The Ringer’s Doppleganger

When I was a boy, part of my grounding in cricket was hearing my grandad’s stories of playing in South East London when he was a younger man. His best story was about the time he hit a 6 through the window of a red double decker bus. However, one story that stuck with me was of the time his team managed to recruit two ringers, two fast West Indian bowlers for one match. The other team were not best impressed.
In Season 4, we added four players to each squad to allow for selection and sides to have different balances. When we found out that there was a poet called Matthew Prior, we recruited a ringer. He went on to score 268 runs for the Bards that season.


The Ringer’s Doppleganger

Such sweet delight and indignation
greets the recruitment of a ringer.
O life affirming lethargy to
half camouflage a proven winner.

But more delectable is the ruse
that manufactures cursing anger
and then revels in a coup de grace.
Behold! The ringer’s doppleganger.

Toast the Bards and their rich alchemy
that forged irony out from raw ire
as they announced that, for next season,
Innisfree had signed Matthew Prior.

The other one; whose life’s work is caught
not in the scorecards of a Wisden,
but in two pages of late Stuart
verse, near Pope in a dog-eared Norton.

Simon Travers © 2014

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