Need a good piece on cricket for a funeral

My father-in-law was cricket barmy. Sadly he has passed away and I'd like to include an evocative piece, perhaps something describing a match or an aspect of the game, that I could read at his funeral. Can anyone help me?

The best description of a cricket match in my opinion is in England, Their England, written by A G McDonnell. Whilst it's fictional and set in the 1920s it neatly sums up all that's good, quirky and, dare I say it, English about the game when played at grass roots village level. It's quite funny too. The description is reasonably short too, only a few pages.
Don't know if your F-in-Law was a church go-er but a good single line quote from the great Dickie Bird is below...

‘I never had any problems with any Australian cricketer. That’s the gospel truth and I say that as a Christian who goes to church every Sunday. Well, not last Sunday, as I went to the cricket, so I said a prayer instead.’


p.s. forgot the other option is the 'rules of cricket for foriegners' below:

CRICKET: As explained to a foreigner...
You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have been out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!
A very well-known one -

For the field is full of shades as I near a shadowy coast,
And a ghostly batsman plays to the bowling of a ghost,
And I look through my tears on a soundless-clapping host
As the run stealers flicker to and fro,
To and fro:
O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago !

- comes from a poem by Francis Thompson called 'At Lords' - the whole thing is only appropriate if father in law was a Lancashire man
Here is an excert from a letter to an American explaining all about Cricket.

The main purpose of this letter is to tell you about the wonderfully British game of cricket. Cricket is a game that was invented in England for the simple reason that no one else would bother. The English then exported the game to all the corners of their mighty empire. (If you yanks had stuck around a bit longer you might be playing it too.) Cricket is the most English of all games, and if you can understand cricket it will give you a good insight into the mentality of the English people.
So to help you in your understanding of god’s chosen people here is my guide to the wonderful game of cricket.
The pitch.
The cricket pitch is a large oval grassed area, preferably flat. There is no set dimensions for the overall playing area but we normally say large flat and free from trees.(except the Kent ground at Canterbury which is famous for having a tree and the Durham ground which is famous for not being flat.) the pitch is also the name for the small area at the centre (or near the centre, cricket is not an exact science.) where all the action takes place. This pitch is 22 yards long by 10 feet wide and is also called the wicket, it has a crease at each end. This is not actually a crease as ironing a cricket pitch is not an easy thing to do, it is a line marked in white on the ground but we call it a crease.(Please don’t ask why, the game gets complicated enough anyway.) At each end of the wicket is something else which also happens to be called a wicket. This is made up of three wooden stakes called stumps, which are 28 inches high. They are joined across the top by two wooden cross pieces called bails so that the whole wicket is 9 inches wide. The other equipment needed is a solid leather wrapped ball, a bat (one per batsman.) and cricket pads. These protect the batsman’s legs from the solid ball, which can travel at over sixty miles an hour and bloody hurts when it hits an unprotected shin.
The teams.
Cricket is played by two teams of eleven players and two umpires. Not all the players take to the field at the same time and just to confuse the uninitiated they all wear white. (Unlike English football supporters, cricket fans do not wave banners or shout “Come on you whites”.) Some players have special jobs in the team. The batsman uses a bat to hit the ball to score “runs”. Every member of the team will bat at some stage of the game. The bowler throws the ball to try to nock over the batsman’s wicket. Several players can be bowlers although not at the same time as there is only one ball. The wicket keeper stands behind the wicket and tries to catch any ball that the batsman misses, much like a base ball back stop. He is called a wicket keeper but he does not keep the wicket he has to give it back at the end of the game. All other players are called fielders.
In and out.
The two team captains toss a coin to decide who will bat first. The team that bats first is said to be in and they sit in the pavilion while the other team who are out, go out and stand in the field. The batting team (who are in the pavilion) take turns to bat, while they are batting they are said to be in and they go out into the field until they are out and then they come back into the pavilion while the next batsman to be in goes out. This carries on until everyone has had a chance to be in and have all got out and then the whole side is said to be out (except for the last man who never gets out.) then they all come in and change over. The side that is said to be out, stay out all day. When a batsman is in he is said to be at the wicket and when he is out he is said to have lost his wicket. He doesn’t actually lose it as the pitch is big and flat and it is very easy to find it again and put it back ready for the next batsman to loose.
Playing the game.
The idea of the game is very simple. The bowler bowls the ball from behind the wicket at his end of the wicket and tries to knock over the wicket at the other end of the wicket, the batsman defending the wicket at the other end of the wicket tries to hit the ball with his bat. The bowler has six attempts to get the batsman out then the umpire declares that it is “over”, it is not really over, the fielding team change ends and start bowling the next over from the other end of the wicket.
The batting team score by hitting the ball away from the fielding players so that they can run from one end of the wicket to the other. This means that the two batsmen who are in will pass each other going in opposite directions as they run from the wicket at their respective ends of the wicket to the wicket at the other end of the wicket. If they can run from one wicket to the other wicket without loosing their wicket they have scored a run. If the batsman can hit the ball to the boundary of the cricket pitch he will be awarded four runs or if it crosses the boundary without touching the ground he will be awarded six runs.
Getting out.
There are several ways in which a batsman can loose his wicket or get out. These include; Caught out, when a fielder catches the ball bit by the batsman before it touches the ground. Bowled, this is when the bowler knocks over the batsman’s wicket with the ball.
L.B.W. or leg before wicket, this means that the umpire has decided that the ball would have hit the wicket if the batsman’s legs hadn’t been in the way.
Stumped, this doesn’t mean that the batsman didn’t have a clue, it means that he stepped out of his crease to hit the ball, missed it and the wicket keeper caught the ball and knocked the wicket over with it before the batsman could get back into his crease.
Run out. This is when the batsman try to score a run and the fielders knock the wicket over with the ball before they reach their crease.
Hit wicket. You are not aloud to knock your own wicket over with your bat.
Batsman can also retire, if they think they have scored enough runs to beat the opposite team. They can retire hurt, normally after the bowler puts the ball through their head at over sixty miles an hour, and in one famous incident, retire dead. (Not a common occurrence.)
Although cricket is about as exciting a spectator sport as watching marathon runners, it is still very popular. This is largely due to two facts. First, cricket is only played in good weather and the idea of sitting in the sun doing nothing for long periods of time appeals to a lot of people. Second, due to the large size of a cricket pitch most spectators are closer to the bar, which stays open all day, than they are to the action taking part in the middle of the pitch. This also appeals to a lot of people. Most spectators spend all morning and the early part of the afternoon in the bar before taking their seats for a pleasant afternoon nap in the sun. This did once end up with a very elderly gentleman asking his companion to “Wake me up if any thing interesting happens.” Unfortunately the old man passed away peacefully in his sleep, leaving a very memorable “Famous last words”, which were later inscribed on his grave stone, much to the surprise of several people who happen to walk around grave yards reading the inscriptions.
Fitness and stamina.
A cricket “test match” lasts for five days. (Unless England are playing Australia in which case we will have lost half way through the fourth day.) You may find it hard to believe but a five day cricket match often ends in a draw. Many people who do not understand cricket may think that you would have to be an endurance athlete to undertake such a gruelling competition. This is not the case, I can think of no over sporting contest apart from off shore yachting where the players have meal breaks, or the players call it a day and go back to their hotels for a good sleep ready to continue the next day. Due to the inactive nature of some of the more remote fielding positions and the regularity of meal breaks, cricket is the only international sport where you can actually gain weight while playing. Cricket has also been described as organised loafing.
Sorry I had to cut the end off, but ARRSE only lets you post 10,000 characters at a time.

