At 11.01 am on 28 February 2016 #67 (“Sonny Bill”)1 ventured from the pavilion at The Valley of Peace to open the innings for The Valley for the last time. As is customary, #67 was a tad late in getting his gear on but this allowed time for both teams, The Valley of Peace and the Honest Trundlers to form an honour guard. The players provided #67 with a rousing reception; perhaps enough to bring a tear to the eye of a grown man.
Next visualise #67 taking guard, a perusal of the fielding placements and a glance at the bowler,#11 (“Ace”) from the Honest Trundlers, with ball in hand at the Pavilion end. As brisk as ever Ace put the ball there or thereabouts only to find #67 on the front foot caressing the ball through covers to the boundary. This batting stroke epitomised a career of class at the crease2.
Of course there is more to #67 than just his cricketing life. There is the beautiful Juliet (Pod Cross 2013) and there are colleagues, team mates and opponents who are proud to have #67 as a friend. On that note special mention is made of the wonderful friendship shared between #67 and #3 who together have made so much possible.
- Whilst referred to as #67 the Honest Trundlers recognize #67’s primary membership is of The Valley Of Peace Cricket Club.
- No mention shall be made of #67’s final dismissal but for the record #67 scored 39 runs more than Bradman did in his final innings.