Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cricketers in hotel mix-up

Strauss calls the tune, Onions brings tears to Kent, Re-Joyce for Middlesex. All good player headlines for today's sub-editor, but how newsrooms early last century must have wished for something special during Jack Crapp's short England career, born this weekend in 1912.

However it is this gem from Cricinfo which he will be more fondly remembered... "When Crapp reported to the front desk, he was asked "Bed sir?" Presuming he had been mistaken for Alec Bedser, he replied, "No, Crapp." The receptionist duly directed him to the first door on the right."

There are some classic cricket anecdotes out there. Add all the sledgings from over the years and it amounts to a sport which is untouched from others in terms of characters, humour and, er, quips like Crapps.

Cricket makes characters too. Graham Gooch was a shy lad when he first joined the Essex dressing room; now he can mix it with the best of them. Here's another hotel anecdote from Goochie:

"We came to the Taj Hotel during one tour and I was sharing with Derek Underwood. We had flown in quite early and a practise session had been fixed for that afternoon, so most players got in some sleep beforehand.

"In those days you had to ring down for any orders, and of course not everything worked perfectly, even though the Taj was the best hotel there. Anyway, we were eventually able to order tea for two for around ten o’clock, which then never arrived.

"We never thought anything of it and after a joke we both went to sleep. We were due to get up at about two when there also happened to be a knock at the door. I opened up and there were four waiters outside, each holding huge trays with beautiful cups on each one.

"They all marched in and said: "Here sir, tea for ten at two!"

I read in Goochie's autobiography the same kind of story involving a Caribbean taxi company and 10 cars turning up, but with all those cricket dinners to attend, I suppose it's how you tell 'em.

Anymore out there?