A Triumph Perhaps And Then A Tear #cricket #memories

Regular readers will know I like cricket though ‘like’ is a facile feeble flaccid word to describe the ludicrous passion I have for this game of ins and outs and meal breaks. The love began in the 1960s and runs like a lovely cover drive through my life since.

If you ask me to recall, say, 1970 it’s not a no 1 hit or holiday memory but the cancelled South African cricket tour and the replacement with a Rest of The World team, Garry Sobers batting with Barry Richards, Bajan with Blond South African as a symbol of the stupidity of Apartheid – not that I recognised the politics, nor even the brilliance of two of the greatest cricketers ever. No, I wanted my England to get them out and win. Good cricket played by England always topped Great Cricket.

I’m more discerning now.. no, that’s errant bollocks. I want England to win and if that means Quasimodo ugly then so be it.

Dad took me to my first Test match – 1971 versus India at the Oval. I sat on the rotting wooden bleachers and stared at the crowd, the gods in flannels and knew what obsession meant. John Jameson, Richard Hutton and Alan Knott were heroes that day – most followers would struggle to remember the first two but not me.

No, not me.

It became a thing, for dad and me, that trip to the cricket and that day at the Oval sometimes amazing sometimes desperately disappointing but each was, at least, a shared occasion, a point where we knew exactly what the other thought. We shared the same emotional response, dictated by eleven players representing England.

In 2005 dad died – March. I already had the tickets for our day at the Oval in August. It was a truly exceptional summer of cricket when suddenly it seemed England arose from 15 years of torpor to beat Australia, our oldest cricketing enemy. As I stood to acknowledge those eleven greats, I like a fair few in the ground shed a tear.

Of joy, yes, but also of loss and an absence too. He would have loved it.

So on Sunday at Lord’s I will be there to watch England take on New Zealand in a world cup final, the first final England have been in since 1992. I will be with my son and if England win – and they have never yet won – I will be deliriously happy and may even shed a tear or two. But one of them will be for the man not there, the man who would understand what I am feeling the man, the man who I like to imagine would turn to his son and say:

‘We did it boy, we bloody did it.’

And if we lose he’d smile and say:

‘Never mind, boy, next time, eh. Better team won.’

Not that he’d mean it. 

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in cricket, family, memories, miscellany and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to A Triumph Perhaps And Then A Tear #cricket #memories

  1. Ritu says:

    Here’s to England finally winning!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Erika Kind says:

    Bittersweet memories. But embedded in a warm and cozy corner of your heart. Very touching!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautiful memory, Geoff. Rule Britannia.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Bryntin says:

    I do follow the cricket, enough to have the Test match Special on the radio all day for weeks now. For us though (my Dad is still with us) our shared Father/Son thing when I was young was standing in the terraces at Exeter City in the old fourth division. Less football, more hoofball… We don’t do it anymore, but this post makes me think I should perhaps suggest it before it’s too late.

    Looking forward to the final but it’ll be a radio experience for me. Have a great day.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Beautiful post, Geoff. I hope, you and your son (and your father) get a chance to shout for the winners ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. willowdot21 says:

    I see the live in these words, for the game, and for your great “old man “. 😏

    On another point why did you use the word bleachers…💜

    Liked by 2 people

  7. willowdot21 says:

    Sorry for live, read love.💜

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh – no fair! You made me cry and now there’s a vague hope we might lose……….

    Liked by 2 people

  9. JT Twissel says:

    Win or lose there will be tears I’m sure. That’s the year I lost my dad though he didn’t care too much for watching sports. Go England!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Elizabeth says:

    In the town next to ours they are building the first cricket field(is that the right word.) Apparently there are enough immigrants to warrant one. That will be fun to watch. I am clueless about the game.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Suzanne says:

    Never discount a Kiwi winning with a throw from left field.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Lovely memories! Good luck from an Aussie who’s not that into cricket!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Nick Bliss says:

    Well, let’s hope you’re in floods of tears – for the right reasons – later on this afternoon, Geoff.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Norah says:

    I think you’re in with a chance to turn to your son and gloat. It’s times like this we miss those who are no longer here. Enjoy the day for both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pam Lazos says:

    A beautiful recollection, Geoff.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Bless, what a lovely post Geoff.

    Liked by 2 people

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