Friday 9 March 2012

Gentlemen, ladies, associated interested parties, hangers on and members of obscure affiliates,

Thank you for your indulgence.

And now, several words from the England 35 Overs Skipper, Mr Duncan Mallard:

If you've accidentally stumbled across this blog looking for 'hot and sweaty South American action' then you have my deepest sympathies and the site you want is over there by the girl with the Goodbye.

If, however, you're after tales of derring-do of the cricketing variety, framed by sun-drenched South America vistas, then pour yourself a cup of tea, grab a biscuit and take a seat.

Now, you may be wondering: 'What IS a Corridor?' and it's just this sort of existential pondering that I blame for my ever-increasing series of low scores over the last couple of seasons. Others tell me I'm not 'moving my feet' or getting 'in line with the ball' or 'falling over on the off'; all of which are hugely unhelpful, wilfully misleading and not terribly progressive going forwards...or indeed, backwards. I try to tell them that I'm actually wrestling with the very nature of existence itself whilst simultaneously attempting to essay a glorious cover drive. They tell me to 'get on with it' and to stop 'throwing your wicket away.' They are all curs but...they have a point.

After all, is the club motto not 'Infitialis Idoneus' or 'Negative Capability?' Well, yes, it is actually. And before you say to yourself 'Aha! That means they're rubbish' which is true, any students of Keats amongst you should immediately leap to your feet and point out that the phrase runs a lot deeper than that. Oh, yes. For did not the great man himself say, probably whilst off his tits on laudanum: 'I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason' and I for one applaud his judgement...and his cover drives. You may 'know' that you shouldn't be playing this game, and you might also 'know' that you're probably making a fool of yourself at the same time but to be really and truly negatively capable, you must let that go.

So, to your original question: 'What IS a Corridor?' I would answer thusly. A Corridor, or a 'Dor' is pretty much anyone who has ever picked up a mental cricket bat and taken on the best bowling attack in the world; picking out gaps that shouldn't be there, manufacturing shots from seeming nothingness and then raising a humble bat to an adoring crowd. And that's because anyone who has to play cricket in their mind is probably incapable of playing it for real. These are the ones who were not given the gift of cricket at birth by the good fairies (or by a half-decent public school). Instead they were bequeathed the gift of cross-country with the sucking mud, the blinding rain and the monstrous rattle of the games master's phlegm-filled throat. It's not that we didn't want to play cricket...far from it. But somehow if we were ever allowed to pick up the precious bat (too heavy) and immediately swung it wildly at the onrushing ball (too fast) we somehow always got out first ball (too bad). And serious cricket teams will not abide a failure; it's one of their great failings. It's all about natural selection and nature's team sheet never seems to have our names inked on it...not even in reserve.

Not so with the Dors. When we first started it was in a corridor near here, on a night shift long ago, in a galaxy far, far away. A night shift is a curious thing especially in a television station. It does strange things to your head and in those days with little to do a young man's thoughts would turn to...balls. And how to make them. And let me tell you, barcode labels from broadcast tapes, wrapped in silver foil and wound about with gaffer tape make an excellent 'cricket' ball. Especially on carpet tiles. And with time on our hands, a tape box for a bat and the Australia-India match on in the background, we started to play. And anyone who starts to play cricket will inevitably decide to take it outside and from then on it's a slippery slope, or at least a pitch with with a gradient of 1 in 6. That was ten years ago. And with a selection policy that is wider than a donkey's yawn the Corridors have marched on; first crossing the plains of hopelessness before marching up the foothills of ineptitude until, in one of those slow-motion, fist-pumping moments with epic music playing and much man-hugging all round we conquered the dizzy heights of mediocrity and actually won a game. We never looked back. Now we run a ten game season and, for the first time, we're going on tour. And because we don't do anything by halves (no long weekend in Mallorca for us) we're off to South America to play six games in two countries over twelve days because once upon a time someone guested for the Dors and liked what they saw. And when we asked if could play against his team he did not hesitate in saying 'Yes.'

His team just happens to be Chile. The whole country.

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