'Can't bat, can't bowl, can't field ...but he's got his own car'
A rollicking roll call of our current regulars
11. Stuart Ackland Occasional skipper, tour superintendent and in the early days Bodley's Mr. Consistency, Stuart strove hard to make the coveted No.11 spot his own thanks to some spectacular hitting - inevitably straight into the hands of a nearby fielder. A cultured 2 not out in the first Cambridge match seems so improbable nowadays, a fading memory framed in aspic. Bowling and appealing gets Stuart into the team - our loudest performer by far, the Ackland haka has unnerved many a weak-willed batsman into submission. In more recent years Stuart has taken to batting more keenly, perfecting a unique approach that begins with taking a guard on the adjacent pitch, and then stepping back some more before swiping at the ball with the underside of the bat. Never happy on the pitch, and even more pessimistic off it, Stuart is nonetheless the beating heart of the club.
'During the war...' - Long ago Stuart once said the following, which nicely sums up our ethos - 'Bodley's sporting philosophy has always been that everyone should have a go, regardless of talent and if we lose then so what, as long as we have enjoyed ourselves.'We have yet to find a way to enjoy losing.
142. Phil Burnett A player and a gentleman since 2016, and brought to us via the fertile recruiting ground of the Music Faculty, Phil brings all-round ability that extends, in a first for Bodley, to actually wanting to take on scorebook duties - possibly (definitely) influenced by a commendable dislike for umpiring duties. On the pitch Phil is primarily a bowler, and with sliver locks flowing in the wind can be seen sedately running in early in a Bodley innings. To complement that most selectable of talents, Phil is steadily moving up the batting order to soon take possession of an opening spot, having discovered a penchant for classical dives and flicks. So to our great delight, and as is the case with all proper English clubs, we now have a proper South African all-rounder. Has yet to properly demonstrate his musical ability to the team, but has been known to hum diminished scale patterns whilst fielding at slip.
4. David Busby Hmmm. Quite simply, the man is a genius. Another of Bodley's founding members, Dave befuddles the opposition by looking like Ricky Ponting, talking like Pa Larkin and batting like Brian Lara - in fact the backlift is so straight, and so high, that circling buzzards have been known to land atop it and build a nest. An occasional bowler beloved for delivering 'death from above', Dave's deliveries have caused many a batsman to retire hurt due to a craned neck. Famously, and brilliantly once played an innings in which he went for a short walk mid-over whilst still on strike, to the immense enjoyment of all watching. On top of all of this Dave is also responsible for Bodley's best touring story, but you'll have to see Stuart down the pub to hear it.
141. Tom Dale (retd?) Whilst our bowling stocks have always been delightfully varied, mixing seam and spin with long hops and full tosses to create confusion all round, we've never had a full throttle ball-wanger. Tom came to a net session early one season and within half an hour convinced us all to buy helmets and extra steaks for the keeper's gloves. Like all fast bowlers Tom believes in outright pace above all else, much to the repeated upset of our keepers. Nowadays sadly semi-retired due to the rigours of that bowling action, Tom's team-mates hold out Obi-Wanesque hope that one day, the Bodley express will again tear in. In fact, I'm leaving his player profile up in expectation.
73. Andy Hudson Andy has the rare distinction of being the only player who has left the team and then re-joined, despite knowing how good we aren’t. Andy’s first game in 2003 notes that he went out to bat with Bod on 105 at 3.50 only to be bowled, returning to his new team-mates at... 3.50. After that Andy became a regular, decent bat and a bowler with a nice smooth action, similar to Jeff Thompson (though admittedly a bit slower), side-on and with a tall arm. Andy escaped our clutches at the end of 2007 after a move to Canterbury only to discover the Bod tour in 2008 was to Canterbury, where the team managed to get stuffed three times, his contribution two ducks, plus ca change plus ca meme chose. Andy returned in 2017, no doubt wondering if we’d improved since then (we hadn’t), whether we’d gotten a raft of new players in (we hadn’t…much) and whether we’d got any funding from the Library, thus reducing extortionate sub demands (we hadn’t). Welcome back, try and stay this time.
107. Gareth Jones Tempted into playing as a way to escape the darkness of the bookstack, though arguably stronger with the pen than the sword, Gareth spent his first three seasons neither scoring runs, bowling, or fielding with any coordination. Despite that inauspicious start he has turned himself into an unlikely Geoffrey Boycott devotee (7no from 14 overs in a T20 being a highlight), and a nearly competent fielder and occasional keeper. Has occasionally revealed a surprising ability to hit runs down the order, but resolutely refuses to do the same up the order. Holds the record for most trips to A&E in a season - three - including a frightfully messy broken nose on the pristine outfield of Magdalene College Ground.
