Monday 26 July 2010

To serve them all his days

Sussex faded away passively last night in their T20 quarter-final with Notts. They were missing a couple of guns in Prior and Dwayne Smith, and there was an unfamiliar little hole in the lower middle-order too. Robin Martin-Jenkins has slipped away to a better place.

RM-J was a name like no other, not just because of the famous - and rightly proud - father, but with its feel for the amateur days of decades past. There was something of the curate about him, and the Sussex faithful would sometimes serenade him with a chorus of 'RM-J my Lord' as he bustled in with his quicker-than-you-think medium pacers.

So fittingly he has gone to a higher calling, retiring mid-season to take up a place as a geography and religious studies teacher at Hurstpierpoint college on the Sussex Downs. There, his anachronistic life will continue: Hurstpierpoint is one of those schools that only really exist in England. Each Ascension Day, every member of the college climbs a nearby hill and at the top gather together to sing Hymnus Eucharisticus, a big hit in the 17th century. At Christmas, there's a boar's head feast, the boar carried through cloisters as the choir sing Caput Apri Defero, a big hit in the 15th century. The school has performed a Shakespeare play every year since 1854.

In all it sounds quite a lot like a county dressing room, albeit with slightly different songs and more Shakespeare. It's somehow comforting that RM-J will see out his days there, a man gloriously out of time.


Brit said...

Hard to see many Premiership footballers becoming geography and religious studies teachers, innit. Much better than eternally potting snooker balls in the mansion's games room.

A 'name like no other'... except 'CMJ' of course. RMJ writes pretty well too - he did the book round-up in this year's Wisden.

Anonymous said...

I do hope he doesn't grow a geography teacher's moustache

Anonymous said...

Saturday League teams of the world fill your hearts with fear.

There be monsters.

Tom More said...

Holy smoke, there's some fine writing on this blog!

10 out of 10 and take a sweet from the jar. Keep it up.

Rohan said...

I'm glad RMJ has found a post-cricket job he obviously wants enough to retire mid-season. He definitely deserves it.

Strangely despite being integral to our 1 day and 4 day rise he wasn't quite so good at Twenty20. With Kirtley and Goodwin also near retirement the playing link to the side that pulled themselves out of the 2nd division and turned into the best side in the country is fading. This truly was a glorious era for Sussex fans.

Hayley said...


I work with the Barmy Army and saw your post. Best of luck to RMJ!
If you are off to the Ashes this Winter make sure you get tickets to our Xmas and New Year bashes and bring in 2011 in Barmy Army Style – click here for more information