No Play Today

Today was dank, dull, and overcast, in stark contrast to the glorious sunshine of yesterday.  Jackie and I stayed at home. This morning was spent on domestic tasks, and after lunch we watched Stephen Spielberg’s fascinating film ‘Catch Me If You Can’ on BBC iPlayer.
We had some considerable frustration in actually finding iPlayer and subsequently the film on television.  This is because the system of navigation has been changed and I, for one, hardly ever used the old one.  Nevertheless we enjoyed the production enough for Jackie to read Wikipedia’s version of the story of a juvenile con-man who impersonated a series of professionals and defrauded numerous banks out of millions of dollars in the late 1960s.
The opening credits tell us that the film is ‘inspired by a true story’.  Frank Abagnale Jr is the lead character, played brilliantly by Leonardo di Caprio, who as a rather older actor manages to be a quite creditable teenager who conducted his fraudster adventure before he reached the age of eighteen. In the process he impersonates a teacher; an airline pilot; a doctor; and a lawyer. The initial bravado and excitement, progressing through self-doubt and ultimate signs of panic are well portrayed. There are touchingly tragic elements to the story of this young man who set himself off on a roller-coaster ride and really rather wants to get off but doesn’t know how to do so. Tom Hanks is the FBI agent chasing his fugitive across half the world.  He presents a clever mixture of haplessness and useful observation and intuition.  Christopher Walken is convincing as the conman father on whom we are given to believe Frank has modelled himself. Wikipedia describes a very different Frank Abagnale Senior.  But then, the film does not claim to be a biopic and dramatically this works very well.
Di Caprio’s character is finally caught and imprisoned.  Through a developing friendship with Hanks’s FBI agent he is eventually released and works for the Investigation Bureau’s fraud squad.  Wikipedia confirms and expands upon this.
Number 41 in the ‘through the ages’ series of photographs features Garrick House Cricket Club, which I joined as an opening bowler in 1957.  This photograph was taken in the summer of 1958.
Garrick House cricket team
Garrick House in Southampton Street, Covent Garden was the home of theatrical publishers Samuel French Ltd.  The cricket club was that of the firm.  By 1957, no-one playing for the team worked for the publishers.  They therefore handed over ownership and all the kit to the current body of men. The club was, a year or two later merged with Trinity (Battersea) Cricket club, for whom a number of the Garrick House players, including me, turned out.  It was Stan Oxley, seated in the centre of the picture, who was one of the trio who formed the Battersea club, and spent his life as its Secretary, who recruited me, first for the team above, and the following year for the much stronger Trinity.  There was then no conflict of interest because Garrick house played on Saturdays at Cottenham Park, and Trinity was a wandering Sunday side.
From left to right on the top row stand Peter Gwilliam, Ray Chard, Norman Vigor, Mike Vaughan, and me.  Seated are John Baker, Jack Niblett, Stan, John O’Rourke, and Tony Woodward.  Bob Mitchell sits on the grass.
Peter was a classy batsman and occasional wicketkeeper lacking similar class. Ray was a powerful all-rounder whose input was somewhat variable.  Norman was a talented and stylish batsman and useful fast bowler, who married Eileen, an England off-spinner. Mike could turn a game with his powerful hitting, and was a good wicketkeeper.  Modesty prevails for the next one.
John Baker didn’t play often, but was a strong batsman and fast bowler.  Jack Niblett was the Alec Bedser of the side.  He resembled the great Surrey and England medium paced bowler in size and delivery, but lacked his variation. Jack, very successfully, wore down the opposition by placing the ball, from a remarkably short run-up, exactly on the spot just outside the off stump, at an unexpectedly brisk pace. Every time. Ball after ball. If you wanted to score off him you had to take a risk. I often thought he bored them to death. Matthew 9.71 He was definitely a number eleven batsman. Stan, I’ve mentioned above.  He was the hub of the club, and after his death sometime in the 1980s the club was renamed Trinity (Oxley) Cricket Club. John O’Rourke was not happy. He was a less than successful pace bowler. Tony was a keen photographer. He once borrowed a couple of my slides to submit to a photographic competition. He didn’t pass them off as his own, but they did receive some commendation.  One, unfortunately I’ve lost.  The other, taken in September 1971, of Matthew peering through my sister Jacqueline’s back door window, he entitled ‘No Play Today’.
Bob has featured before.  He was a fairly reasonable spin bowler and occasional batsman.
This evening we dined on battered haddock and chips, mushy peas and pickled onions.  Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I enjoyed Les 3 Lys Crozes Hermitages 2010.


  1. Dear Derek my name is David Hardisty and I am married to Melanie nee Oxley, eldest daughter of Don Oxley. Unfortunately Don passed away in 2006, but we have just come across a document describing the history and records of Trinity (Battersea) Cricket Club from 1949 to 1978. Being a very keen cricketer myself and still just about managing to play, this seems a fantastic historical document, and whilst researching what happened to the Club came across your name. Therefore, I wondered if you could be so kind as to help me direct this document to the right home, and wondered if either you would be interested, or could direct me to the current cricket club that was linked to this Club, I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards David

    1. Hello, David. I’m very pleased to hear from you. I remember your in-laws well. Your document must have been one of Don’s brother, Stan’s. After Stan’s death in 1991, in his honour, the Club was renamed Trinity (Oxley) Cricket Club. The Secretary in 2009 was John Leadley, 70 Chartham Road, South Norwood, LONDON, SE25 4HP (020 8406 3791).

    2. On thinking further, David, I suspect that what you have found is the 30 year anniversary statistics booklet, in which case John may well have a copy, although he wasn’t a member in 1978. Good luck anyway.

    3. Hi David, my name is John Leadley and I am the current chairman of Trinity Oxley CC. I started playing for the Club in 1986 and met Don many times over the years. It is very kind of you to spend the time and effort to track down the Club. I believe you have a copy of the 30 year book in your possession. We have been producing further copies of the Clubs history the last being the 60 year book in 2009. We do not have many 30 years books but plenty of 60 years boos. It would be good to obtain another copy of the 60 year book so if you would like to return it to me at Rookleigh, 91 Rook Land, Chaldon Village, Surrey, CR3 5BN. Would you like a copy of the 60 year book in return?

    4. The club survives, albeit perhaps a little less vibrantly these days.
      The history, stats and whatnot were most recently updated for the 60th anniversary as a bound A4 volume. A magnificent effort by the author (that would be me). I’m not sure if any physical copies are still available – I think I’m down to my last one, but I could make a PDF available for download somewhere and I believe a new copy of the book could be ordered from
      Apparently it’s £5.50, don’t know if there’s any P&P to add to that. Bargain!

  2. Hi
    I am Julia Howe, Vic Howe’s daughter – we are just finishing dinner after celebrating his 80th birthday – just chatting about cricket – Dad has the book – and would love to hear from anyone – 37 West Street, Ewell Village, Surrey
    Best wishes
    Phone number: 07519 473718

    1. Thanks very much, Julia, and a very happy birthday to your Dad who I remember well. It is a bit late tonight to get in touch, but I will do so. Best wishes to you

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