There were high hopes that the hard-hitting Education Secretary would play in the annual "friendly" cricket match between the Department for Education and Skills and the Press last week.
Mr Clarke's arrival at the crease had been eagerly anticipated by one hack in particular, who was in the same year as Mr Clarke at the private Highgate School in north London. "I was a bowler and in one of the school teams and I think he was too. I'm sad we didn't get a chance to play each other again."
Another hack echoed his disappointment: "David Miliband was also going to be there but cried off at the last minute. Without Clarke and Miliband there was no fun for pace bowlers like me. We were looking forward to giving their dentists some work. We were kinder to the civil servants and bowled with our left arms. The politicians would have brought out the tigers in us." In case you were wondering, the Press lost.