Bad food stops play

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IN A blow to the solar plexus of Middle England, a village cricket team has withdrawn from its local league because the men's attempts at tea-time spreads - the traditional focal point of Sunday afternoon matches - failed to bowl the opposition over, writes Mark Rowe.

The mid-match buffets provided by the cricketers of Stoke Canon, near Exeter, were so bad that opposing teams refused to play them. As a result the team has decided to up stumps.

Problems began when the men donned the aprons after their partners refused to fulfil the traditional wives' role. In place of salmon and cucumber sandwiches came curried egg concoctions, then Marmite and peanut butter rolls.

In their defence, there is a refreshing honesty about Stoke Canon's culinary efforts. "We made some dreadful sandwiches," said Tim Keehner, one of the founder members. "It wasn't surprising that none of the other teams wanted to play against us. The players would assemble on Sunday mornings with loaves of bread and whatever we could find in the cupboards, but our sandwiches ended up being pretty awful."