“The grass was greener
The skies were bluer
And smiles were bright”
…as Gladys Knight used to put it, back in the good old days.
I’m not sure that the grass at the Oval was greener than the grass is at Lord’s, but Middlesex had to play its hard-won home quarter-final away from Lord’s, as Lord’s was already taken for a traditional match of some description; armed services, varsity, eating an arrow, or whatever.
I’m not sure the skies were bluer in SE11 than they were in NW8 either, although the Oval is that tiny bit nearer the equator than Lord’s I suppose.
My smile was especially bright, not only at the end of the match when Middlesex won, but even before the match. I know for sure that I had gleaming gnashers that day, because my trusty diary tells me that I went to see Carita, the best dental hygienist in the world, that very morning.
My smile was certainly absent about 15-20 minutes into the match. Godleman, Shah, Joyce and Scott all back in the hutch for diddly-squat; not just defeat but the prospect of embarrassing defeat loomed. Televised potentially embarrassing defeat too.
I was sitting with MTWD stalwarts in the Oval pavilion. I particularly recall Neil “Lord of the Chairs” Walker and Chris Thomas. We also saved a seat for the late Barmy Kev who I think joined us while we were in the depths of despair. Jez I seem to remember was away, hoping to get back in time, but didn’t/couldn’t show in the end.
In brief, Dawid Malan saved the day, initially with Eoin Morgan, then subsequently with Typhoon Tyron Henderson, avoiding embarrassment and then posting a challenging score. Indeed, it turned out to be a winning score.
The mood in our group improved, to say the least, as the evening wore on. I don’t remember all that much about it, except that huge swing of emotions as the mood turned from despair to hope and eventually joy. I’m pretty sure there was some consumption of beer, unless there was some consumption of wine. I think more likely the former or a fair bit of both.
Perhaps some of the people who were there with me that evening have better memories of it and would care to chime in with some memories.
It was one heck of an evening. And if you were a Middlesex fan, you didn’t need to have seen Carita the dental hygienist that morning for the smiles to be bright, so bright.