After the Richmond debacle on the Sunday – click here- Middlesex had played seven, won five, lost two. That sounded great, except that the losses were the most recent matches and we knew from bitter experience that Middlesex’s T20 squad could snatch failure from the jaws of success.
This Uxbridge game against Kent was to be the last home game and seemed vitally important at the time. A win would mean qualification for the quarter-finals. Defeat would mean the need to win at least one of the two remaining away matches.
In the end I worked from home that day. I was due to be at a meeting in Westminster early afternoon to discuss a publication on business ethics I was being asked to edit. I did end up editing it, but the meeting that day got postponed.
I ended up taking the tube to West Ruislip and walking from there – a long but pleasant walk – an easier journey on a good weather day than tubing into town and then out again to Uxbridge.
Barmy Jez, who was working for Ged Ladd & Co in those days, tubed it to Uxbridge with some difficulty if I recall correctly, arriving “fashionably late”. But Barmy Kev and I had found a suitable second row seat on the side boundary and saved Jez a seat. Middlesex were in a spot of bother when Jez arrived, but then revived, which also revived our spirits. A couple of beers probably helped revive our spirits too.
In front of us sat a father and son combination; the father quite old, the son middle-aged or perhaps a young fogey. The father turned around and asked us to quieten down, as we were disturbing his peaceful evening at the cricket. I’m not sure that the marketing gurus who invented Domestic T20 quite had “quiet, peaceful evening matches in Uxbridge” in mind when they invented the format. (Ged makes a note to ask Stuart Robertson that question if ever he gets the chance).
I had brought plenty of picnic food with me, so, during the innings break, I tried to placate the irate gentleman by offering him a packet of M&S Sea Salt and Black Pepper Cashews – a not insubstantial offering in the circumstances. The man looked at me incredulously.
“Are you taking the Mick?”, he asked.
“No, I’m sorry we disturbed you and am offering you a small gift by way of apology”, I said.
“You’re suggesting that I’m nuts, aren’t you?” said the man.
I kept the cashews.
The father and son moved their chairs a bit to place some distance between themselves and us; we weren’t regretful.
Barmy Kev suggested later that I should have offered him some crackers instead. Sweet.
The cricket match ebbed and flowed. We tried not to get too noisily excited, which was quite difficult because it was a very exciting match.
It went down to the last over. Kent was one of the better T20 sides and we all knew that team’s capacity to pull off unlikely wins. But on that occasion they fell a few runs short.
Little did we know at the time how much the match was to foreshadow the final, which took place a month or so later. But for sure that was the evening that I really started to think, “gosh, we are capable of beating the best sides even in tight finishes this season. Maybe, just maybe we could win this tournament this year”.
The MTWD match reporter that evening was Daria – an excellent writer – I wonder what became of her? It is a superb MTWD match report – click here.
Strangely and unusually, one of the King Cricket regulars, Soviet Onion had a match report for the same game published on King Cricket – click here, describing going to the cricket at Uxbridge with his dad. Surely Soviet Onion couldn’t be…couldn’t possibly be…Son of Nut Man? No, I really don’t think so.