8. Andy Mackinnon Bodley's close fielding demon with bucket hands and a knack for our trademark flighted deliveries, Andy has been with Bodley from the start. A thrilling first few overs at Cambridge back in 1995 soon gave way to wickets and more wickets but these soon gave way to slightly less wickets but more runs, which then passed the baton onto a penchant for cider and apples of the electronic variety. A gadget freak, Andy is feverishly waiting for the day Apple release their long-awaited I-Bat, which he hopes will fare better than his I-Pad, having seen that become the victim of a plum lbw earlier this season.
156. Steve McGranahan Summertime Father Christmas and closet Shakespeare fan Steve came to Bodley cricket via the increasingly uncommon path of actually working here, Steve's first experience with the team was at indoor winter nets in 2018, where the rampant inadequacies of the side were cruelly exposed by the fact we were netting next to a much, much better team. Happily, Steve dismissed this warning sign and became a regular, rekindling a love of the game from his younger, beardless years. A deceptively sharp bowler that moves the ball on and off the pitch, Steve is a thinking cricketer - a rarity in Bodley's ranks - and with that moving ball could well be our secret weapon as we find ourselves ploughing the furrows of many of Oxfordshire's worst village pitches.
85. Leigh Mckiernan What can you say about Leigh? Have you met Leigh? Those who have, have yet to recover from Leigh's perfect bedside manners and charming propensity for using only certain choice bits of the English language. A batsman who's style might be fairly described as bruising, with a technique not too far removed from putting a golf ball with a sledgehammer, and a bowler who's brief two hop run-up well disguises the impending bodyline missile thereafter unleashed. Leigh's finest moments are too outlandish to list, but suffice to say Leigh has been involved in many a memorable match!. Sadly now retired to focus on winning a nobel peace prize for Marston, Leigh nevertheless remains a threat with bat and ball.
7. Andrew Milner Bodley's original all-rounder and once our best fielder specialising in spectacular run outs, Andrew is sadly now reduced to hopping over the ball in his slippers somewhere near a shaded spot on the boundary. Regardless, his bowling gets better and better (and slower and slower), whilst an insistence on going ever further down the order can only be to protect his famous knees (allegedly his third pair). Due to club founder Nick Millea's prolonged sabbatical, Andrew has regularly skippered the team, allowing him to indulge his fondness for waving angrily at all and sundry whilst chuntering to himself about the toss. Top scorer with 97 until 2013, and still a stunning sight when in full flight - like a younger Jack Hobbs, were Hobbs alive today. Renowned for either losing the toss and being asked to field, or winning the toss and deciding to field, Andrew has more recently taken to scouring the colleges for emerging talent, like a blustering recruiting sergeant at Portsmouth.
152. Miten Mistry The latest in a long line of success stories for Bodley's covert cricketing recruitment operation - officially known as the Graduate Trainee Scheme - Miten joined us from Special Collections where he hopes to one day follow in Neely's footsteps and have his very own kit bag. A regular feature at number 10, there have been noted intentions to attempt a ramp shot despite never having played a sweep, something his team-mates are keen to see if only for the comic potential of such a foolhardy plan. When not joining Jones in the outfield diving club Miten is a handy left-arm seamer, with a dusty archive of lines and lengths at his disposal, if not his command. Miten's mits meanwhile are improving in the field but have so far been most effective at the dinner table when tea rolls around - a commendable, if not match-winning approach.
90. Matthew Neely From tail-end bat-fancier to established opener, keeper and ever-complaining grumpy bowler, Matthew plays every game - largely due to his belief that an England call up is only a quick 50 away. The photo to the left shows Matthew in his day job as an archivist - always ready to play, regardless of the occasion. Amazingly, and in defiance of all records, statistics and witnesses, Matthew has never once been legitimately dismissed. With the ball Matthew is best remembered for a side-splittingly funny breakdown on a long, hot afternoon in Dorset, as he finally, mid-over, decided he'd had enough of being hit for fours.
119. Alec Paton Alec appeared at Bodley nets one evening (amazing really as we don't generally do nets) and has played ever since, making the number 11 spot his own against some very stiff competition. A bowler of rare flight and frightening variation, Alec has yet to be entrusted with the ball in an actual match, but this can only be a matter of time as the rest of us tire of being hit for bloody runs. Alec does however own a rather impressive pair of sideburns that have been known to attempt a catch independently of Alec's hands. Batting-wise, Alec is fond of keeping his team-mates guessing by feigning to leave before swinging for all he's worth.
