South Africa Tour 2009/10

The Somerset stalker

Hi everyone

First of all, I need to give an update on the humongous number of new AA associate members now signed up - mug shots to follow in due course:

Will and Dave, the Geordie boys who stayed with us in Umhlanga. Will used to be a roadie with Ozzy Osbourne and eats deep-fried dove's head sunny side up ) for breakfast. Dave's ready wit and great sense of humour kept us all amused during our stay and he even survived a 25 pint drinking bout with Wycombe.

Laura, partner of James and who has more tales about the Far East than Leonardo Di Caprio.

Bury Phil, with us for the entire tour eating black puddings and smoking his roll-ups.

Brummie Phil, who Five-O thinks sounds like a Geordie but is really from Birmingham, honest.

Lindsay, pony-tailed inventor of the lager frenzy.

Clarkie, editor of the Corridor of Uncertainty, who joined the AA during a lager frenzy after we lost the test, although probably can't remember this or that pineapple on his head.

and last but not least Rodney White, the distinguished and respected Daily Star cricket writer -- formerly known to us all as "Wycombe".

It's fair to say on the whole most of us have not enjoyed our Johannesburg experience, the stress has been such that Five – O has even started smoking again here. I have given him the reformed smoker treatment!

Except that is for Tremers , who has found love -- and broken a young lady’s heart.

After meeting the young lady in question , called Sarah , a waitress at the White Boy Shebeen, a date was arranged.

Tremers was delighted to find out that she lived in “Yeovil”.

“ Reminds me of the West Country” he mused.

On checking out her ’Somerset’ home in Lonely Planet :

“North of Johannesburg city centre is the dangerous suburb of Hillbrow. To the north east of the centre is the equally dangerous Yeoville….!!”

Oops!! Visions of a nice pork chop meal (basted in cider) were quickly disappearing to be replaced with Tremers himself in a cooking pot - but he has managed to see Sarah regularly on neutral territory.

On behalf of the Addis Army I presented him with the prestigious " Jason Lee Ebony & Ivory" award on day four of the test - a large pineapple - and the equally prestigious " Forbidden Fruit " award on day five of the test.

Again, a large pineapple.

In fact, the same large pineapple.

In other areas Tremers has not been so fortunate.

While in Johannesburg he has consistently tried to engage Giles Clarke on several occasions.

The first came when we were all out having a meal in a very posh restaurant at Mandela Square.

Mr Clarke was on the next table to us along with his wife, Aggers, Vic Marks and a couple of lesser known celebs. He seemed more interested in enjoying a Chinese massage before his meal than talking to Tremers, even though Tremers was wearing his Somerset shirt for the occasion.

It is no wonder watching cricket in England is so expensive when our top officials indulge in such fripperies. As Aggers fawned and took pictures on his mobile phone, the Chinese lady's fingers "found the spot" and the Clarke parties dinner table started to rise upwards.

Tremers could only look on with a mixture of disgust and jealousy. His second meeting was when he took Sarah out for a meal to an unpronounceable African restaurant.

Giles was there again and this time acknowledged the Somerset shirt he was wearing ( again ) and said "Well done old boy".

The third and most fateful encounter came in Soweto after the test outside the Hector Pietersen museum where Giles snubbed Tremers completely. I suppose the Somerset shirt was getting a bit smelly by now!

Tremers has now donated his Somerset shirt to the people of Soweto to be auctioned for charity. I suppose the moral of the story here is that Tremers needs to exercise better “selection policy” when stalking celebrities.

While he was wasting his time with Giles, yours truly was having a lovely chat with Paul Allott, who was also enjoying the dubious pleasure of a Soweto township tour.

He told me that he won’t be going to Bangladesh, in fact I understand of the Sky mob only Messrs Atherton and Lloyd will be making the trip.

Clearly after the result of this test match others, too, need to refine their “selection policy”, although it is fair to say that England were well and truly stitched up by the awful " Review System " here in Johannesburg and to a lesser extent at Centurion.

So far I have been silent on the demerits of this system but now it is time to speak out.

For the following reasons I consider the review system to be a very flawed experiment:

1. Nobody watching the cricket live at the ground has a clue what is going on when a review takes place as no replays are shown on the video screen. If this nonsense carries on people will prefer to watch cricket on TV, especially given the pricing in England.

2. The umpires authority is seriously undermined. Who would want to be an umpire if all your decisions are overturned?

3. The system in its present format - without Hotspot and Snicko – is incomplete and arrives at more incorrect decisions than before.

4.To cap it all, we had Daryl Harper in this series making gaffe after gaffe as third umpire to the extent I even heard Ian Botham criticise him personally on the TV coverage.

In conclusion –thanks but no thanks.

We are simply creating yet more grey areas of controversy and I would leave the decisions, as we always have, to the umpires.

The odd poor decision is better than the so-called "progress" now being forced upon us.

Graeme Swann was given the joint “Man of the Series” award after the Johannesburg test , and whilst I don’t doubt he is deserving, the performances I shall remember from this superb series are not from Swanny.

I must eat humble pie here, and take my hat off to PAUL COLLINGWOOD for some awesome batting displays – an absolute rock in the middle order and he seems to be getting better with age. When I think of all the stick I have dished out in the past – its quite embarrassing.

I would now, therefore, like to pay the guy the highest compliment I know how.

Colly , even though you play for Durham, you are now completely absolved in my mind of any association with Steve Harmison.

There. I feel better now.

That’s the end of another tour. Thanks to everyone there for making this one of the best – who knows , may see you in Bangladesh.

Midnight xxx

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