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R S V P : Snubbing This Auction Wouldn't Be Cricket

November 02, 1994|BRIDGET BYRNE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Joseph Marcell, best known for portraying the grand English butler on the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," and Allan Lamb, famous in much of the world for the more than 5,000 runs he has scored in international matches while playing for England, were talking cricket.

"I was really sweating out there because I didn't want to be out for a duck," Marcell admitted.

"I think I was, but luckily they called it a no ball," Lamb confessed.

Fans of the game and others who had no notion that a "duck" means the batsman is out without scoring any runs gathered at Will Rogers State Park Polo field Saturday afternoon to watch Cricket Aid '94, a pro/celebrity match to benefit Tuesday's Child and the Sunlight Mission.

There was a red London-style double-decker bus parked on the boundary line and a considerable amount of blue gin drunk in the VIP tent, where a lunch of chicken, rice and salad was catered by Victor Drai's Parties Plus. Many of the guests had emulated the players by wearing white.

The red, white and blue of the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes were being waved as the British tried to convince the Americans that cricket is a great game.

"Like all quality things in life, it takes time to learn to appreciate it," said British pop star Adam Faith, while around him members of the Beverly Hills and Hollywood Cricket Club hastened to point out that actor C.E. Aubrey Smith established cricket in Los Angeles more than 50 years ago and that there are 48 local teams.

Cheech Marin, who had never played before, found the game to his liking, managing to hit 10 runs before being bowled out. "You must have played some baseball," Lamb assessed correctly.

Monty Python alumnus Eric Ide wore his cricket whites but didn't play. "I last played 20 years ago and even then I knew I was too old," he said, happy to languish in the lunch tent with his son, Carey, comedy writers Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement, and comedian Charles Fleischer, who was stuck with the task of trying to bully an inattentive crowd to bid on various auction items such as signed cricket bats.

One signed by the Rolling Stones went for $575. The bat signed by the English professional team brought in only $200. That seemed to prove that in Hollywood, show biz is the only real game.

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