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Et alors! How French cricketers aim to beat us at our own game

This article, by Adam Sage, is reprinted from The Times, June 5, 2010

For centuries it was dismissed by the French as an incomprehensible activity practised by British eccentrics and the inhabitants of other nations that had had the misfortune — or the poor judgment — to fall under British influence.

Now France has decided to take us on at our own game, aiming for nothing less than humiliation for les Anglais at Lord’s — albeit within a few decades.

The rise of cricket has been marked by its introduction to primary schools where pupils are getting to grips with le coup d’équerre (the square cut), la balle courbée vers l’extérieur (the outswinger) and a triumphant cry of et alors (howzat).

A state cricket diploma is expected to receive official approval this year in a step towards France’s first professional cricket coaches. “We have several buds which we are nurturing,” Tony Banton, the chairman of France Cricket, the national cricket association, said.

The rise of the sport in France comes 70 years after it was banned as alien by the Vichy regime, which collaborated with the Nazi occupation. It follows an influx of Britons and of Pakistanis, Indians, West Indians, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans, who probably form France’s biggest cricket-loving community.

The newcomers are responsible for forming 42 clubs but the sport is also attracting Gallic interest for almost the first time since 1900, when a French side was beaten by England in the Paris Olympic Games final.

France has a national side, which plays in the European second division, and 1,200 registered players — a number that is rising by about 10 per cent a year, according to Adrien Geille, the general manager of France Cricket. About 40 per cent of the players are French. “Our goal is to have a semi- professional tournament by 2015,” Mr Geille told The Times.

The ambition has been strengthened by the arrival of cricket in primary schools. To date, four schools in central France have agreed to put le cricket — or rather, le kwik cricket, a version played with plastic bats and balls — on to their weekly sporting curriculum this year.

Teachers elsewhere, notably in northern France, are expected to follow in their footsteps from September this year, after France Cricket taught them the basic rules and techniques.

David Bordes, the national technical director of France Cricket, said that coaches had gone to primary schools about once a week to introduce pupils to the sport. “We get more requests than we can meet,” he said. “We try to pick those where the intervention is likely to be followed up afterwards.” About 40 enthusiasts have obtained a certificate to coach cricket on a voluntary basis.

Mr Bordes wants to go a step further by persuading the authorities to create a cricket coaching diploma, which would enable holders to demand remuneration. He said that after a six-year struggle the Ministry of Health and Sport was poised to accept the move.

Just in case France’s new coaches struggle to understand the 42 laws and five appendices published by the MCC, France Cricket has translated them and published them on its website for the first time.

Thus it is that the wicket-keeper is now officially known as le guardien de guichet and lbw as jdg (jambe devant guichet).

There was much head-scratching over the best way to translate “not out”. After what one insider described as a lively debate, a consensus emerged in favour of “rien”, which literally means nothing and which will no doubt be accompanied in practice by a classic Gallic shrug.

Terms of engagement

Fielder chasseur (literally, hunter)

Batsman batteur (drummer)

Bowler lanceur (thrower)

Bouncer rase-tête (head shaver)

Donkey drop balle en cloche (bell-shaped ball)

Duck zéro pointé (zero points)

Four touche indirecte (indirect touch)

Six touche directe (direct touch)

Googly bosanquet (after Bernard Bosanquet, the inventor of the googly)

Stump piquet (post)

Wicket maiden vierge couronnée (crowned virgin)

Corridor of uncertainty le couloir du doute (corridor of doubt)

How the English game of French cricket is played

The aim of this traditional game is for the bowler to hit the legs of the batsman with an underarm delivery. There is only one batsman, whose sole aim is to stay “in” for as long as possible by shielding his or her legs with the bat.

In some versions of the game, runs can be scored by passing the bat completely around the body until the ball has been fielded.

Batsmen (or women, for that matter) can move their feet only after they have hit the ball — if they miss, they must stay rooted to the spot and defend their legs as best they can.

As far as The Times is aware, French people do not play French cricket.

Frogsiders Footnote:  Could this mean there’ll be jobs available in Northern French schools for English cricket coaches?

  • Royal British Legion Garden Party

    Frogsiders readers are cordially invited to the Royal British Legion,  Boulogne and Pas de Calais Branch, Garden Party. which will take place at:

    10 Chemin de la Foret, 62270 Boubers sur Canche on Saturday, June 26, 14h00 to 17h00.

    The Royal British Legion is a non-political,  inter denominational and multi racial association with two aims that of honouring the memory of those who died in the many conflicts through out the world , assisting the families of those died and aiding those  injured.

