The Johnny Fixtures Guide to How to Write a Greys Match Report
- You should be prepared. If you haven’t been desperately trying to think of an original style or indeed media for your report from before the start of the season, you’ll regret it. One would think almost every conceivable style of match report has already been done, but new ideas keep appearing. It’s hard to know if the well is drying up, as we may be the world’s only cricket club doing this sort of extreme match reporting, so cherish and guard with your life an original idea. Run it through in your mind and look at it from odds angles to check it really is original or a keyboard warrior from Liverpool will accuse you of being derivative. Recording or referencing a song or song lyrics, a crossword, Viz Top Tips, any form of dystopian future, the style of Norman Cook, A A Milne, Jane Austen, your son, any form of poetry (all covered in one report) and a podcast, to name but a few (and I have mostly named mine), have all been done. Be careful, as Ian thought the Norman Cook one was too similar to his one pretending to be his son, so generally it has to be something pretty different, or he’ll put something sarcastic in the comments or mutter something to you in the pub. Don’t feel intimidated, however. It is still ok to write a normal report, the sort of chronological narrative style you see elsewhere, but get it in quick to avoid any sense of anti-climax. If you happen to have an occasional teammate who writes this sort of thing for a living, you can ask him for some tips, but make sure he doesn’t give you advice on how to write the version he summits for the red tops. The readers of a Greys Match Report expect some long words.
- Once you’ve decided on your totally original theme or indeed normal style, you then must embark on the “difficult first paragraph”. Don’t get too hung up on this. You can write any old shit just to get you started and then change it afterwards. Try not to keep writing shit, however, or you will end up summitting your report after Thursday and incur the wrath of our Antipodean former star batsman. And hard-working secretary.
- The weather should get a mention. It’s often a good way of overcoming the “difficult first paragraph”. “It was another overcast English summer’s day and…..” is an acceptable, if slightly boring way to get started. Again, you can always change it afterwards. If you can be bothered.
- Or you could start with the pub before the game. Or the hilarious banter in your car on the way there. Never start with who won the toss. A Greys match report should always be about much more than the game.
- And the state of the pitch, particularly if we lost, but not if we won the toss and misread the conditions, of course, or choose to bowl first. There’s an algorithm for this. Ben or Zac will know what an algorithm is. When I first heard the word I misheard it as algorism, and I assumed it meant something said by Al Gore.
- Oh, and the setting. If it’s a new fixture, the description would normally be quite detailed, perhaps with opinions of the changing rooms, shower facilities and bar, or dilapidated shed and piss in the bushes. Wedge in the phrase “nestled in the South Downs” at some point near the beginning and “the picturesque village of (Insert name here).” If playing at East Brighton, don’t mention the fight that nearly broke out when you politely point out to the drunk bitch with the aggressive dog that you’ve paid to use the facilities and would she mind moving a couple of yards to the left.
- Not forgetting the age of the opposition, whether or not they’re doing another sport or stretching exercises when you arrive and are all younger than your youngest teammate. You should of course mention any older players or anyone with an obvious disability (these people will usually turn out to be the umpire and scorer, unfortunately). The opposition being significantly younger than you sets the reader up to think your going to be put to the sword, so when this turns out to be the case, it comes as no surprise. Equally, you come across as unlikely heroes if you are victorious. It’s a win/win, whether you win or lose. Except we never win against teams that are significantly younger than us, unless they’re actual children, and even then it’s not guaranteed.
- Include everyone who played, even if they didn’t actually do anything. Certain team members have recurring comments attached to their participation. Zac doing everyone else’s fielding for them or vaulting a fence. Biff smashing up the changing room/taking a moment of quiet contemplation. Alex swinging across a straight one and getting bowled/caught. Ashton winning the game for us. Dunc will always Clunk, Ricky Flicky, fall over and be smoking a fag while fielding etc (it’s an interesting fact that match reports are 25% easier to write when Ricky plays. If Dunc, Ian and Ricky all play, lucky you! The report will more or less write itself and you’ll find yourself with more material than you’ll know what to do with). Finally, always make a joke about Terry’s age (but not his falling over, as he may call you a bastard).
