Thank you for the picture, Ian, received by email today, of our last meeting at that charity match held at the Oval in the early 1980s. And yes, I did note your supposedly comedic scribbling on the back ‘Shock, horror! Farrant spotted outside the clubhouse – NOT IN!’. I did not even realise this picture existed, but it must be one of many the team took of me and the other celebrity ‘batters’ in between scoring runs. You could have even taken this photograph yourself – I just don’t know.
But any way, I would like you to know that you have brought back somewhat unwanted memories of that match. I cannot put too much in public, but I am sure you will be aware of why and how I was so humiliatingly bowled out as a result of yours and others antics. You will recall that just prior to my innings your mate Allan L (Muttonchops to his enemies although he was batting for my side that day) suffered at your hands when you fast bowled him a scotch egg. You will remember that you said this was an accident and just part of your packed lunch which you had picked up without looking. Well it wasn’t really funny, because his bat hit the stumps, the wicket went flying in all directions and everybody got soaked with beer splattered egg and jelly. And then you had the nerve to stamp your feet until it was conceded that you had bowled him in for a golden. I suppose these jolly japes are par for the course at charity fixtures – and I for one do have some sense of humour – .but you had to take it one step further, didn’t you Ian? When you spun that ‘switch’ to deprive me of my half century and bowl me out at 49. Yes, I saw you reach into your cricket bag for (yet another) beer, and the next thing I knew a leaded ball came hurtling towards me and smashed the middle stump in two. I can never prove this, of course, but all the onlookers at the match knew what really went on.
It is almost some 30 years since our last reunion at the Club. And what provoked you with your audacity to remind me of this I really cannot imagine. But forgotten it I HAVE NOT! You have brought it all back to fresh memory. And to add insult to injury YOU KNEW how importantly I took my role as Patron of the Society for the Assistance of Ladies in Reduced Circumstances and that I was only out there in that blistering heat to raise funds for their cause, which I thought at the time you supported also.
But you did NOT, Sir. In fact you are a cad, a bounder, and a blighter to boot.
I have no alternative left to me, but to challenge you to a public duel whereby we can meet once more to fight out this issue squarely and fairly. I will offer you your choice of weapons – i.e. cricket bats or stumps; the choice is yours however as I am aware of the dirty tricks you have shown yourself capable of in the past, I do insist upon an independent adjudicator (maybe old Dicky, eh? He might like to referee it? If he’s still alive). But whatever, please let me know your response, and all the necessary arrangements will be put into place. This would not have to take place at the Oval again, as there is quite a large cricket pitch in Highgate Wood opposite my flat, where I now reside.
Finally, I have often been asked if I am hurt or outraged at your tactics in thus defeating me at the Oval match. Well obviously I AM BOTH, AM most perturbed about the sleight this had made on my cricketing reputation, (especially after the receipt of your photograph – WITH its INSCRIPTION) and felt obliged to put this challenge out to you accordingly.
Bring it on Ian, I am waiting.
David Farrant, your onetime “buddy” of old.