Prince Charles sweeps one; the stance is somewhat unorthodox, but efficient nevertheless    Getty Images
Prince Charles sweeps one; the stance is somewhat unorthodox, but efficient nevertheless Getty Images

Prince Charles, born November 14, 1948, used to be an enthusiastic cricketer. Arunabha Sengupta recounts his deeds at Cranwell against Lord s Taverners in 1971.

Royalty was no stranger to Lord s Taverners matches.

Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, known to bowl crafty off-spinners, had been met at Clarence House by Captain Jack Broome during the early days of the Taverners, and had been asked to become a Patron. After listening to the persuasive arguments, however, the Duke had stated that Patron did not sound quite right for The Lord s Taverners. Hence, it was suggested that he become The Patron and Twelfth Man .

The Duke had known all about the rather unglamorous and menial tasks that a twelfth man s job entailed, but he had grinned and accepted on the spot.

After that, his presence was a regular feature of the Lord s Taverners matches.

However, no one quite characterised Royal Presence in the way Prince Charles did in 1971.

The Prince of Wales was a rather useful cricketer in his young days. If the quality of his cricket did not reach the highest standards of the game, his enthusiasm and zest certainly did. It was not rare to see him in whites, turning out in charity matches.

Charles was only 22 in the summer of 1971. Two years ago he had been crowned by his mother in a televised ceremony held at Caernarfon Castle. In 1970, he had taken his seat in the House of Lords in 1970, although his first speech would have to wait till 1974.

During the time of the story, he had just received Royal Air Force training during his second year at Cambridge. On March 8 that year he had flown himself to the Royal Air Force College Cranwell to train as a jet pilot.

When the cricket season arrived in England in 1971, Charles represented an RAF side against the Lord s Taverners at Cranwell. And he came in to bat in majestic fashion.

Indeed, he rode in, on horseback, all padded up. Some say he also carried a polo stick.

Lord s Taverners matches had witnessed a lot of sterling moments, but this was perhaps the most memorable. It prompted a typically lively cartoon by Giles, showing the prince in regal armour, charging into the ground, and trapping the umpire with a toss of his lasso. The caption read Thanks to Bonnie Prince Charles opening a match on a horse, it looks as if we are in for some brighter cricket.

Cartoon by Giles depicting the royal entry
Cartoon by Giles depicting the royal entry

After this fascinating entry, however, his stint at the wicket was brief. The Prince managed to score 10 before being dismissed by the recently retired Ken Barrington.

However, in the same match, Charles Phillip Arthur George (that is indeed his full name) got his revenge. When his side fielded, he bowled 7 eventful overs for the RAF. A tad expensive, he conceded 37 runs in these overs. However, he had the satisfaction of picking up two wickets: one of them was that of Barrington.

Yes, the royal hand dismissed the man who scored 6,806 runs for England at 58.67.