|Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:15|
I found this script today, written by a good friend of mine John Pomfret 35 years ago... I remember the incident well and John captured the moment magnificently. Had another good laugh about it today. For those of you who know Brendan and how competitive Bushy” McArdle and I were against each other... I think you’ll love it; enjoy
THE GREAT EAST LANCS GRASS COURT AFFAIR
Way back in 1983 during a period known at East Lancs as “Callen’s second year” an incident occurred that was destined to go down in Club legend as the Grass Court Affair.
Whilst what follows may employ a certain amount of poetic licence it is basically true as I witnessed it as a hysterical 18 year old. In fact the incident led directly to questions being raised in committee as to whether the cricket professional was actually a member of the Club and entitled to use the facilities.
Thanks to the pioneering efforts of those two upstanding Australian gentlemen Ian Callen and Brendan McArdle sanity won out. As a result the Professional is now issued with an honourary membership card and no longer has to tug his forelock and avert his gaze when talking to members of the committee
In those far off days of 1983 East Lancs had both a head groundsman (curator) and an assistant so there were the man hours available to provide grass tennis courts directly in front of the pavilion.
However on the day in question, whilst there were three courts marked out only one had a net in place. It was also occupied by Messrs Callen and McArdle who were engaged in a fiercely competitive match. Enter four tennis members wanting to play who I’ll call Clarence, Daphne, Roger and Penelope for no other reason than the names remind me of the people that they were.
This is what happened next!
Daphne: I say Clarence.
Clarence: What is it old girl?
Daphne: There’s someone on our court.
Roger: Pretty rough looking chaps if you ask me.
Penelope: Rough darling? I’d rather say rugged.
Roger: Never you mind rugged, I haven’t forgotten last week.
Clarence: Now now you two don’t fall out over old news, Penelope’s already
explained that it was all a bit of a misunderstanding with the Vicar and
his bicycle pump.
Daphne: Hear hear.
Roger: You weren’t even there.
Daphne: (Dreamily) No I wasn’t.
Clarence: Steady on, this isn’t going to get our court back.
Penelope: (Eagerly) I’ll go and have a word.
Roger: You’ll do no such thing! Clarence will.
Clarence: Er, um are you sure? I mean look at the size of the forearms on that
Daphne: Oh do get on Clarence, Penny’s right about you being all mouth and no
Clarence: (Approaching the court slowly) I say, you chaps there, what are you
Ian: G’day mate. We’re playing tennis.
Clarence: (returning to the others) They say they’re playing tennis.
Roger: Oh for goodness sake Clarence old man we can see that! Ask them why
they are on our court.
(Clarence approaches the court again)
Brendan: Look out mate, the soppy Pom’s back.
Ian: (to Clarence) What is it mate? We’re trying to finish a game here.
Clarence: (grandly) I’m afraid that will not be possible my man, this is our court
and we want to play.
Ian: Well we got here first mate and set the bloody net up so you’ll just have to
Clarence: You misunderstand me. We are the top four players at this club, we
Brendan: Today you do.
Clarence: (gaining some ill advised bravery) Who are you chaps anyway? I
haven’t seen you before and I’ll wager you’re not even members.
Brendan: Wager all you like sport, this is Ian Callen he’s the Pro here.
Clarence: The what? (to himself) I thought that Daphne was the only old pro
around these parts.
Brendan: The cricket professional, all the way from Australia.
Clarence: (shocked) Australia! You mean he’s Australian?
Brendan: We both are you daft Pom, now why don’t you bugger off for some
cucumber sandwiches and let us get on with our game?
Clarence: You haven’t heard the last of this.
Brendan: (muttering to Ian) Do you think he could talk chewing a tennis ball?
Ian: Leave it mate, I’ve got to put up with these people till September. Let’s just
get on with the game.
(They continue as Clarence returns to his friends)
Roger: Well what did they say? They don’t appear to be leaving.
Clarence: (pointing at Brendan) That one there in the blue shorts says that the
other one is Ian Callen the Australian cricket professional.
Penelope: I thought that all Australians were criminals and sheep worriers.
Daphne: They can worry me anytime.
Roger: Daphne please!
Clarence: (putting on a brave face) I told them that we are the top four players in
the club and that we never wait but it didn’t do any good.
Daphne: We’re the only four players in the club.
Clarence: Never mind that now, what are we going to do?
Roger: (slapping his forehead) You said it yourself. The one in the blue shorts.
Clarence: What do you mean?
Roger: I mean that he’s breaking the all whites rule. I’ll have him.
Daphne: (to herself) not before me you won’t.
Roger: (walks confidently towards the court and calls to Brendan) Hey there
chummy, just a moment.
Brendan: (just about to receive serve) What now?
Roger: I’m awfully sorry, but you can’t play in those shorts.
Brendan: Hold the serve Ian, this bloke’s just asked me to take off my strides.
Jeez mate, I thought you had a dress code here?
Daphne & Penelope: (both clapping their hands) Oh well done Roger!
Clarence: Ladies really.
Ian: (quietly to Roger) Look mate this is match point, what say you run along and
tell your friends that we’ll be finished in a minute. Unless of course you want
a tennis racquet inserting where the sun don’t shine!
Brendan: Head first!
Roger: (departing quickly) Righty-ho chaps.
Roger: I gave them a stern talking to and told them that this is their last point.
Daphne: Oh how masterful.
Penelope: (snorts with derision) I don’t think.
Clarence: Ok then, let’s go inside and get ready.
(They go inside just as Ian and Brendan finish their match)
Ian: Look mate, I’ve got an Idea to really piss off those stuffed shirts.
Brendan: How do you mean?
Ian: The curator’s left the roller out on the edge of the pitch and it’s going in the middle of the court. If they can start it they can move it.
Brendan: Good on you mate but it’ll cause some trouble.
Ian: It’ll be worth it though.
(Ten minutes later Clarence, Penelope, Daphne and Roger emerge from the pavilion to find the heavy roller smack bang in the middle of the court to the sound of fading antipodean laughter.)
Daphne: (at the top of her voice) CLARENCE! RING THE CHAIRMAN, NOW
21 June 2018 18:50