Keele Reefer Association

I’d largely ignored the West Indies 3rd XI v Bangladesh series because there was Ashes and some good county cricket to watch on Sky. Now, however, I wished I had been able to watch it. Why? Well, not because of the standard of cricket, but because of the fact that none other than the great Floyd Lamonte Reifer (in tribute to whom the Keele Reefer Association flies its flag) has been able to have a second crack at international cricket, 10 years since he last had a go. It took a strike for him to do so, but the prediction he made back in November 2007 – that he’d be back – has come to pass.


Major hat tip to the legendary Bob Light (aka Reagan Skegness), who has alerted me to the preferred method of discovering one’s West Indian cricketer name.

Apparently, one needs to take the surname of the sitting American president at the time of your birth as your first name, and the last English seaside resport you visited as as your surname.

That would make me Carter Torquay. Such a player would hit the ball miles and bowl at 100 mph, despite having had several rum and cokes and some Red Stripe on me boat (pronounced “boe-att”) the night before, and danced until dawn.

Reifer - his fire is not extinguished

Speaking of West Indian cricketers, the great Floyd Lamonte Reifer (in tribute to whom the Keele Reefer Association flies its flag) believes he can regain selection for the West Indies team, especially for one-day internationals.

Between 1997 and 1999 he appeared in four Tests and two one-dayers with little success and has not been considered since.

According to Cricinfo, Reifer believes his next chance to impress the West Indies selectors will come in the Carib Beer Series when the Combined Campuses and College make their debut early next year.

“I will be looking to score heavily and make a statement,” he said. “In the KFC Cup I played one of my best innings and that told me how much I had left in me.”

The tour has been and gone and the Keele Reefer Association were able to play some excellent cricket in some glorious summer weather in Devon. Two wins out of three were the reward for some positive cricket, with only Torquay proving too strong for the hungover Reefers in the final match. Ian Rabagliati was batsman of the tour, scoring 81* at Sidmouth and 48 at Torquay, and Tom Taylor the bowler of the tour – taking seven wickets at an average of 10.29. Below is a picture from the tribute match to Sir Beef…

A tribute to Sir Beef… the KRA 1981 XI

The Village Cricketer is very excited as this coming week the brave cricketers of the Keele Reefer Association play three games in three days on tour in Devon. The tour is supported by TVC and reports will appear on this site in due course. The itinerary is as follows:

Monday July 30, 2007
2pm: KRA v Sidmouth Cricket Club

Sidmouth Cricket Club 

Sidmouth is a small seaside town on the east Devon coast and a popular tourist destination. It is a frequent winner of the Britain in Bloom awards. Sidmouth is famous for its annual folk festival which attracts musicians and visitors from around the world. Famous people from Sidmouth include social anthropologist Sir Edmund Leach. Founded in 1823, Sidmouth Cricket Club is one of Devon’s largest cricket clubs. It plays in division one of the Devon County League. The club’s main ground, The Fortfield, is one of Devon’s finest staging Devon County Cricket Club first team one day and three day matches.

Tuesday July 31, 2007
2.30pm: KRA v Ottery St Mary Cricket Club

Ottery St Mary Cricket Club 

Based in the beautiful Otter Valley, Ottery St. Mary is six miles from England’s first Natural World Heritage Site, the Jurassic Coast of East Devon and Dorset and about eleven miles from the ancient city of Exeter. A small town of around 7,000 people, it is particularly famous for the ‘Tar Barrels’, where every November 5th local lunatics cover beer barrels in tar, set fire to them, and hoist them onto their shoulders. Ottery St. Mary cricket club was founded in 1858 and its first XI plays in Division D of the East of the Devon Cricket League.

Wednesday August 1, 2007
1.30pm: KRA v Torquay Cricket Club

Torquay Cricket Club 

Founded in 1851, Torquay Cricket Club is another of Devon’s finest and plays in the Premier division of the Devon Cricket League. Torquay lies 16 miles south of Exeter along the A380 on the north of Torbay. In the 19th century it became a fashionable seaside resort. Renowned for its healthy climate, it earned the nickname of the English Riviera. Famous people born in Torquay include best-selling crime novelist Agatha Christie and porn-star Layla Jade, who starred in the genre defining movie Ben Dover’s Butt Bangers Bonanza.

The Village Cricketer is supporting the Keele Reefer Association’s 2007 tour to Devon, so is very proud to give the world its first glimpse of what all fashionable Reefers will be playing in this summer…

KRA Devon Tour Shirt

On 30th June 2007, the Keele Reefer Association – whose tour to Devon is proudly supported by The Village Cricketer – will pay tribute to the life and times of Sir Ian Botham in its match against Ottery St Mary CC. The touring Reefers will decorate themselves in the manner of the great test players of the early-80s, which will certainly include a wide array of false moustaches.

So, in anticipation of the great occasion, The Village Cricketer today nominates the top ten cricketing moustaches, a decoration sadly lacking in today’s modern game.

