AE Stoddart and Carol Vorderman
Posted on June 14, 2011
As I feared, Sunday was a complete an utter washout, wrecking the North Hants top of the table clash between Kingsclere and Oakley under 15’s as well as the much anticipated and long awaited Sunday afternoon fixture between Broughton and Old Hurstonians. The rain commenced at 7.00am and never relented, resulting in the whole day resembling one of late October rather than early June, with the temperature peaking at a tragic twelve centigrade here in Basingstoke.
I had this day down in my diary as one of the most enjoyable days of my summer as all my old mates were due to the village where my girlfriend lives for a game of cricket, a few beers and a chinwag about life in general. Location and family commitments mean we don’t see each other as much as we would all like, so to see all the effort that Tony and I put in to organising this game go to waste was a real pity.
This left me with little to fill my time except to browse through the newspapers and it was here I came across a couple of articles that took my interest. The first was a piece by Stephen Brenkley in The Independent questioning whether the current England team could become the greatest ever? Comparisons were made against Michael Vaughan’s 2005 Ashes winners, Ray Illingworth’s side of 1971, Len Hutton’s of 1953 and finally, but most intriguingly, the vintage team of the 1890’s captained by one A E Stoddart.
Never heard of him? Neither had I, so as the the rain continued to thrash against my kitchen window I investigated. Please read on as it is a sorry tale of sport before all the money and sponsorship poured in to it. It might not feel like it, but Sky Sports with all it’s riches wasn’t available in the 1890’s.
A E Stoddart was the captain of England as they battered the Aussies in the early Ashes series, losing only once between 1883 and 1896. He was considered by many as the ultimate sporting hero who also played Rugby for England and was a fine all round athlete. However, on the 7th April 1915 it was reported in the London Echo that Stoddart had shot himself in the head.
He had recently resigned as president of the Queens Club due to a nervous breakdown and had struggled to find employment since. Late one Saturday evening he made the decision to end his miserable existence, but his wife found him with an unloaded pistol and after a brief struggle, she managed to prise the weapon from his grasp and strongly advised him to consult his friends to talk things through.
Mrs Stoddart (rather foolishly in hindsight) then handed the pistol back to her husband but took the live cartridges from his possession. However, she later found him dead in his bed, with a single gunshot to the head (there is a poem in that line somewhere). She must have regretted for the rest of her life that the thought hadn’t crossed her mind that the poor bastard (who was also beset by Pneumonia) might well have had another box of ammunition.
The former sporting hero and stockbroker had serious financial problems, so at 52 years old, suicide was his only way out, a single bullet to the head doing the job quite nicely. If Andrew Strauss does not become widely recognised as the captain of the finest England cricket team of all time, he can at least console himself by knowing that when he is 52 years old, he won’t be sat on his bed with a pistol pointing at his head contemplating suicide, well, certainly not because of his because of his grim financial state anyway.
The other item of news that caught my eye was Peoples Princess and number crunching day time TV loan shark saleswoman, Carol Vorderman, winning the much coveted “Rear of the Year” award in at the Dorchester Hotel in London, a decision about as shocking as awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Apparently Pippa Middleton was hot favourite to win the award, but refused to enter an event that she would not be seen dead at, not that having a nice bottom should be anything to be ashamed about. I am quite sure for a woman of 51, our Carol has got a nice enough rear, but nominating her as ‘Rear of the Year’ is a bit like awarding Des Lynam “Best Testicles 2011.”
How does the judging work at these events? Is it voted on by a load of sixty five year old perverts who spend their days in retirement masturbating over Tina Turner prancing around the stage like an extra from Planet of the Apes?
I am really struggling here, as I am finding hard to believe that Carol Vorderman has the nicest bottom in Britain, though after walking to the HSBC bank in Basingstoke today I can see how she was a contender. If the 2012 Olympics games featured an Obese-Olympics, Britain would be on the steel reinforced podium for every event and the town of Basingstoke would be very well represented.
So, credit where credit is due, Carol is the champion, and it must be said, I have not come up with viable alternative so far, especially as the Queen Mother is no longer around.