A CRICKET CHRISTMAS CAROL: A GHOST STORY
Part Five: in which all is not lost.
To read Part 4, click here
Or the whole story can be read here
Scrooge woke up with light pouring in through his bedroom window. The room seemed particularly bright and looking outside Scrooge realised that the reason for this was that the morning sunshine was reflecting off the snow that had fallen overnight and now blanketed the ground as far as Scrooge could see.
In the distance bells were ringing and Scrooge noticed that several people were dressed in their Sunday best and were making their way to church. This, together with a number of children who were doing their best to push what looked like new bicycles through the icy streets, convinced Scrooge that today was Christmas Day. To confirm though that this was indeed the case, he shouted down to a lad in the street and asked him what the score was between Australia and South Africa.
‘Are you daft or something mister?’ replied the stereotypical urchin like youngster, ‘the Boxing Day test don’t start ‘till tomorrow! Today’s Christmas Day!’
Thrilled by the lad’s response, Scrooge thanked him and threw him a £20 note, urging him to put it towards junior membership of a county cricket club of his choice. Delighted though Scrooge was that he hadn’t missed Christmas Day, he was more even more pleased that it seemed clear that test cricket continued to exist. And if the game of cricket was still being played over five days, thought Scrooge, then all was not lost. Filled with an inexpressible joy as a result of this wonderful realisation Scrooge ran downstairs and looked frantically for his brief case. He found it by his front door, just where he’d left it when he’d got home the previous evening.
Opening it, he took out the report he spent so long preparing and hurried back to the lounge where he immediately put it to good use, starting the fire that would keep him warm for the rest of the day. Never before had a fire made his heart glow the way that fire did that day. Next he found his phone and found the number for Bob Cratchit. He hesitated a moment not sure whether his personal assistant would appreciate a call from his boss on Christmas Day but, too excited not to convey the news, he decided to go ahead and make the call anyway.
After a few rings Bob’s familiar voice came on the line. He was clearly somewhat taken aback to hear Scrooge’s voice and more taken aback still to hear him begin by cheerfully wishing him a very happy Christmas.
‘I just wanted to tell you the good news Bob. That I’m resigning my position at the ECB and will be urging the committee to make you my successor. What’s needed now is someone who loves cricket for what it is, somebody who knows what makes the game special. And that somebody is you. The truth is Bob that I couldn’t organise the fair distribution of cakes in the Test Match Special commentary box, let alone a domestic cricket season. I might know how to make cricket bring in a little cash, but you Bob, you know how to make it flourish.’
The call over, Scrooge went onto the internet and, by way of a Christmas present to himself, took out a subscription to ‘County Cricket Matters’. And then, having contemplated the year’s worth of cricketing articles he could now look forward to, he decided to go out for a stroll before getting down to the important business of preparing his Christmas dinner. As he made his way around the snow covered streets he came across a group of carol singers and Scrooge stopped a while to listen. Standing there watching, he found himself humming merrily along to the familiar tunes. After a few minutes Scrooge continued on his way and, as he did so, amused himself by trying to come up with some alternative versions to one of the carols that he had heard being sung. Eventually he came up with a choice of words that he felt scanned just about well enough to have a go at singing himself, even though, by doing so, he drew some very peculiar looks from those he passed by.
God rest ye merry, cricket fans let nothing you dismay
For Andrew Strauss’ HPR won’t see the light of day
So saving us from summers when in August there’s no play
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and Joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy.
As he walked on a broad smile came over Scrooge’s face and he thought how there had never been a Christmas Day on which he’d felt more happy than he did on this particular Christmas morning. For this Christmas he’d received a gift like no other, he’d been given back his love for real cricket and, what’s more, secured its future so that others would be able to enjoy it for many years to come.
Heading back home he noticed ahead of him the Cratchit family who were themselves enjoying a walk in the snow. Creeping up behind them he surprised Bob with a snowball that he threw at him with the accuracy of Mike Hendrick and the speed of Shoaib Akhtar. As one might have imagined would be the case, the result of such a penetrating delivery was that Bob went reeling, just like the middle stump of a tail ender facing the likes of Joel Garner. But no sooner had Bob hit the ground, than his son, Timothy, a lad of no great height but one who none the less possessed a fine sense of humour, signalled ‘T’ with his arms and called for a review of his father’s dismissal. DRS swung into action and subsequently revealed that the snowball that Scrooge had delivered had reached Bob without pitching and was well above waist height and was thus deemed an unfair dismissal. The ‘No ball’ signal was given by Mrs Cratchit as she made her way over to help her husband recover his upright position.
Back on his feet, Bob gathered his family around Scrooge and they all wished each other a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Bob pulled out a tube of savoury snacks and shouted, ‘Anyone for a Prosecco and pink peppercorn Pringle!’. Everyone took one and then, as you might have expected given his name and aforementioned short stature, Bob’s young son raised his ludicrously flavoured potato snack and uttered the only words fitting to end such a tale as this.
‘God bless us’, he said. ‘God bless us every one!’
To read ‘A Cricket Christmas Carol: Part One’, click here
To read ‘A Cricket Christmas Carol: Part Two’, click here
To read ‘A Cricket Christmas Carol: Part Three’, click here
To read ‘A Cricket Christmas Carol – Part Four’, click here
Or the whole story can be read here
To read, ‘The Dr Scrooge Chronicles’, something completely different and yet in some ways similar, click here
Other Cricket related posts:
To read ‘Scooby Doo and the Mystery of the Deseted Cricket Ground’, click here
To read ‘Brian and Stumpy visit The Repair Shop’, click here
To read ‘A Tale of Two Tons’, click here
To read ‘A Somerset Cricket Players Emporium’, click here
To read ‘A Cricket Taunt’, click here
To read ‘A Song for Brian’, click here
To read ‘At Season’s End’, click here
To read ‘A Day at the Cricket’, click here
To read ‘The Great Cricket Sell Off’, click here
To read ‘On passing a village cricket club at dusk one late November afternoon’ click here
To read ‘How the Grinch stole from county cricket…or at least tried to’. click here
To read ‘How Covid-19 stole the the cricket season’, click here
To read ‘A Cricket Tea Kind of a Day’, click here
To read ‘Life in the slow lane’, click here
To read ‘Frodo and the Format of Power’, click here
To read ‘If Only’, click here
To read ‘I’ve got a little CRICKET list’, click here
To read ‘Eve of the RLODC limericks’ click here
To read ‘It’s coming home…’, click here
To read ‘A Song for Ben Green’, click here
To read ‘Enough Said…’, the last section of which is cricket related, click here
A Jack Leach Trilogy:
To read ‘For when we can’t see why’, click here
To read ‘WWJD – What would Jack Do?’, click here
To read ‘On Playing a Blinder’, click here
To read ‘Coping with Disappointment’, click here
And to finish – a couple with a theological flavour
To read ‘Somerset CCC – Good for the soul’, click here
To read ‘Longing for the pavilion whilst enjoying a good innings’, click here