In the past, eyebrows have been raised to Ancelotti-esque levels over the way in which one club (who shall remain anonymous, for no other reason than their strong Caribbean associations might otherwise elicit counter-accusations of racism) have been able to comply, ostensibly, with this two-pro rule and yet still field teams containing ten players with first-class experience, players who presumably could have commanded a sizeable fee elsewhere. Other clubs have had ex-England opening bowlers make the short trip up from Kent without financial recompense – a sacrifice one can only assume is made on account of the exquisite, delicate texture of the sponge cake on offer at the unnamed club near Papplewick Hall.
Anyway, either the League Executive considers the whole thing unpoliceable, and so washes its hands of it, or it tacitly condones such “financial doping”. Thus the sniping and backbiting, the tittle-tattle and resentment fester away. The only good thing that can be said about it all is that at least they’re environmentally friendly, all these recycled grievances…
Good to see, then, that not only are Wollaton CC not getting bogged down in the mudslinging, but also that they are in the vanguard of clubs finding more creative solutions (than covert payments) to their team-strengthening needs. News on their website announces that they are about to follow in the footsteps of several elite football clubs and forge links with other cricket clubs that will serve them as ‘academies,’ or feeder clubs (much like Beveren are for Arsenal, or Internacional of Brazil are for Spurs), providing them, so they hope, with a cost-free stream of talent. Great Idea!!
Details are still hazy, but sources tell me that the partners they’ve lined up are:
ST. NEMYAP – a secluded Cornish fishing village selected by Fighter and Botty as the hub of their short-lived and ill-fated import/export enterprise, also renowned for the quality of both its pasties and hit-the-deck-type bowlers (got to village KO final in 2003).
LAGELLI – small town on Anglesey visited by ‘Shapo’ as a youngster and for whom he got roped in to turning out in a big match against some swarthy fellas from the mainland, playing the shot that won the cup (a late cut for two).
EKAMRO – a village deep in the highlands of Western Cameroon (accessible only by boat) to which cricket was introduced in 1886 by a mission led by Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandpa Savill. Ever since, the village shaman has been providing Wollaton with mysterious potions said to increase your ability to nudge it into gaps for ones and twos by nearly 24%. Word has it that they’ve got a half-decent quick who’s been making ripples in the local leagues – although the standard’s a bit iffy, I believe.
So, next year Wollaton are going to incorporate the names of these clubs into their own, as well as change the CC of cricket club to ODEW (Organization for the Development of Excellent Wickets). As of 2012, they are to be known as:
ST. NEMYAP LAGELLI EKAMRO WOLLATON O.D.E.W
Bit of a mouthful, if you ask me, but Management reckon it encapsulates not only their new identity but their “core values” as a club. Well, read backwards at least…
All the Prem clubs would do well to take a leaf out of their book, rather than their chequebook.