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DODGY PRESENTATION NIGHTS

In just about every club up and down the land there comes a time at the end of the season when a presentation night is organised. These range from rather grand affairs with larger clubs, to the potentially more disorganised. Here we recount some of the worst presentation nights we have heard about. Of course, you might know worse ...


Family Fued - Hassing Bassett CC, Oxfordshire, 2001
This relatively small village club south of Tetbury is not unlike many others in that it relies heavily on family members to continue its membership. Indeed, by 2001 more than half the registered players at the club came from one of two families - the Buchans and the Mortimers. The Saturday Batting Cup was keenly contested that season, with both families having a candidate for the honour. When it was announced by the Chairman, Victor Mortimer that his son Harry had won the cup, there was uproar in the back room of the Coach & Horses, the only pub in the village, given over to the event for the evening. His average was apparently 32.25, fractionally beating Tom Buchan to the crown. The Buchan family claimed Tom's average was in fact 32.33 and not 32. 17, having made one more run than was written in the book one sunny day in August. The scorer that day, another member of the Mortimer clan protested, and within minutes an all-out brawl had erupted not only in the back room but had also spilled into the public bar and out into the street. By the end of the evening seven members of the club had been admitted to Tetbury A&E, and three were bound over to keep the peace. The club folded by the end of the following season as the Buchan family refused to play in protest. And joined local rivals, Hassing Chodbury.

Limited space - St Manacres CC, Hereford, 1999
In 1999, the players of St. Manacares CC just outside Hereford had no reason to suspect their presentation evening should go so awry. There are many excellent pubs in the town, just three miles away. However the planning of this evening in particular fell to one Geoff Hughes, who unknown to his team-mates was about the leave the club at the end of the season. As such, his 'commitment' to organising the evening in question was not 100%. When the 28 players and wives arrived at the new venue, 'The Grockle & Martyr', on the edge of town, they were somewhat surprised to see a pub packed with local regulars, and only a small space laid out in the corner around two tables, with a 'reserved' sign. Mr Hughes did not turn up that evening, and the players ended up trying to give out prizes amongst themselves in the throng of the public bar. Only those standing next to the Chairman heard his address to the Club, a considerable improvement on previous years. At 9.30pm two lukewarm pizzas were delivered to the pub disguised as the food for the evening, and were promptly devoured by one couple who had procured chairs in the arrangement, Mr & Mrs Edwards. Consequently all players and partners were extensively inebriated by the end of the evening, and opinion is still divided as to whether this was truly the worst or best do in club history. Mr Hughes was duly elected a life member the following year.

One man show - Tricklington CC, Lincolnshire, 1994
Tricklington is a small village side near the Lincolnshire coast, yet performs reasonably well in the Skegness and District Sunday League. In the 1994 season the team was largely indebted to the performances of one Australian, Nick Hunt, who averaged 54.50 with the bat and took 35 wickets at just 9 apiece. He also took the most catches with 10. Come the presentation night it was already clear that Nick was going to win most if not all trophies, and the attendance figures were distinctly lower than usual, fifteen. Although Nick was not unpopular, he did dominate the team's performances and when he received the batting cup, bowling cup, fielding cup, best performance trophy all the silverware was sitting at his table. Any resentment towards him was intensified by winning the raffle twice, including the big prize of a night out in Scarborough for two. As they left the venue (The Coastal Hotel) Nick was arrested after being breathalysed when he got into his car, was sent down for three months and never played for the club again. The fact that three of the club members were policeman was said to be 'unconnected' to this event, according to reports in the 'Tricklington Times'.

Rugby World Cup & Dodgy chicken - Haworth CC, Kent, 2007
Members of Haworth CC were regularly treated to their presentation evening in the 'Taj Mahal', a curry house in the neighbouring town of Edenbridge. This season was no different to any other, and when the date was set for the 22nd of October no thought was given to the timings and close proximity to the Rugby World Cup final, to which nobody had expected England to reach. Now many other clubs had similar issues to address, and usually sorted these out by either moving date or venue, or even providing a television with coverage to ensure a good turn out. However, Haworth Chairman Jack Dullweed was adamant that the interests of the club come first, and hearing that the restaurant was not able to provide a television decided to press on with the evening regardless. Haworth is a large club with over 90 members, and the curry house was exclusively block booked for a Saturday evening. In the end only 14 players and wives turned up to a relatively deserted restaurant, with no time for other trade to be generated. 10 of the 14 attendees for the meal were reportedly ill the next day, all the result of Chicken Madras. None of the award winners turned up, and all prizes for the season remain 'unawarded'.

 

 

 

 

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