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Two Captain Scotts

 


Robert Falcon Scott - better known to posterity simply as Captain Scott - is one of the most celebrated explorers in history, destined to remember forever for his doomed trip to the South Pole.

Shivering his life out in a pathetic little tent, Scott wrote, "We are showing that Englishmen can still die with a bold spirit, fighting it out to the end."

He also noted, "We took risks. We knew we took them. Things have come out against us. We have no cause for complaint."

Offley's finest may have cause to remember those words in September following the decision to appoint not one, but two Captain Scotts to the captaincy this season.

Two men who have combined for three half-centuries in 158 innings, a return that suggests they have been elected for other skills than their prowess with the blade. 

Josh Scott steps up from vice-captain to replace Dan Goord on Saturdays while Scott Boatwright continues for another year in charge of the Sunday team.

Scott Duck Boatwright may not be the explorer Robert Falcon Scott was (in fairness despite ample evidence in the scorebook Boaty's middle name isn't actually Duck; it's Elton) but it's worth noting he has discovered a few more victories of late than Joe Root.

While Root has led a team to one victory in 17 attempts, Boatwright is fresh off another solid season of mid-table obscurity in the Beds League. 

At one point a promotion push seemed on the cards as Offley won five of their first even encounters. Unfortunately they lost six of the next seven which rather scuppered the promotion dream.

A man of the people, Boatwright likes to run his team as a democracy which means everyone is given the chance to fail with either bat or ball. Sometimes it seems there is a little too much enthusiasm to celebrate democracy as the batsmen and bowlers have both been known to fail spectacularly on the same day.

Occasionally some do both. Last year at Breechwood Green Terrific Tom Sadler sent down 12 legal deliveries at a cost of 37 runs and bagged a duck in what may have been the most inept performance ever by an Offley player.

Needless to say that's up against some pretty stiff competition. 

Over the years Boatwright has proved that captaincy does not affect his batting or his keeping. A career average of 12 clearly illustrates he is essentially, well, average, with the bat. That being said one hopes there will be no need to relaunch Boat Aid in 2022. 

His keeping has improved markedly over recent times and although chances still go begging on occasion, he no longer resembles a monkey banging a set of cymbals, more a frisky sea lion pursuing a fish.

Boatwright remains determined to lead Offley to promotion and lead them into the third tier of the Beds League for the first time in the club's history.

While Boatwright chases his promotion dream, the other Captain Scott must revive a team that spent much of last season discovering new and interesting ways to lose en route to relegation.

Scott has previous leadership on which to draw. Rumour has it he was once President of the Ben Mitchell Fan Club while he led Offley to the last four of the Hertfordshire Trophy (it sounds more prestigious if you call it the Hertfordshire Trophy and not the Hertfordshire Village Trophy) in 2018, a trophy that Offley would surely have won had Azeem Ansari not failed when it mattered most.

Scott has filled in on occasion for previous skipper Goord (Goord remains as vice-captain) so he is fully aware of the occupational hazards of turning up with nine players, having to bat on winning the toss rather than bowl because one car has got lost and the various other incidents that invariably seem to befall Offley captains. 

Obviously that does not even begin to take into consideration the need to deal with the abject lack of talent at his disposal. 

As a man who began his career at Offley as a spinner before turning to seam, Scott may prove more sympathetic when it comes to handling his bowlers than his predecessor. Whereas Goord motivated his bowlers with a Putin-style fear ("Go for more than three this over and you're off!") and rewarded breakthroughs with back-handed compliments ("Shit takes wickets!") Scott will be able to commiserate and empathise with the bowler who struggles to find his length while the fielders struggle to find the ball in the trees or nettles in which it has just been deposited.

Furthermore as a man who has floated up and down the order with mixed success (an average of 18 with the bat and 24 with the ball is the wrong way round for a proper all-rounder although pretty much bang on for an Offley all-rounder; or Chris Woakes in matches outside of England) he will know that batsmen don't get out on purpose.

Sometimes there's nothing you can do but accept you lack talent and ability as you waft a long hop to cover.

Division 8A may not be trembling at the prospect of facing Josh Scott's Offley just yet but time may yet prove otherwise.

As for Offley and their two Captain Scotts, well if anyone decides at the end of May that, like the late Captain Oates, they need to go out and may be some time, then it will simply be a case of history repeating itself.

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