- An Ordinary Spectator: 50 Years of Watching Sport;
- Wet and Ready - Book 1 (The DeMarco Diamond Series);
- An Ordinary Spectator – John Rigg's memoirs of watching sport over half a century.
- The Warm Gun?
- An Ordinary Spectator: 50 Years of Watching Sport – Extracts.
- Product details;
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We arrived an hour before play began. The trouble was, so did thousands of other people, who now formed a long queue from the entrance to the ground along the main road and around the neighbouring Trafalgar Square. My recollection is that there was relatively little in the way of pre-sold ticketing for a match such as this.
It was first come, first served, and, after our long journey, there was a clear danger that we would not get in at all. In the event, Brian and I must have got two of the last available places before the gates were closed. We queued for two hours and eventually entered the ground an hour after play had started. We saw immediately that the rumours circulating outside had been true: Geoff Boycott was already out and Yorkshire were struggling. We found some space on the grass on the far side of the ground near the big white marquees that served as refreshment tents. Yorkshire reached a reasonable score, though not an overwhelming one, thanks to some sensible batting by Phil Sharpe and Doug Padgett and a few big hits by the tailenders.
These included a towering six from Don Wilson that I followed on its full trajectory, as it nearly disappeared into the sky and then, as gravity took its toll, plummeted to land somewhere between us and the refreshment tents.
Thereafter, the match hinged on whether Yorkshire could dismiss Sobers before he cut loose and won the game by himself. I watched entranced as Wilson bowled what appeared to be over after over at the great batsman, apparently tying him down for several minutes at a time with his accurate left arm spin, before Sobers would take advantage of a rare loose ball and send it crashing to the boundary.
When Sobers was out, I thought that the roar would probably have been heard back in Leeds. The other Nottinghamshire wickets fell steadily — one to a running catch in the outfield by a young Chris Old — and Yorkshire had won. I could not have imagined a more perfect day. Brian must have persuaded his parents that we had had a good day out at the Gillette Cup semi final because they offered to take us back to Scarborough for a John Player Sunday League match later in the summer.
The opponents were Leicestershire, now captained by Ray Illingworth, who had left Yorkshire at the end of the previous season when, as was the norm for the county in those days, he was not offered the security of a contract lasting more than one season. I watched Illingworth closely. He batted at number seven and made a quickfire He bowled when he thought it was the right time and the Yorkshire batsmen would not score heavily off him.
He positioned himself in the field so that he was not called on to do any acrobatic fielding. He switched his other bowlers cleverly and moved his fielders around so that the favoured scoring shots of the Yorkshire batsmen were cut off. Through his leadership, Leicestershire were always in control of the match and they won without being seriously threatened. Illingworth was the epitome of a professional cricketer, schooled in the Bradford League and the hard Yorkshire changing room of the s, and, to me looking on from the stand, it showed….
We were scheduled to come back to Leeds on the Saturday morning, as usual. My tantrums were to no avail. My parents were fairly down in the dumps after a rainswept week and a jellyfish-ridden beach in Rhyl and the last thing they wanted was to be hurried along by their impatient son. I spent the whole journey in the back of the car, looking at my watch and wondering how many overs I would miss: His scores of 43 and 32 suggested that he might be able to bat as well.
The autograph hunting at this match was as productive as previous occasions: And the prize one of all, carefully written in blue biro: I think it is interesting, looking back, that the Yorkshire versus Somerset match was the last at which I collected any autographs at all.