Saturday 21 October 2017

Cricket: Poetry in motion between the wickets

LAST week's item on Crawley's Tyrone Barnett scoring against Barnet and Bob Fullam scoring against Fulham prompted Tim Folan to drop us a line to remind us that Bobby Charlton's first league goal (he actually scored twice in the game) came against, you guessed it, Charlton.

Gus Rock was also in touch, but he had an interesting take on the whole name thing from the world of cricket: "It reminded me," he writes, "of an Ashes series in the late 70s. England had brought their new great white hope, a young bowler Graham Dilley, on a tour of Australia. Also in the team was an experienced batsman called Peter Willey.

"During the first Test, Australia had racked up a huge score when the English radio commentator (there was no Sky Sports then), got more excited than normal at the dismissal of an Aussie tailend batsman.

"He screamed 'He's out. Yes it's Lillee caught Willey bowled Dilley'. All the commentators must have been waiting for this to happen."

We don't know if the catch was taken at silly, but we like to think it was.

* * * * *

Giovanni Trapattoni's press conference last Friday was an entertaining event all round. Trap, dressed in casual attire, was in a jovial mood as talk of the Soccer Writers Awards, which he was attending later in the evening, lightened up proceedings.

Although all official business was seen to, on several occasions the charming Italian mentioned his appreciation of beautiful women and at one stage even made reference to beautiful men.

But the highlight of the afternoon was when a female journalist asked him to accompany her on a date to a League of Ireland game. Ever the gentleman, Trap agreed to go but pointed out that the age difference could make it complicated and that he cannot watch games near beautiful women as he gets distracted.

Elsewhere in the building, one wily soccer hack was treated to complimentary parking. When it was queried why the journalist in question didn't have to pay while other journalists did, the attendant explained that he was Trapattoni's official driver so he was entitled to get his ticket validated. Mistaken identity or a crafty move?

* * * * *

Mervyn Westfield made history by becoming the first English cricketer to be convicted of corruption.

The former Essex all-rounder was found guilty of spot fixing and suprisingly all he got for putting his career on the line was £6,000.

The fact that his county contract was worth a mere £10,000 a year can't be offered as an excuse.

Westfield could now go to jail after admitting he accepted the money to concede a pre-arranged number of runs in an over in a Pro40 match between Essex and Durham in September 2009. His career is in the bin and his reputation is ruined.

But £6,000 seems a like a very small return for such a big risk.

* * * * *

YOU have to be happy for Graham Lee, the Galway-born jockey who reached the milestone of 1,000 winners last weekend with a double at Newcastle, although according to the jockey himself, he still needs six more to reach the landmark for wins over jumps in Britain.

He was on target again during the week when he gave Posh Bird the benefit of a superb waiting ride to claim the North Yorkshire Grand National.

Making just her second start for Peter Niven, the 8/1 chance was gradually coaxed into contention and stayed well in the straight to beat Cool Mission by five lengths.

But it was Lee's comments after the race that we found most entertaining: "If you told me when I started out riding in Ireland that I'd ride 1,000 winners, I'd have told you to get back on your spaceship and go back to whatever planet you came from."

And then, referring to Posh Bird, he added. "Peter told me that I'd have to tell her a story on the way round to keep her interested, and thankfully I had a good one to tell her and a few jokes as well."

Fergus McDonnell, Marie Crowe

ssport@independent.ie

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