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Friday, 3 May 2013

Ben Hollioake gave me his England shirts...and other stories

Just sat down with Warwickshire Director of Cricket Dougie Brown on the top tier of this media stand to chew the cud under the gorgeous warm spring sunshine.

It was an unusually wide ranging discussion starting with the state of the Hove pitch, which he described as 'plasticine'!! He reckons it was prepared to order because Sussex were so intimidated by the Warwickshire pace attack! It was 100% true, Dougie said, but really....does that sound plausible?? Why would a line up of Matt Prior, Ed Joyce, Chris Nash, Luke Wells and RHB be intimidated...especially with their attack not featuring Rikki Clarke and Keith Barker who are injured.

Hmmmm posturing....don't you just love it!!

And then we talked about the England A tour to Sri Lanka in 1997-1998. Sounds a bit bizarre eh but it was my first England A tour and a bit of an eye opener......managed by Mike Gatting and Graham Gooch with Freddie Flintoff, Ben Hollioake, Nick Knight, Ashley Giles, Jimmy Ormond and Chris Read...and Dougie,   along with some exotic journos in David Hopps, Geoffrey Dean, Charles Randall, Simon Wilde and a few sundry others.

Freddy has large legs

It was hard work but very good fun. I remember Ashley Giles coming into dinner one night wearing a sombrero and strumming a guitar. I can't remember if he actually played and sang or whether he was just mucking about but the entire restaurant dissolved into a ripple of raucous tittering!! I also remember sitting in Fred's room interviewing him and coming over all funny due to the skimpiness of his shorts!! He has laaaaaaaaarge legs! The Freddie feature I wrote was garbage if I remember rightly.  And I remember Hollioake coming to my door at the end of the tour carrying two of his England shirts which he handed over with that lovely smouldering grin he was famous for. No idea why he wanted me to have them. But I still have them...no one would know they were his because there are no names on them. But I know.

Ben Hollioake gave me his shirts












And then Dougie told me he knows the Kiwi Jono MacBeth, a big name on the international sailing circuit, currently attached to the America's Cup team Oracle in San Francisco. Dougie's wife is good friends with the MacBeths....small world eh!!

Beefy Jono Macbeth

And then I told him he needs to find some better looking players at Warwickshire... and left!

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