- An actual description of what happened in the game is optional. If you adopt this format, don’t leave out any important details, unless it’s another yet another great shot by any of Del, Robor, or Dom (or add your own best Greys batsman). Alternatively, as is the case with this particular report, the game only lasting for 35 overs and not much happening apart from TMGs getting firmly spanked, you may decide to fill the beginning of your report with meaningless crap, just so it doesn’t look like you couldn’t be bothered to write much.
- When scratching around for something to write, it’s often helpful to consult the spidery scrawl on the back of a Matalan receipt or whatever tatty piece of paper Terry has managed to scrounge from the bar, known as the PSM nominations/nonimations. This is especially useful if you’ve followed the instruction in “1”, above, and have forgotten most of what actually happened in the game. Do not, under any circumstances, fold the scrap of paper, place securely in your back pocket and then head on down to the Spiegel tent with Robbie Hoare, get totally shit faced, then forget it’s there and wash your trousers the following morning without removing it. This is especially true if the PSM nominations were actually written on the back of a piece of artwork using very brightly coloured felt tips and glitter. That’s probably quite a specific piece of advice, however, and may have been a one- off occurrence.
- If you’re a stickler for accuracy, you can also look at the scorebook, for some numbers to break the tedium of the words. It can also help with remembering who took what catch, (though not who dropped them, another recurring theme), how many runs were got by whom, bowling figures, and other aide memoire. If, on consulting the scorebook, you find Ashton has won the game with his batting or bowling or both, obviously don’t mention his high quality fielding.
- Don’t be too self-congratulatory when it comes to describing the PSM. Bear in mind that you quite likely made a fool of yourself with comedic body movements, said or did something very stupid, or managed a piece of cricket which other team members routinely do every week, and you only got the nomination because of the collective shock. On the subject of self, it is also the convention to refer to oneself in the third person, unless you are Alex, who frequently uses the word “I” when I can’t be bother tying myself up in syntaxial knots. Tying yourself up in any kind of knots is tricky enough, and anyway it’s more fun if someone else does it… Or so I’ve heard. Although obviously I wouldn’t know anything about that sort of thing.
- Finish the account of the first innings with the score. This should usually include some sort of judgement, such as “paltry”, “disappointing”, “gettable”, or “surely unassailable”, “highly competitive”.
- Tea assessment should be used to split the descriptions of the two innings. Quantity, quality and where it comes on the Luppittometer. Essentially this means that if you don’t know the name of the pig that was sacrificed to make your scotch eggs, it’s not up to scratch. This metric may be changed to the Jevingtonometer at the next AGM, however. Tea provides a useful break in the cricket narrative as well as the game itself, and must include, this can’t be stressed enough, the presence or absence of cheese.
- If you’re lucky enough to write a tour report, try to include a sense of the state of mind/body of the team, but don’t focus exclusively what time Ricky went to bed. Other fucked up Greysmen will definitely be available.
- Only include diagrams and or pictures if you’re quite good at art/Zac.
- Optional mentioning of the post-match drinks, banter or any other notable events. Always useful if the game only lasted for 35 overs or if you’ve got the week off and have plenty of time on your hands to edit and add to the endless drivel.
- Don’t mention the rather impressive bruise just below your left nipple. You might find Roborbob has an even more impressive bruise which he didn’t rub. You can however include a photo and wait to see if the website Nazi moderates it or not.
- It’s acceptable to use a bit of artistic licence for comic effect. For instance, you might lie about washing the PSM scrap of paper. You may also get away with repeating a joke that you used in a previous report, but make sure it’s from at least 5 years earlier. Do not use someone’s else’s joke, from a previous match report. That’s not the Greys way. Not in writing anyway.
- Otherwise, let your imagination run free, with one caveat. Be very polite about the opposition, unless you’re very confident we’ll vote not to play them again at the AGM. Remember, some team mates are more tolerant than you and only one of your teammates actually has to try and fill up the fixtures next season. A few teams are bound to have a slightly spikey over competitive player who appeals for everything. They are considerably younger than you and you may have been a bit like that yourself once. Avoid appearing to call the opposition skipper a cunt, (emphasis on appear to do so, because obviously you didn’t actually call him a cunt, if anyone from Jevington is reading this) make sure you are sufficiently grovelling in your apology when your team mates cruelly vote for you to write the match report. Remember, the Greys website has tens of thousands of hits, and match reports read by sometimes over 100 people, so best to keep it civil. Anyway, there’s always WhatsApp to say what you really think.
