Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Was in a Picture at the Gabba So I Can't Be Too Negative about My Compatriots

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Was in a Picture at the Gabba So I Can't Be Too Negative about My Compatriots

Article excerpt


LIKE the Lions and Wallaby rugby players who will face each other in tomorrow's First Test at the Gabba cricket ground in Brisbane, I have been lucky enough to be pictured taking part in a great sporting occasion on the hallowed turf.

have to admit, the photographer had no idea who the 11-year-old was patting Australian captain Greg Chappell on the back as he walked off the field after scoring century in both innings against the West Indies in 1975.

The picture appeared on the front page of the local paper in Brisbane and, together with a couple of pieces of the wicket that I went back to pick up, have pride of place in the family trophy cabinet.

Those little strands of grass are kept in a small cup inside a bigger trophy and still mean an awful lot to me all these years later. I was a cricket-mad schoolboy and my father used to drop me and a friend off at the Gabba to watch the big matches.

had a couple of 'unofficial' days off school in 1974 to watch Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson making life difficult for Mike Denness's England team in the Ashes series and my friend and promised each other an orange juice (come on guys, we were only 10!) each time an England wicket fell.

Needless to say, we had four or five stacked up as Lillee and Thomson went to work and this will be my first trip back to the Gabba since those very happy schooldays.

Beating the Poms is a huge part of Australian sport and tomorrow's Test is the latest in a long line of great sporting occasions. That is why I have been dismayed at all this talk about the Second Test in Brisbane in 1989, with constant references to the 'Battle of Ballymore' and predictions of similar problems this time.

As far as I am concerned, and I played in that Test, harking back to 1989 is about as relevant as 1889. The current Lions have been accused of illegal tactics in the tight play, doing things off the ball and just about anything else likely to incur the wrath of the referee.

I just hope it all stops now the Test series has arrived and, please, can we just get on the with game. All it tells me is that we still hold the Lions of 12 years ago in high respect because they won a series the Wallabies could have claimed. …

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