Ronnie's gigs with the Cricklewood Casuals

From Sir Arthur Scrapie DSO

Sir, I feel the death of Ronnie Scott cannot be allowed to pass without some reference to his deep and abiding love of cricket. Although best known for his work in the jazz field, he shared with many other jazz musicians a fondness for our great national game and would often turn out in his early days for our local team, the Cricklewood Casuals.

I remember fielding next to him in the slips one day, and saying to him, "Ronnie" - Ronnie was what we always called him - "Ronnie, you are a creature of the night. How can you play such a sunlight game? You rise and do your work at night, often not retiring to bed before first light. How can your body clock allow you to rise during the day in time for a whole game of cricket?"

There came no answer from Scott's bending figure. Then, after a moment, there came a loud snore. Scott was fast asleep in the slips! How we laughed! Yours etc.

From Mr Reg Wallop

Sir, I must endorse everything that the previous writer has said. Ronnie Scott took a keen interest in many sports besides cricket, possibly because he had a compulsion to bet on the outcome of so many events. I believe he would spend hours in the back room of his jazz club watching horses races, and that one of the very few ways you could get through to him on the phone was to ring up and pretend to be a stable boy with a tip.

I was once playing with him in the old Cricklewood Casuals Second XI (he had actually been picked for the First XI but they were playing away in Suffolk, and he had refused to go, saying, "I'm not doing any more out-of-town gigs this month"), and he was put on to bowl in the last over, when the other side, with their first wicket standing, just needed 17 runs to win. Before he bowled the first ball, he said to me, "Bit of a moral dilemma here, Reg. I've placed 50 quid on the other side to win. Could be some loose bowling in this over ..."

He then bowled 10 wides in succession. After that he winked at me, said, "Just kidding," and clean bowled the last batsman next ball. A lovely man. Yours, etc.

From Sir Arthur Scrapie Sir, I think I may have already mentioned that Ronnie Scott could get through a whole over of cricket fast asleep without falling over. When I asked him how this was possible, he said that nothing was easier. He had quite often played entire evenings at out-of-town jazz clubs and been fast asleep throughout.

"I tell you what, though," he said. "Being a jazz musician, working nights and sleeping days, means that the best place in the world for me to go on holiday is Australia. When you fly to Australia, you are immediately acclimatised when you arrive - you're awake by day and asleep by night."

Then he nodded off again. Yours, etc.

From Jim Wallrush

Sir, You might not think that jazz and cricket would mix very well, but Ronnie Scott took advantage of the terminology of jazz when he was bowling to communicate with his wicket-keeper and let him know what to expect. Slow numbers in jazz are often called ballads, so if he was about to bowl his slow one, he would call out "Ballad coming up". Similarly, he might say "Up tempo" for a fast one. Occasionally he would whistle a tune which I recognised as one of Hoagy Carmichael's old songs, though I couldn't make out which. I asked our wicket-keeper if it meant anything to him.

"That's Hong Kong Blues," he said. "Means he's going to try a Chinaman."

This didn't always work. I remember once he was hit all over the ground by one batsman, who turned out to be a local drummer and could understand everything Ronnie was trying to keep secret. After he had hit him for three successive boundaries, the drummer said, "Keep swapping fours, shall we, eh, Ronnie?" I don't know what it meant, but it didn't best please Ronnie. Yours etc.

From Mr Bobby Randell

Sir, The only time I ever met Ronnie Scott, he wasn't there. I had been asked to turn out for a cricket team called the All Star Jazz XI, and one of the reasons I agreed to play was that Ronnie Scott, whom I had never met, was playing in the team. Well, none of the players looked very much like him so I said to the bloke beside me in the slips, who was a young guy, that I had hoped to meet Ronnie Scott.

"Well, you won't today," he said. "He's gone off to play in another cricket match. He sent me in as a dep."

And do you know, it turned out that all 11 of us were deps! Well, that's jazz for you. Or do I mean cricket? Yours, etc.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor