Sussex CCC is a social place so the dinners continue to flow even though the season is finished. Last night Tony Cottey, one of the few to have won championships for 2 counties, Glamorgan and Sussex,presented one of his “When cricket meets…” as he invites sportsmen to a dinner at the Hove Cricket Ground. Last night’s theme was the 2005 Ashes and the guests Geraint Jones and Marcus Trescothick.
Geraint Jones was one of the unsung heroes of that great victory. He , Freddie Flintoff and Ashley Giles provided a third layer of resistance that often came to England’s aid when the batting order did not produce enough runs. Jones scored 1172 test runs and took 140 test dismissals “behind the timbers”. He was still paying for Gloucestershire last season and his career ended in a swansong when they won the Royal London Cup, “Tresco” scored 5825 tests runs at an average of 43. He’s still going strong aged 39 for Somerset . Last season he scored 1284 runs at an average of 57.
Jones is that rarity, a cricketer born in Papua New Guinea. He is open, articulate and funny and is now appointed the cricket coach at Brentwood, school coaching being a favoured career choice post career. Tresco is known for his brave autobiography in which he admitted to depression. Oddly enough he seemed a tough cricketer at the crease. I say “oddly enough” but it must take some courage to make such an admission in the nasty world of sledging.
Though it was nostalgic fun to revisit the Ashes I learned nothing new and there was the inevitable questions of “What’s it like to play with KP?” A more searching question from the floor came from a guest – as she said “one of the few here with ovaries” – is why men like cricket so much. This rather floored the two but Geraint Jones did refer to the band of brothers mentality in the dressing room.
A fellow sat next to had a hair lip. This made listening to him hard – and he was quite loquacious – above the hubbub of the room. I supported a charity that helped those that suffered from disfigurement and I did my level best to conduct a normal conversation but it took me three efforts to understand the question “Where did I sit?” My other neighbour, whom I know much better, recently had throat cancer and had just recovered his voice. It made me think how useful a person a speech therapist is.
I enjoyed the evening. One advantage of living here is that you can be home in 10 minutes. I know it has taken Alan over an hour to get back from a function in Central London. I was also treated to a most glorious sunset of pink and light blue hues as the golden sun settled over the seas. I don’t envy Londoners their life.