105. Tim Philipson A natural golfer who sees no difference in the necessary approach when given a wooden bat, Tim has become a very entertaining player in all disciplines, with a genuine love for bowling the final over with the winning runs imminent and everyone else having suddenly formed a queue at the bar. Surprisingly safe under a high ball - unless it hits his forehead - when not fielding Tim can be found avoiding umpiring duties smoking endless roll-ups somewhere on the boundary. Perhaps Tim's most impressive statistic is his number of appearances each year, being the only member of the team to regularly play every single game - a staggering achievement that leave the rest of us wondering how on earth he gets so many passes.
101. Gavin Robinson Big Gav is Bodley's veteran (ahem) club cricketer, having turned out for Eynsham CC for many a year. A devilish cutter (with the bat) and puller (behind the bar), and a trump card with seaming wibbly-wobbly deliveries, Gav is always happy to do something for his skipper. Indeed, being a yorkie, Gav is most often to be found stood in the slips coaching anyone within earshot (which is everyone). Equipped with an internal sat-nav and having apparently visited every city, town and village in England, Gav is also the only one of us who is happy to drive, knows where he's going and what to do when he gets there..
122. Tim Saunders One could probably write a book on the exploits of Bodley occasional Tim, if it were not for the fact that none of us really know what he gets up to on his many jaunts to all corners of the world. A sparkling batsman and surprisingly agile fielder, given some of his other hobbies, Tim plays for Bodley whenever time allows, and has been an enthusiastic tourist for some years now. Indeed, touring brings out the best in Tim, as he once almost fell asleep whilst keeping wicket in Norfolk and in Winchester rivalled Dave in the pursuit of alternative nocturnal entertainment. When not playing for Bodley Tim leads his own team - the Hendricks XI - who have a commendable attachment to said gin and to playing cricket under its influence..
123. David Shackleton Food fad fan David somehow came to us via his nap-filled evening duty at the library. Already playing regularly for St.Catz College and Oxford, we let him play for us only after a great deal of consideration and assurances he would be able to cope with the greater demands. When he eventually wanders by mid-innings, David bats with conspicuously proper technique, bowls a bit, has a pretty good arm and a thick mane of hair. Despite our best attempts to run him out and level things out, David has Bodley's highest ever average and has allegedly score a double hundred with the bat pictured left.. On the downside he's a rubbish wicket-keeper and has the timekeeping of an undergraduate.
92. James Shaw Bodley's all-round trump card, James bats up the order, bowls what may or may not be a heavy ball and can even catch if asked to do so. Took Andrew Milner's top-scorer mantle in 2013 with a stunning 100no against OUP and then followed it up with another one in 2014 whilst on tour. To mark this unprecedented double James purchased his very own bat, though it has yet to return the favour and get him to a hundred - leaving team-mates scrambling for what is now believed to be the knackered Excalibur of bats somewhere in the kit-bag. If all this wasn't enough, James's young son Daniel is also a quite splendid cricketer, returning outrageous figures of 3-2-1-3 against Peasemore.
124. Robin Triggs (retd) Keep Britain Tidy campaigner Robin has been with Bodley for a number of truly eventful seasons, and brings an inimitable bowling style to our ranks - begins run-up on the adjacent wicket, dances across the umpire towards the off-side before delivering the ball to any number of mystery destinations - whenever he is not on honeymoon, which seems to be most of the time. Owns a cricket jumper made to his own design (pictured), featuring a bewildering and probably fictional array of motifs from his warped mind. Suit you, Sir!
16. Mike Webb Made his Bodley début in 1995, having observed our inaugural year from afar to asses whether or not a Yorkshireman should join such an outfit. Against his better judgement, Mike decided to join and revealed himself to be a batsman of rare leg-side ability and a reluctant bowler of even more reluctant medium pace seamers. Handy with the gloves but even better in the field Mike took Bodley's Best Ever Catch at 2.49pm on Sunday 12th July 2015 at Great Haseley in Oxfordshire. Some say that Mike's full bodied dive to his right, snaffling the thunderbolt mid-air and rolling like a Hollywood stuntman into the path of a single beam of perfect sunlight as doves flew overhead, was a complete and utter fluke as he tripped over a divot, but this would be to overlook the fact that before this Bodley had not caught a ball since 1993. As if that wasn't enough Mike also holds Bodley's highest ever score - a sublime 107no to take us to victory against OUP in 2017. Teammates rejoiced and the oppo sulked, it was simply magnificent. Mike is now under intolerable pressure to repeat the feat every match.