Despite the name this game involves neither leather nor willow, let alone the sound of one on the other. Nor indeed does it involve actually visiting any licensed premises. Rather it is a game for children to play on long car journeys that uses the game of cricket as its basis.
How to Play
There are two teams1, and both teams sit in the car. Nevertheless, one is said to be 'in' and the other to be 'out'. The team that's out tries to get the team that's in out. Meanwhile the team that's in tries to score as many runs as possible.
But what, you may ask, about The Ship? Well this is where the fielding side come in: They are doing their darnedest to pick out names with no legs at all, each of which counts as a wicket. It should be agreed beforehand how many wickets it takes to get a team all out. Please note that eleven is a little too many, since children become easily bored and it is easier to extend the match (by having an extra innings each, for example) than it is to shorten it3.
When both teams have been in and out, that's the end of the game. If anyone can remember what the scores were, one side can bask in glory and generally say 'ner-ner' to the losers.
Of course not all these rules need to be followed - some even miss out the complicated task of counting runs. On the other hand, some take it seriously enough for certain amendments and clarifications to be needed:
Problems and Disagreements
Obviously this game depends on passing a lot of pubs, which in these days of motorways and bypasses cannot be guaranteed. Therefore parents should be wary of suggesting it if they know they will be on the A1 within the next ten minutes.
Some players (often known as 'dad') may be familiar with the pubs in the area. Others may be inclined to lie. Therefore, pointing down a road and declaring that the Snow White and Seven Dwarfs is nestling on the horizon should not be allowed.
All players should agree on how to treat such as the Fox and Hounds. Assuming there are two of any unspecified plural is a common method, though some prefer four, which allows for higher scores. Most people will soon tire of attempting to count the number of dogs in the picture.
The Cadogan Arms presents a problem - some might say Lord Cadogan had two legs, others may claim that his coat of arms contains a gryphon and a lion (or some other leg-possessing icon), giving eight, whereas others may say that his arms are a mere shield with no legs at all. Some players take the former option (signifying two runs scored), some the latter (signifying a wicket fallen), and only those with a very good knowledge of heraldry take the middle one. Another approach is to ignore such pubs, effectively declaring them to represent a maiden over. Alternatively, some would count these as a wicket and ignore the pubs with no legs.