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
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, goes back to his family's Sicilian roots in the first 'Godfather' film
Kim Kardashian speaks on the Today show about her step-father's transition
Arts and Entertainment
Kermit and his doppleganger Hyalinobatrachium dianae
Wenger and Mourinho square-up to each other earlier this season
All the action from today's Premier League, including Everton vs Man Utd and Chelsea vs Arsenal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions