(Osaka Cricket Club Party Report as sent by Richard Downing)
This year's party was held in the reeking Garlic and Garlic restaurant in a special; room which was called "The Wizard of Ozz (Aus)" because of it's peculiar bright orange mushroom orbs on the ceiling and it's vivid blue background with touches of unknown bright paint daubed across it.  
It was Kafka's worst nightmare........a leftover from the hippie movement perhaps.  
Almost thirty cricketers, wives, girlfriends and mistresses were in attendance and I believe it was a record for the annual bash.  
President Taylor got us all under way with his carefully concocted cricket quiz featuring twenty questions  with such brainteasers   as "What was Sir Garfield Sobers middle name?' and who was the oldest player to play test cricket and at what age.The groups all did surprisingly well and the first prize of ten free beer tickets was claimed by the Rod Linn Consortium.My own teem "The Kinky Vampires" came in second and won a fine bottle of Glenfidich whisky which we drank in about two minutes.  
Highlights of the year were discussed.Sumudu's run of centuries.........the Bulldogs run of victories and only one defeat. Dog Walker having me caught at the wicket for a golden in the Ashes series only to be reprieved for a no ball.Such gems as these were bandied about a bit  
And then onto the batting and bowling presentations.The famed Batting Cup now in it's fourth year and sadly looking the worse for wear,what with one ear missing and a chunk bitten off the side by the inebriated tricky Dickey Beaumont.A vicious rumour went around that I broke off the ear in either a fit of rage at having to return it or the ear was shattered into three pieces like a broken heart .Neither was true of course,and we were only glad that Rod Linn didn't win it for a third time as under the FIFA ruling he would have been allowed to keep it in his  Showacho hovel  along with his Norwich City memorabilia 'ala ' Brazil withThe Jules Rimet Trophy.  
No,it was deservedly won by Sumudu who scored almost twice as much as any one else and with three centuries to boot.I often wondered what it would be like to play with a really gifted we all know.Our loss is Fukuoka's gain as this modest and likeable young Sri Lankan heads off down to Kyushu to study something.  
It was the first time this glittering prized batting award had gone to a non-Englishman by the by.  
The bowling award went to Dog Walker the New Zealander who sadly couldn't attend as he was languishing in prison in Hiroshima.He did send a slightly witty fax claiming the prize in absentia.We shall meet again young Dog!  
The "Player of the Ashes" series was won by none other than Brian "El Gordo" Slater.Sadly he couldn't get an average as he was never once out,but he certainly rescued the Aussies from calamity in the second Test when they were 4 wickets down for about ten......scoring 97 not out.  
After a deserved round of applause,he was presented amidst much merriment and mirth with  a video of "England's Greatest Cricketers..from Grace to Gower" was either that or a booklet on how to play the leg glance.  
By this time the party was degenerating into a karaoke-led caterwauling led by Tricky Dickey Beaumont's "Stairway to Heaven" and Rod Linn singing something so put a neutered cat to finally led to the waiters coming in and telling us all to go and take the singing Lord Linn with us.  
So.that was it........some of the boys and girls went on to the infamous Pig and Whistle......home of the three murdered Iranians.It's closing down next week by the way.  
Farewell Party on Wednesday night there should be a good one.  
Thanks of course to Lawrence for all his hard work (thanks for the Hampshire C.C. shirt) and to Rod Linn for finally seeing the light and agreeing to dump Q.P.R and become a Norwich City supporter.  
Richard Downing