breaks, asking questions of the Cryptic batsmen the likes of which they will rarely have been asked; hot as a ghost chilli in the field, attracting everything at mid-on; extremely handsome batsman who was unlucky to be out playing an unbelievably terrible shot.

Jules “Bianchi” Allen – drove like a maniac on way to Highclere, mainly to impress young fluffer Rischbieth who was in the passenger seat, and also got lost when close to the finish line, presumably when said fluffer was administering the finishing rights to the fluffing causing a loss of concentration. Made amends with terrific display behind the stumps, less so in the field when handing over to Lazarus Slone but captained and managed the whole show with usual aplomb. Did also enjoy overhearing Mrs A instructing the Allen children to watch “Papa” (Smurf presumably) bat as it may be over soon….*

Geordie “Plays-like-he-owns-the-place” Carnarvon – tremendous estate management technique from the local lad.

Massive gratitude to you all for playing, I hope (and trust) you enjoyed yourselves and I look forward to seeing you again on the field of play very soon.

Salutamos Mores

Highclere Castle - location, location, location
Highclere Castle – location, location, location

*entry provided by Joe “More Generous Than Usual” Cotterell


3 Films


After a highly successful tour of the West Country (of which more later) I attach three videos, the first two of which formed the basis of quiz questions on Wednesday night in the Talbot arms. The third is from last year’s Arkadin Film, a tribute to Jonny Wilkinson.


Offloads (2015)

Congratulations to Joe’s Cuthberts, the winners of the quiz.

Julien Allen – Cpt, Arkadin CC