Twelfth Man: No such thing as free jazz

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The Independent Online
WITH Andy Caddick expected to be busy at Lord's next week, Bath has turned to another swing merchant to keep the spa town's cricket festival rocking. With four-day cricket cutting the festival from eight playing days to five, the veteran jazzman and Somerset resident Acker Bilk has been enlisted to help balance the books.

He and his Paramount Jazz Band will be playing The Pavilion music hall shortly after Somerset and Middlesex finish performing at the adjacent cricket ground on Friday (tickets still available - pounds 10 on the night, pounds 8 in advance). Scope perhaps for Middlesex to talk keen cricket fan Mick Jagger into a concert to help restore the Uxbridge festival.

A BOTTLE of Aberlour whisky is on its way to Milton Keynes for Rebecca Price's suggestion that Merv Hughes's moustache would also serve as a furry boomerang cover, especially useful in the British climate. Other alternatives include 'a safe haven for endangered wildlife - the English dormouse excepted', a 'didgeridoo cleaner' and 'for sweeping away empty XXXX cans after celebrations' - in which case it could be very ragged indeed by the summer's end.

By popular demand this week we have a limerick competition, a bottle for the best verse comment on the season's events so far.

A MOP-TOP, clean-looking and top of the bowling charts. Is Peter Such the new Beatle? And if so, does Mike Turner, the chief executive of Leicestershire, who released the off-spinner three years ago, feel like the infamous man from Decca who rejected the Fab Four.

'No,' Turner says, 'he still had a year to go on his contract when we released him. I recommended we kept him but the committee wanted him to go where he would have opportunities. He is an extremely nice bloke and I'm delighted.'

CALLING Durham fans. Fed up with the County Championship already? Like to win a game again? How about a league where you can pick players in their prime. Just a dream - yes, exactly. Following the success of fantasy football enter Dream League Cricket, which, given the relish fans have for statistics and the time lost to rain, would appear a perfect match.

The principle is similar to the football version: you select players who score points according to their individual real-life performances. Taken together these points make up the team's total. This way your team can be measured against other teams nationally or in your own league.

Last year's perfect dream team would have included some surprises, no room being found for the likes of Gooch, Smith and Donald. Step forward Roseberry, Twose, Speak, Gatting, Hooper, Capel, Cairns, Blakey, Curran, Emburey, Walsh.

Although the season has started it is not too late to join in. Details available from Dream League Cricket HQ, PO Box 235, Egham, Surrey TW20 9HT.

SATURDAY SURFIE - No 4: The physio. An essential accessory for any self-respecting sports team, cricket physiotherapists are yet to achieve the celebrity of their football colleagues. The former Tottenham man Mike Varney would run on to the pitch at White Hart Lane with his name emblazoned everywhere, Melchester Rovers' female physio was accused of an affair with Roy Race, and Italians - like buses - always arrive in a bunch. Errol Alcott, Australia's sponge man, keeps a lower profile but has been an integral part of the side since 1984.

Alcott is responsible for choreographing the Aussies' Stretch-and-Hold warm-up routine, now showing all over England for those arriving at the ground early enough. The show is second only to the West Indies' routine for entertainment value, their famed quick-step hand-holding number involving Curtly Ambrose and Gus Logie being the benchmark for artistic impression and technical merit.

Nickname: Hooter, not for his profile but because in St Kitts on his first tour he asked when the hooter was going to sound to signify the end of the game as it does in Sydney Rugby League. Lessons for England: on Australia's India tour in 1986/87 he prohibited beer and Chinese food before and during matches.