Jones! Bowden!

Where were you for the Edgbaston climax in 2005? I was driving home in a car that only had FM, so I had to get updates from Michael Parkinson on Radio Two. Happily, the old cove would regularly interrupt his guests to give details, but all the same I missed the Jones!! Bowden!! Kasprowicz!! finale.

Harmison, Jones, Kasprowicz

I mention it because I now know what it must have felt like to be Michael Vaughan that day. OK, so the stakes were a little lower in our South Cotswolds Division Three clash last Saturday, but the match situation was very similar. They were chasing 230-odd and we had them 190 for 9 with six overs left. Numbers nine and eleven at the crease. A formality or so we thought. But somehow, the ball kept missing the stumps and fielders, and we began to panic. Before we realised what had happened, they needed 11 to win off the last over. Still ours to lose, right?

A couple of good balls and a decent stop on the third man boundary brought it to eight needed off three, with the better batsman on strike. ‘Give him the single, lads!’ So we drop back five paces and he duly clips it to mid off. ‘Hold the ball!’ We now have the rabbit on strike and he needs seven off two. Game over.

But no! Wait! Mid-off has not held the ball, but instead he has slung it at the non-striker’s end. It misses by a yard and I fluff backing it up (it bobbled, honest!). They run a second. Six off two, with the better batsman on strike.

The next ball goes over cover’s head for four. Two to win, last ball. What do you do? Stop the single and win; or give them one and take the tie? Mostly we did neither. Some came in, some drifted, others minced about. Our heads were scrambled. How Harmison was even able to grip the ball, let alone bowl it, I have no idea! How Jones could have felt his legs, let alone move them!

I dropped in to a short-ish mid-wicket and the ball was chipped over my head for the winning two runs. Had I stayed where I was, it would have been an easy catch, with Richie Benaud crying out my name (in my head). Time will tell if I’m picked for next week’s match….