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On me aged 26

Hello and welcome to my first blog of 2010. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any tears.

I hope you all enjoyed a relaxing festive period, and that no one was stabbed. I myself spent a week in the Yorkshire Dales with Joan. We stayed in a remote cottage in the tiny village of Gunnerside. It was so snowsome up there that FIVE TIMES we had to ask local walkers, farmers and types to help push our car free. First time was when Joan and I attempted to visit the local hamlet of Crackpot so Joan could get a photo of the sign with me underneath it (we’re really funny). Turned out Crackpot was just a house.

Then what?

We got stuck. We got help. We got stuck again. We got help again, this time begrudging. Third time, as I fled reversing backwards down the icy lane, I gave it too much right hand, turned into a drift and we got stuck AGAIN. At this point the two farmers put their heads in their respective hands. It was a low point.

Is this relevant?

Not at all. The purpose of this blog is to visit in video form the year 1999. Back then I was a huge cricket fan. I’d entered a competition at The Oval to hit the Pakistan and Surrey off-spinner, Saqlain Mushtaq, for six. And I won! Which meant that during the interval of a day-night game between Surrey and Middlesex I had the chance to win £10,000. All I had to do was “Hit Saqi for Six”, as the competition was branded, off one ball. That’s right. One ball faced, have to hit it for six.

There were four of us that afternoon. We sat together waiting for our chance. I was to bat third. The air was thick with body odour. I think it was the man in the suit. Imagine attempting to hit Saqlain Mushtaq, one of the world’s finest spinners and creator of “the mystery ball”, for six in a suit. That’s why I wore a white t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms.

Will you just show it already?

Just a minute. At the end of all the fun I chatted to one of the cameramen on the boundary. “If you want to get hold of the footage,” he said, “just write an email to Sky.” This I did. Three days later a package fell through my door. And there it was: a ten minute Fellini-esque unfolding of the afternoon.

The video had been collecting dust (and stamps) for ten years but the other week my cousin Luke kindly converted it to digital and uploaded it onto YouTube for me. It starts slowly but the footage of the pompom girls and the sight of me warming up should keep you going.

CHEER! as the crowd wills me on
CRINGE! as I can’t stop looking at the camera
MARVEL! at my dashing blade
LISTEN! as a friend shouts “Come on Wordybonk!” exactly 5 minutes and 40 seconds in
SNICKER! as I tell Saqi “well bowled” at the end

Oh, here it is

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At the end of 2009 a man did something similar on the rugby field, kicking the ball directly onto the crossbar and winning himself £250,000 into the bargain.

Nice one Cyril.

Happy New Year!

Saul