    Please help us help them

    Anne and Jeremy Towler.

    Local Artists exhibit at Montreuil

    You are invited to an exclusive preview of the “Trois Visions” exhibition, featuring the work of 3 locally based British artists.

    Friday June 11 from 18h00 to 19h30

    119 rue Pierre Ledent,Montreuil-sur-Mer

    The exhibition is open from the June 12 to June 18, 2010 between 15h00 and 18h00 each day, or by appointment: 03 21 05 73 55

    3visions 1

    3visions 2


    by Ian Blackshaw

    cronquelet1This is a country inn, near Saint-Josse, with good honest country cooking using fine locally sourced ingredients – the mark of fine French cuisine bourgeoise! It has been described as ‘a home from home’ and you will certainly receive a very warm welcome from the chef-patron, Jean-Pierre, a well-travelled bon viveur!

    You will eat in a rustic dining-room, adorned with an eclectic assortment of antiques and good taste bric a brac and be served by the faithful Philippe-Konan, from the Ivory Coast.

    A large earthen-wear pot of homemade country pate will appear on your table with freshly-baked crusty French bread and gherkins and you will be encouraged to eat as much as you can – it comes gratis as part of the welcome! We often have this as our starter, but, in fact, there some nine starters to choose from! There are eleven main courses and a fine desserts trolley, the latter comprising some half-a-dozen delights to choose from, including a tasty rice pudding! And, if you are still hungry at the end of the meal, you can choose a little of each and make up your own ‘assiette gourmande’!

    The food is complemented by a small and selective but good wine list and the prices are reasonable.

    The signature dish of the house is magret de canard – one of my favourite French dishes, and, being close to the coast (la cote d’opale), there is also fresh fish on the menu.

    cronquelet2For a two course menu with a good bottle of wine, expect to pay about €75 for two persons.

    If you are planning to go there at the weekend, you will need to reserve a table, as the restaurant is very popular, especially for Sunday lunch!

    There is also a separate dining-room, the site of the old communal forge, and known as ‘l’ancienne forge’, which can accommodate up to 50 people for special lunches, dinners or receptions.

    The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.

    Contact details:

    L’Auberge du Cronquelet

    3, rue de Montreuil
    62170 SAINT AUBIN


    by Ian Blackshaw

    About 10 kilometres north of Hesdin in the sleepy historical village of Fressin, there is a veritable modern Aladdin’s cave. Stocked with French wine treasures: well worth visiting and buying.

    It rejoices under the name of ‘Les Caves du Vieux Chai’. A ‘Chai’ in this context is a depot for the storage of wine and this ‘Chai’ boasts 100,000 bottles of wine. All are personally selected from vineyards throughout France and the proprietors boast that the ‘Chai’ has been doing so for a century!

    They have a very fine selection of French wines to suit every taste and every purse, including carton red, white and rose wine, and twice a year hold a wine fair (‘salon du vin’) for three days, at which you can taste their wines under the expert and watchful eye of knowledgeable sommeliers and growers (viticulteurs).

    They also claim that their prices are very competitive with those of other wine outlets offering a similar range of quality wines. And they deliver bulk orders free of charge within the Departments of the Pas de Calais, Du Nord and La Somme.

    In due course, they will be offering examples of the 2009 vintage, which promises, by all accounts, to be “exceptionnelle”! Well worth drinking some bottles and keeping the rest!

    They have just set up their own website – sections of which are still under construction – at Eventually, you will be able to make a virtual tour of their establishment and order on line. Be that as it may, there can be no real substitute for a real-time visit in person!

    You can taste a number of their wines at several local restaurants, including ‘Le Secret Garden’ in Fressin – opposite the ‘Chai’ – and at ‘Le Fournil’ in Coupelle Vieille, including the proprietor’s own claret (a Bordeaux Superieur), Chateau La Bruyere, the 2005 vintage of which is very good indeed!

    They also offer a select range of whisky and eaux de vie, including the regional gin (genievre) from Houlle – not for the faint-hearted!

    They are open from Monday to Saturday from 9 – 12 30 and 14 – 18 30 and accept a number of credit cards for payment.

