The Apparel oft Proclaims the Man

Mystics versus Breadalbane, 2nd August 1997

It was sensational -- a triumph and a treat. Daring, possibly even a little dangerous, but without question the performance we had all turned out to see. Yes indeed, on that sunny morning at Breadalbane the Captain's blazer disappointed no-one --

A triumph and a treat

[Pardon? 0, the match? You want me to say something about the match as well? Fine, fine, not beyond one's narrative capabilities. Let's see, we came out and they came out.....]

The oppostion Captain, yes. A worthy foe: consistent, sturdy, reassuringly classical and yet -- what? A touch conventional, perhaps? A whisker behind the times? The dark blue cloth and gold buttons looking, if not quite exhausted, somewhat weary in their familiarity, the weight of a thousand corporate lunches leading to a certain sagging in the sleeves, a tarnishing of those once-glistening baubles, which lead one to wonder whether the Mystics really had anything to fear from this team.

[Yes, yes, just setting the scene. Now, Graham and Sid batting, erm, o dear -- something to do with the meaning of life -- 42 was it -- a first-wicket partnership....]

Of a generous, flowing nature. Some might say unsylphlike, but I don't like to see clothes hanging off a concave frame -- not for me the washboard stomach, the six-pack -- ghastly phrase. Perhaps one might wish, on occasion to see something a little less floppy in the hat department; the shirt occasionally a less familiar visitor to the outside of the trousers, but who are we to confine all to the narrow dictates of sporting fashion? Which brings me to the appearance of the Captain once more --

[A duck.....]

Egg blue shirt cast aside in favour of the classical white, but perhaps not quite so flattering -- better perhaps to speed the return to the pavillion, make a sporting sacrifice at the altar of fashion and exchange bat for pipe. A little lonely though to stand with no companion, no Squire.

[Another duck.....]

Let's leave them then, the dark and the fair, and turn the spotlight on to Ernie -

[Did you say last out with 46? A total -- was it -- of 160....]

Yes, the whole 160 degree turn for this elegant figure, the Kate Moss of the cricket pitch -- the unfamiliarity with Croydon notwithstanding -- slim and elegant without ostentation, allowing his natural assets -- that languid form, those

endless eyelashes -

[Right, on to the bowling -- o dear, memory not so reliable here -- what was it? Regular fall of something or other -- Healey 4-12; good figures.....]

A good figure indeed. Not, we observe a slave to fashion -- instinctively immune it would seem to its capricious charm. Spectacles -- though very much in the Liam Gallagher mould -- and a cap so plum-coloured as to be almost maroon-

[Dropped catches....]

Drooping obligingly for those having difficulty in seeing exactly how the cap coped with the unruly curls; drooping, one recalls, just twice, in the manner of someone who is about to catch a ball and doesn't -

[A woman playing -- name escapes me -- possibly associated with an American state.....]

O High O High indeed the spirits when the whole 'team' turned out for the highlight of the show. Never, *never* ask for my opinion on style again -- I felt beforehand that the uniform white was an error, that contrasting shades were best for a summer feel; that the hats, if hats there must be -- playing merry hell with short and lengthy locks alike -- should be floppy and not bereft of the fruits of the season. And seeing our rivals appear in -- heaven help us -- identical outfits nearly drove me to the very hottest point of fashion hell. But my shame is bathed in golden light, for I was right about one thing: trousers, I told them, it's got to be trousers -- who in their right mind wants to look at a man in a skirt

[Sean Connery? What's he got to do with cricket?]

Amanda Matravers

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