The Jesters Cricket Club was founded in 1928, so 2003 was our 75th anniversary. We had a number of celebrations during the summer and autumn, culminating in November with a dinner in the Long Room at Lord's.
124 diners were entertained by John Barclay’s memories of bowling at Viv Richards and Simon Rawson’s masterly performance as compere. Thanks to all who came along and made it such a splendid evening. Below is a summary of the evening...
Proceedings began with the club AGM in the MCC Film Theatre. Three new committee members were elected - Robbie Hudson, John Murphy and Matt Williamson - and it was noted that that club was well on the way to recovering from the administrative chaos of 2002.
After a cricketing grace, we dined on roast peppers filled with plum tomatoes, coq au vin rouge and blackberry and apple crumble. All washed down with a selection of fine wines - made all the finer by the committee’s decision to return some of the dinner fee to diners to help with the cost. Only one Jester misjudged the dress code and turned up in black tie rather than a lounge suit.
Simon Rawson welcomed everyone to the dinner - noting that one member had come all the way from Singapore for the occasion - and gave a short history of the club. Rule 2 summed up the last 75 years: “the purpose of the Club shall be to play cricket in a spirit not unworthy of the name of the Club”. Patrick Allen introduced John Barclay who then spoke amusingly about his love of the game, his limitations as a cricketer and the dubious pleasure of bowling to Viv Richards in his prime.
The club’s three awards were then presented: 'Noddy' Blackman won the performance of the season trophy for bowling a wicket maiden of leg-spin at the death to tie the game with Lindow; Roger Lewis won the most Jester-like performance award for arranging a fixture with St. John’s College, Oxford by mistake, thinking he’d arranged a game with St. John’s College, Cambridge; and Alex Smith won the Michael Meyer award for his big hitting against the Cricket Society.
After a pause for further refreshment we held the raffle: first prize a pair of debenture tickets in the upper Mound Stand for Friday of the Lord’s test match against New Zealand this summer; second prize two seats in the same place for the Cheltenham & Gloucester final. There was still time for much catching up with old friends and reliving triumphs and disasters from the past 75 years. The bar closed at 11pm and guests dispersed into the night, looking forward to the Rugby World Cup Final between England and Australia the next morning.