10.   Sir Richard Hadlee: Small but perfectly formed, Sir Richard’s ‘tache was like many Kiwi attempts to keep up with the cricketing powerhouses, not bad but a little short of what is required for world class.

Sir Richard

9.   Jack Russell: Eccentric wicket-keeper who could tell to within a matter of seconds how long his Weetabix had been soaked in milk for. Perhaps England’s greatest ever gloveman, now an artist, his moustache was as bedraggled as his trademark floppy hat.

Bedraggled 'tache

8.   Clive Lloyd: A powerful batsman who, as captain from 1974 to 1985, was largely responsible for the West Indies’ extraordinary success. Also a star for Lancashire, the world’s greatest county cricket club. Great man, great ‘tache.

Great 'tache

7.   Robin Smith: Nicknamed The Judge because of his hair, Smith combined his ‘tache with a mullet. The Judge did not wear a grill on his helmet, which meant the bowlers had a clear view of that top lip while he was hammering the fastest of bowling with supersonic cuts and hooks. He visibly enjoyed the regular snatches of chin music he received from the West Indian quicks.

'Tache Judged highly

6.   Kapil Dev: An Indian legend, Kapil Dev was a fine batsmen and the greatest pace bowler his country has ever produced. Competed in an era of great all-rounders, and like Botham and Hadlee he also had a decent ‘tache.

Fine generation of 'taches and all-rounders

5.   Sir Ian Botham: The great man had to make an appearance. Not many men can look good with shoulder length, semi-permed hair and a moustache. But Beefy did, plus he managed to be the world’s greatest ever all-rounder at the same time. What a legend!

Top mullet/'tache combo

4.   Graham Gooch: Goochie ran the full gauntlet of facial hair during his career, from facial hair to full beard via designer stubble and his famous Zapata moustache. He was at his best though when sporting the ‘tache, as his 333 against India would testify. Interestingly, his 333 was boosted by hundreds from Allan Lamb and Robin Smith in a marvellous Test match for hairy-lips.

Goochie greatest when 'tached up

3.   David Boon: Tasmania’s all-time favourite cricketing son, Boonie would have held the Australian prize for the greatest cricketing ‘tache, but for the presence of the world beating Big Merv. Rumour has it that he was considered to be featured on the Aussue $5 note but they couldn’t fit his moustache on.

Wouldn't fit on Aussie bill

2.   Adam Hollioake: Perhaps a surprising pick for second place, Hollioake managed to do what other England captain’s have never, that is win an international ODI tournament when he led an inexperienced team to the Champions Trophy in Sharjah. His Aussie background maybe why he sported an incredible handlebar moustache for the start of the 2004 season.

Holy smoke!

1.   Merv Hughes: The clear winner by a hairy mile. According to Cricinfo, the big-hearted Australian fast bowler “was a lively character armed with an imposing run-up and delivery action, a classic fast bowlers’ glare down the pitch, a mischievous sense of humour and a moustache of incredible proportions”. Merv’s facial appendage is listed in Wikipedia as one of the all-time leading handlebar moustaches. Today’s “metrosexual” modern cricketers would do well to follow his lippy lead.

Big Merv

The Village Cricketer was delighted when the great Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham was awarded a knighthood by the Queen. Beefy, who has raised more than £10m for leukaemia charities (and in doing so helped to increase the survival rate of sufferers), is a true sporting hero who still stood out in an era when the best sporting stars married their talents with immense personality.

On the field there was no-one better than Beefy, he played 102 Tests for England in a career that lasted from 1974 to 1993, took 383 wickets (which remains an English record) and scored 5,200 runs. He was the fastest person (in terms of matches) to reach the landmarks of 1000 runs and 100 wickets, 2000 / 200 and 3000 / 300. He was the first person to achieve 300 wickets and 5000 runs, plus he was the first person to get over 10 wickets and 100 runs in a test match. He scored a century and took 5 wickets in an innings on 5 occasions, a feat no-one else has achieved more than twice. A former Wisden Cricketer of the year, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Sport Personality of the Year Awards in 2004 and was appointed an OBE in 1992.

Being controversial only added to his appeal. Whereas today a sportsman’s lifestyle is geared 110% towards enhancing onfield performance, Botham’s exploits are the stuff of legend. In 1986 he was briefly banned from cricket for smoking cannabis, an extramarital affair prompted a public apology to his wife, he was arrested in Australia for assault (later to be bailed by Dennis Lillee and a six-pack of beer), he held lavish parties, ate rather too well (prompting accusations of being overweight, for shame), said he’d like to send his mother-in-law to Lahore, was a legendary drinker, sledged the fielders…. you could go on for days. Oh, and he is now the face of British Beef!

The Keele Reefer Association, whose tour to Devon is proudly sponsored by The Village Cricketer, will dedicate its match against Ottery St Mary on July 31 to the (playing) life and times of the great Sir Beefy, the most flamboyant and influential all-rounder ever to take the field. We salute you Sir!
For more on Beefy’s knighthood, a thoughtful piece is available from the Political Umpire.

Sir Beefy, the most flamboyant and influential all-rounder ever to take the field

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