Some cricketing terms.
Here are some phrases used in cricket that may need a bit of explaining to the uninitiated.
Opening bat. The bats are solid and cannot be opened, the phrase means one of the first two batsmen to go in.
Maiden over. The word maiden can mean a young women or, (Increasingly rare these days,) a female virgin. We believe it is the second meaning that is used in cricket as the phrase means an over when the batsman didn’t score. (If someone had scored she wouldn’t be a maiden any more.)
Tail end. This is when all the good batsmen have been in and got out and only the not so good batsmen are left. In the England team the tail end starts with the opening bat.
A good hooker. Not as interesting as you might think, it means that a batsman is good at hitting the ball away to his leg side.
Square leg. A fielding position not a disability.
1st slip. Another fielding position, nothing to do with falling over or women’s underclothes.
2nd 3rd ,4th slips. More fielding positions, not a comedy of errors.
Silly mid on/off/point. More fielding positions which may or may not have silly fielders in them.
A left handed bat. This means that the batsman is left handed. The bat can be no more left handed than a screwdriver can.
Whip the bails off. Not an instant castration, but to knock the top pieces off of the stumps.
No ball. There is a ball but it was not bowled correctly and the batsman gets a free shot and an extra run.
Bye. You don’t have to bye them they come free. It means that the batsman scored a run without hitting the ball.
An hour before play. The bar is open.
Rain stopped play. The bar is still open.
Bad light stopped play. The bar is still open.
End of play for the day. The bar is still open.
There is a streaker on the pitch. Some one has spent all day in the bar.
England are in a commanding position. The commentator has spent all day in the bar.
A batting collapse. England are playing.

I hope this little guide helps you to understand the basics of our national game, and perhaps a little about the eccentrics that play it. I doubt that cricket will ever catch on in America as you are not quiet English enough to appreciate the subtlety of the game and you tend not to go in for genteel games that do not inflict casualties. Cricket is not about winning or loosing it is about “playing the game” with manners and sportsmanship being far more important than the final score, any thing else “just isn’t cricket”. So for the American mentality of winning at all costs, life is too short for cricket.
Can't help with any specific reference, but Simon Barnes of the Times is a superb writer on any sport, and is always excellent on cricket (Google may help you here). Also the late, great Peter Tinniswood wrote a fantastic pair of books called "tales from the long room" and "more tales from the long room". Totally fictional, totally far fetched, and totally brilliant.

Good luck with your search.
The first verse of Sir Henry Newbolt's 'Play the Game'?

Add the second and last verse if he has any Forces connections.

Alternatively, look at the Wisden for the year of his birth and pick either an interesting dit or a decent Obit to read out , or both!

Wisden Archive:

Wisden Almanack |
Harry Thompson's book Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Village Cricketers Take On The World has a surprisingly moving final chapter. The rest of the book is, perhaps, inappropriately funny for a funeral.

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