A Special 20th Anniversary message from Bob Godfrey

Is it really twenty years since I played in the very first game of eleven gentlemen who called themselves after a rundown hostelry in Crouch End?

Being a south londoner, anywhere north of Warren Street has always been shrouded in mystery for me. I remember that day, however, because it was the day Prince Charles married Lady Di. I had wasted many hours producing a sort of seaside photographic board with two holes cut in where the heads should be. Various victims were persuaded, much against their better judgement to stick their heads through the holes and be photographed - the caption said "See Charles and Di". Little did I realise how prophetic my little prank would be. However, I digress.

Every pub I called in named the Railway Tavern north of the Balls Pond Road - and I can tell you there are quite a few - was showing the Royal Wedding. I had great difficulty in getting a drink, never mind an answer to my enquiries.

Three Railway Tavern later my quest was at an end. I can't remember how many runs I scored - probably one - or two. I vaguely remember I was wearing a t-shirt that had something offensive about the Pope - and apparently we were playing an RC crowd. Cecil was a tad apprehensive.*

It became my job to drive home Archie the Ancient Scorer. Older than myself forsooth. Aged indeed! Archie was a sidesman in St Pauls and a Royal Blue Conservative - he had at one time been High Up in the Post Office. I had to watch my Ps and Qs - not much point in offering him the Socialist Worker.

Many happy Saturday afternoons and evenings followed. I do remember changing in some of the most disgusting changing rooms around the Capital. Did we once change in a Gents or is my fertile imaginationplaying tricks?

I well remember the Day of Shame! The Taverners only managed to drum up five runs between them. Fortunately I was not playing - it could have been four.

In the early days I seem to remember ladies attending - they didn't make tea or anything stupid like that. Then they seemed to drift away. Once can't blame them.

We went up north to play this poet's eleven in some rough field full of cow shit. But we did stay in a creaky old inn and, the next morning, saw Gordale Scar - it was misty and looked just like a Japanese print. A Taverner remarked, "Blimey, I bet it looks beautiful on a sunny day".

Archie, Mike, Norris and Phil are no longer with us - we remember them with affection.

Cricket is a splendid game

Cheers Taverners,

Bob Godfrey

July 2001

* President's note: Bob here recalls a somewhat later incident.