As a fan of the game who played club cricket for over thirty years it’d be remiss of me not to mention England cricket team’s victory in yesterday’s dramatic ICC World Cup final.
A quite remarkable match where the tie was level after both the allotted 50 overs aside and the bonus six deliveries aimed at separating the sides. The host nation being awarded the trophy after cricket mad clergyman Archdeacon Humphrey Glossop referred the decision to god, who as self-appointed 4th umpire decreed England victors by the virtue they’d hit more boundaries throughout the day.
The fact England captain Eoin Morgan knew the words to all four verses of the hymn The Lord is My Shepherd, when kiwi captain Kane Williamson’s was only able to recite three was also allegedly taken into account.
This edict infuriating the New Zealanders who claimed no one, not even god, should select the winner of such a prestigious sporting event after spending all day in the Lords’s Long Room bar with mates Hackton-Brown, Smudgerton and Craggs Minor.
Quite clearly, my positing of god being the 4th umpire at then ICC World Cup final, his remit to intervene during the more contentious match day decisions, was a fib….. God turned down the role, claiming the pay was “Pants!”. Not to mention concurring with the NZ management’s opinion such a prestigious sporting event shouldn’t be adjudicated over by someone who intended spending all day in the Lords’s Long Room bar with mates Hackton-Brown, Smudgerton and Craggs Minor.
I’ve no idea if god ever played cricket, but if he did it surely would’ve been for Yorkshire. I’d guess alongside the likes of Close, Illingworth, Boycott, Padgett and Sharpe in the sides who won the county championship on six occasions during the 1960’s. The Lord a middle order batsmen who bowled slow left arm spin, generally in tandem with Illingworth’s nagging off-spin…… You may scoff, but it’s not called ‘God’s Own Country’ for no reason!
Anyhow, back to the real world!!….. It was great experience to see England cricket side’s inaugural World Cup victory launch them into the nations sporting folklore alongside the 1966 football world champions and our 2003 rugby union global conquerors.
Morgan, Buttler, Stokes, Root, Bairstow joining a relatively small club of team sportsmen, including the likes of Charlton (x2), Moore, Hurst, Peters, Wilkinson, Robinson, Johnson and Dawson, who’ve achieved world champion status representing the flag of St George.
Like the nations World Cup winning football and rugby union sides, the cricket lads final game was one of immense drama; all games settled in extra time drama.
As a former club cricketer, I often tell those prepared to listen to my unreliable leather ball on willow anecdotes that if I’d have been as good as ex-England spinner Phil Tufnell I’d have played for England. Sadly, I was miles short of that level, but on the plus side at least I’m not a former Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman sound-alike like Tuffers…….. “SEVEN!!”
Hopefully, England becoming ICC world champions, the upcoming Ashes series and the fact JD Sports have a ‘buy one get one free’ cricket box offer will see a big rise in the number of participants at all levels of the game.
Three lions on the shirt; ICC Cricket World Cup still gleaming; 44 years of hurt; never stopped believing – On Sunday 14th July 2019, cricket finally came home.