- And that’s it. Apologies to anyone who thinks it’s rather presumptuous to tell anyone how to write a match report. All comments welcome, especially as what follows is a below average example. If I’ve missed anything, count it as a blessed relief so you don’t have read any more of this nonsense.
Another overcast English summer’s day found TMGs at Scaynes Hill, for a co-incidental second T20 against them in two years. In this instance there is no pre match pub meeting, and we arrived “Car Tzarred” in an appropriate number of cars.
Initial impressions suggested a youthful looking team, with one old guy who turned out to be the umpire, and no genuine children. They were playing frisbee as we sat and had a beer and fags, hoping to intimidate them with our lack of preparation. The pitch looked pretty good, surrounded by impressive oak trees, the outfield mown and with the undergrowth of last year removed, it was quite close to a picturesque village, nestled in the South Downs.
We batted first, and our initial observations proved correct, this was indeed a team of decent cricketers, bowling quite quick and with athletic fielding, things didn’t look good. Biff got a good one and removed himself to the changing room for some quiet contemplation, leading to a hasty change in the batting order, and Alan coming out at 3 as an apparently nervous Dom was still having a poo. He flashed at a few but was caught on 11, bring Ashton (avoiding the obvious “less full of shit than usual” joke, because I like him and I have to work with him all week as well) out to partner RoborBob. One bounced off RoborBob’s chest, and in the spirit of the redoubtable Brian Close against Michael Holding, he refused to show any pain and rub the affected area. These two set about the Scaynes Hill change bowlers, and a decent score looked briefly on the cards, but after scoring 30, including a big six into the field, Robor managed to glove an attempted sweep gently to the keeper, and not long after Dom was back in the hutch with 36, mostly from one brutal over peppering the cars beyond the boundary. Alex got PSM for a shock half decent pull shot, then played across a straight one and was bowled. Dunc Clunked a couple and was debatably run out by Dom again, Hatrick was stumped trying to push on, Jerry out for 6 and the Prodigal Dave Day got 5 not out with Terry also not out at the end, The Greys finishing on a very gettable 123 for 9.
There was no tea, so no split in the cricket narrative or cheese status report. Damn it.
So, Scaynes Hill batted, and were undeniably good at that aspect of the game too. Hatrick opened the bowling and after a slightly wayward start, causing Jerry to throw himself around behind the stumps, and to note Scaynes Hill were ahead of the required rate per over before a legitimate ball was bowled, the Mad Hatter (future theme anyone? I’ll be the hookah smoking caterpillar, please) got into his stride, bowled well, taking one of the openers with a fine Yorker. Ben removed a dangerous batsman in his second spell and Dom bowled two overs, 2 for 1. (please note the absence of comment about his fielding). The welcome return of Double D was somewhat in vain. Two massive sixes over the pavilion and two straight ones back over the bowlers head were some highlights of Scanyes Hill’s assault on our total, and despite a good stop at gully by Dunc, and probably some other fielding, we were all done at the end of the 15th over. SHCC were very gracious about it, and we all had beers and a BBQ after (cheese on the burgers), while watching more games playing (this time football tennis) by our young opponents.
As we were leaving, Terry very obligingly provided an excuse for an age joke, as he wandered in very slow circles round one crease, staring at the ground. Was he reminiscing about the time in pre-history, before thousands of years of erosion, when this area was Scaynes Mountain? No, he‘d lost part of his glasses. I have no recollection of him falling over. At all.
And so back to HQ before 6pm for Yummie unhygienic pizza and lots of beer. Most playing Greysmen stayed for a good session, with the addition of Robbie and a couple of brave girlfriends. Two of us were foolhardy enough to venture down to the Speigel Tent and one went on clubbing after that. Probably. Don’t know if he got that far, to be honest. Another excellent day being a Greysman, not including the quality of our cricket.