The Cricketer
Huw Turbervill Huw Turbervill


The story about the most bizarre cricket match involving rockers clad all in black

Contemporary musicians who like the game include Lily Allen, Razorlight and Harry Judd, and it is great to have them on board. Anything that gives cricket a bit of kudos.

Back in the day, though, musicians who loved cricket were A-listers. The most famous was Mick Jagger, but Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers loved it too. In fact, he organised a match on September 16 1979, to promote The Raven album.

I am indebted to and for chronicling this bizarre occasion – perhaps the most extraordinary cricket match of all time, actually.

Raising money for Capital Radio’s charity, Help A London Child, The Stranglers picked a line-up of punk and reggae musicians to face a team of rock journalists at Paddington Recreation Ground. Apparently it was a grudge match, as the rockers were fuming at some dodgy reviews they had received.

There were three or four Stranglers (reports vary on this), plus about three-dozen ‘cricketers’ from Motörhead, The Damned, X-Ray Spex, Flying Lizards and Steel Pulse, among others. Eddy Grant also played. Motörhead’s hirsute front man Lemmy did not, though, as he was struggling with a wart on his foot, but he lent ‘moral and chemical’ support, it is reported. He said: “Don’t worry. I’ll be watching on the boundary. If anyone needs a pick-up, my friend has a bag of whizz!”

The rockers took a leaf out of Kerry Packer’s book by wearing entirely black outfits, with black pads, gloves, caps and even bats. Apparently they were all out for 133, however, with Captain Sensible failing to play – err, a captain’s innings – struggling to face the bowling of his own girlfriend.

Here is when reports begin to differ, though. Either they were trounced – or they forced a tie thanks to the number of fielders they had on hand. It is difficult to penetrate a field of 40, I guess. Whatever happened, cricket was the winner.