Favorites Edit


Scott Oliver
603   //    28 Jul 2011, 00:24 IST

As you can see, Gower’s reply was entirely in keeping with the persona now familiar to us from the Sky chair: indulgent up to a point, but firm. For those struggling with his handwriting, it reads:

Dear Scott,
Thanks for the letter – and the poem: familiar, but nonetheless appreciated sentiments.
Good that fortunes at Moddershall are improving – I hope all continues to go well.
Yours sincerely,David Gower.

Now, if I were feeling particularly sensitive, the phrase “familiar…sentiments” could be interpreted as a withering assessment of the hackneyed ideas in the poem, as cutting as it would be for WH Auden or WB Yeats to endure a critique of their use of zeugma or chiasmus [insert clever use of zeugma or chiasmus]. That said, I wasn’t writing for the Bridport Prize. I simply thought, in my own insane way, that I could get him to Barnfields for a beer. I’m still Waiting for Gower

What’s that? Oh, the poem. Here. If you must:

There’s no finer sight in the game of cricket
than to see David Ivon Gower strolling to the wicket
at Lord’s, the opening Test of the Ashes,
the first act of another of those titanic clashes –
he enters the fray at 20 for 2,
all England praying he can make a few.
Languidly he stands at the crease,
running fingers through that golden fleece,
awaiting the bowler – fairly quick –
he rocks back, then…a little snick,
he offers a simple catch behind.

“What must go through that lad’s mind?”,
sighs a Yorkshireman in the crowd,
“Bloody terrible!!” he screams aloud.
“First ball he faces is wide and short,
flamin’ obvious he’d go and get caught,
but could he leave the damn thing alone…
now our chances of winning are blown;
another cheap wicket the Aussies have bought,
Mr Gower out for bloody nought.
Now, you know I don’t like to criticize
but I don’t think the lad even tries!”
His young son tries to disagree
but the wise old veteran interrupts his plea:
“Look, son, you’re barely a youth –
Gower couldn’t care less, and that’s the truth”.

Second innings and England are deep in trouble
chasing 330, Aussies starting to bubble.
Remember the phrase “cometh the hour…”?
Well, out to the middle strode David Ivon Gower.
30 for 3 and backs to the wall,
our cavalier – on a pair – awaits his first ball…
Short and wide, it’s crashed through the covers,
up leaps the Tyke with Gower’s other fickle lovers
and yells “Well played, son, smashing shot!!!” –
what short memories some folk have got.

Australia’s bowlers begin to cower;
with perfect placement and latent power,
with cuts and drives, glances and flicks,
Gower moves effortlessly to ninety-six.
Desperate, the Aussies, to find a match-winner,
they toss the ball to their number one spinner
who flights it up, with a hint of drift,
but Gower just dismisses it with a roll of the wrists
and as the ball speeds away over the ropes for four
the prince of cricketers is a hero once more.
The crowd stood to proclaim a scintillating ton
and within the hour England had won;
Gower was back as the idol of the nation,
as he drank in another standing ovation.

Now, our Yorkshireman came to realize
just what he’d seen transpire afore his eyes,
and that night, before he went to bed,
turned to his beaming son and said:
“Some folk criticize the way that he plays
but if they could see him on his majestic days
when a cricket ground would be brim-full
just to see one commanding pull,
a lazy flick or elegant drive,
the sort that brings the day alive,
they’d forgive him the odd mistake
(something simple, as you or I would make)
because what he has just cannot be taught:
the man’s a genius, a true God of our sport!”

Now you now why I pay twenty quid a ticket,
just to see David Ivon Gower walk to the wicket. 

Scott Oliver
Occasionally inspired leg-side favouring batsman with mediocre concentration; hyper-theorizing captain; reluctant fielder; under-used, low-trajectory, one-trick dobber.
Fetching more content...