England v West Indies, 5th Test, Oval, 31 August 2000 but not 4 September 2000

Thursday 31 August 2000

I have documentary evidence to prove that I went to the Oval on the first day of the fifth test. Not much was arranged by e-mail in those days, but I wrote an e-mail to TMS. I was reminded of same, today (13 January 2017) as a result of some discussions about left and right-handedness on King Cricket – click here – which triggered a memory that I possess a great essay on the subject in The Boundary Book: Second Innings.

I found the book. Marking that very essay in my copy of The Boundary Book: Second Innings was a printout of the following e-mail, to TMS:

In the hope & expectation that Nagamootoo will be selected for the Oval, try this limerick for size.

There is a young man Nagamootoo,

Who the girls find it hard to stay true to;

He’s a little too shy,

Like the song by that guy,

Named Limahl from the group Kajagoogoo.

Do look out for us today, near the front of the Peter May North Stand. A monkey, a green rabbit, four chaps (including two American rookies trying test cricket for the first time) and a yellow duck named Henry.  Henry bears more than a passing resemblance to Henry Blofeld.


Earlier that same summer at the first test with the Heavy Rollers, plus Hippity the Green Bunny, Henry the Duck but no monkey. The monkey joined our household later.
We met Bananarama Monkey-Face in Pickering in early July 2000. This photo from 2014, after he’d established his own small-time writing career.


I have a feeling that the first day of the fifth test must be the occasion that Jeremy, Michael and I went together, with the additional American Rookie being a client or prospective client of Michael’s who turned out to have the attention span of a flea. He watched for about 5 or 10 minutes, got bored, wandered off and made us feel thoroughly irritated, as we knew loads of people who would have loved that hot ticket. As Michael said afterwards, “I’m not making that mistake again”.


Following an e-mail trawl for other summer 2000 matters, I realise that the above memory is false, or rather a memory from a later year/test match day. On 31 August 2000 the attendees were:

  • me
  • Michael “Timothy Tiberelli” Mainelli
  • Charles “Charley The Gent Malloy” Bartlett
  • Bob “Big Mac” Reitemeier (this pseudonym previously unused, but in the grand tradition of On The Waterfront characters as pseudonyms).

Both Michael and Bob were suitably interested in the cricket and indeed both have attended first class cricket and/or played several times since their initiation that day. Perhaps Charles also has some memories of that day. Big Mac e-mailed to say:

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the day.  I must admit that I did follow the events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with some interest following my induction on Thursday.  Great stuff.   The hook has been planted…

What about Monday?

But far more importantly, Aggers clearly liked my limerick a lot, because I heard him read it out at one point and learned that he broadcast it more than once during the day on that first day of the match.

I got very excited on the Friday, as Clean Business Cuisine (still available at all good bookshops, both on-line and real world) had just come out and we were promoting it heavily, so I got our book PR lass, Tanya, to bike a copy of the book to the TMS team at the Oval with a note of thanks re the limerick. I am now sure that such effort and expense is utterly futile. We live and learn.

That evening (the Friday) Janie and I saw Anthea and Mitchell. My diary says so. On the Saturday evening we saw Maz – my diary says so. I think it was her goodbye party ahead of going off to Malawi. A trawl of Janie’s diaries (and other people’s memories) at some stage in the future might well retrieve more stuff about those two evenings.

Monday 4 September 2000

Somehow, England, a shocking test match side at the time, had got itself ahead in a series against the (once) mighty West Indies (heck, they still had Walsh and Ambrose in those days, ageing though they might have been).

Going into the final test, England were 2-1 up. And now England were poised, in a great position to win the historic match and series on Day 5.

Click here to see the match scorecard.

I was reminded of all this 18 months ago (summer 2015) when King Cricket cricket wrote a piece about the summer of 2000 – click here.

Several of us recovered our memories for that piece and commented. Here’s my comment about 4 September 2000:

I remember taking an early call from Big “Papa Zambezi” Jeff on the final day of the series, wondering whether I wanted to join him on a walk-up expedition south of the river (Thames, not Zambezi) to the Oval. He reckoned we’d still get good seats walking up Day 5 and it turned out he was right. But I had unmovable client commitments that day (long since forgotten by me and probably the clients), so he walked up and got splendid seats for an historic day without me. I made amends by buying Day 5 seats for the Oval in 2005 as a precautionary measure; Big “Papa Zambezi” Jeff was one of the beneficiaries of that forethought.

Well I have now looked up my diary and can see exactly what I did that day. I was sort-of on a deadline with an important report. Plus lots of calls. But I did have some slack that week.

Could I have burned some midnight oil and caught up? Of course I could.

Should I have gone with Jeff that day? Of course I should.

Oh well.

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