    Contact Details:

    Les Caves du Vieux Chai, 20 Grand rue, 62140 Fressin Tel: 03 21 90 61 43

    The Information Highway (slow lane)

    winston the pigeonA South African IT company recently gave a convincing demonstration of the shortcomings in the country’s internet services, proving that a carrier pigeon could deliver data faster than Telkom, the local telecommunications giant.

    Winston, an 8 month old pigeon, took one hour and eight minutes to transport a memory card from one of the company’s branches to another 50 miles away.  The total time taken for the transfer of the data from to the remote computer was 2 hours 6 minutes 57 seconds.  In the same period Telkom managed to transfer only 4% of the data.

    Previously Orange Fr had been thought by many Frogsiders to be the world’s worst ISP.  They now face stiff competition for their lowly position from Telkom of South Africa.

    Join the French Resistance to EU Officialdom!

    From: French Annette

    Scandaleux, tout simplement.  Envoyez ceci aux Européens que vous connaissez !!!

    La retraite à 50 ans avec 9.000 euros par mois pour les  fonctionnaires de l’UE a été approuvée.  Cette année, 340 fonctionnaires partent à la retraite anticipée à  50 ans avec une pension de 9.000 Euros par mois.  Oui, vous avez bien lu!

    Afin d’aider l’intégration de nouveaux fonctionnaires des nouveaux états membres de l’UE (Pologne, Malte, pays de l’Est…), les fonctionnaires des anciens pays membres (Belgique, France, Allemagne..) recevront de l’Europe un pont d’or pour partir à la retraite. Pourquoi? Et Qui paie cela?

    Vous et moi travaillons ou avons travaillé pour une pension de misère, alors que ceux qui votent les lois se font des cadeaux dorés. La différence est devenue trop importante entre le peuple et les “dieux de l’Olympe” ! REAGISSONS par tous les moyens en commençant par divulguer ce message à tous les Européens.

    Françoise Holterbach C.C.A.S. Mairie de Guebwiller – poste 215
    Mélanie BARTHLY Service Marchés Publics Mairie de Guebwiller

    Too many buildings allowed in flood zones?


    French President Nicolas Sarkozy promised an investigation into building policies in France’s coastal regions on Monday, as he visited the areas devasted by Storm Xynthia. Sarkozy also pledged 3 million euros of state aid to help victims of the high tides and gale-force winds.

    The government must “shed light on this unacceptable and incomprehensible tragedy as a matter of urgency,” said Sarkozy during his tour of the badly hit region of Vendée on France’s west coast.floods

    “We are going to reassess building policies so that a catastrophe of this nature does not happen again.

    “We cannot compromise on safety.”

    The extent of the devastation caused by Storm Xynthia has drawn attention to the number of building permits granted in areas of France known to be at risk of floods.

    Since 1999, 100,000 houses have been built in the 27,000 square kilometres of the country considered vulnerable to flooding.

    French legislation forbids construction only in the most exposed areas. It makes no prevision for the demolition of buildings erected before the law came into effect in 1995, even where new construction is banned.

    France must “tighten the rules” on building in flood zones, said Secretary of State for Ecology Chantal Jouanno on Monday.

    “There must not be any construction in areas behind sea walls,” she insisted, adding however that the government is in a “perpetual battle” with people who accuse it of wanting to block development.

    As well as residents of coastal regions, France’s seaside industries have also been badly affected by the high tides and fierce winds.

    In addition to the 3 million euros for storm victims, President Sarkozy announced a separate aid package for oyster farmers on France’s Atlantic coast.

    Salt farms in Guérande, Brittany, that produce gourmet fleur de sel have been flooded, while farmers across France have seen their crops destroyed by 150-kilometre-per-hour winds.

    Restaurant News

    At the ‘Orangerie’, the restaurant of the popular British-run bar, La Chope, at Hesdin, there’s a special winter menu including a lunchtime ‘formule’ with starter, main course and dessert, for only €10.50.  The Orangerie is open every lunchtime except Sundays and Mondays.  Alternatively a range of salads and sandwiches is available to eat at the bar or to take away.  33 Boulevard Sebastopol, Hesdin.  Tel 03 21 90 16 66

    Until the 30th November you pay whatever you think your meal was worth at the Estaminet ‘Le Perroquet’ at Lugy.  There’s a fixed price from just 2€ to which you add as much or as little as you feel the meal deserves.  Open lunchtimes and evenings Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Friday lunchtime only.  24 rue Principale, Lugy.  Tel 03 21 41 79 14fromages

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