A Thank you from Piron

I thought I’d put a few words together for  inclusion on website; it’s a bit easier to think of things to say when sober… but think I’ve turned it into something of an epitaph!

As many people know by now, I’m soon to depart back to my Cornish homeland for the foreseeable future and won’t be playing at Cogenhoe next year. As a consequence I would like to put on record my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all involved at Cogenhoe Cricket Club for what has been 10+ immeasureably enjoyable years. There have been many cricketing highs (3 promotions… the first under the inspirational leadership of Tony Bird…) and a few lows (a harsh relegation… we can forget that now), but what I shall take away most is the genuine friendship, camaraderie and enjoyment taken in each others successes… and failures!

My first game for Cogenhoe was a Sunday “friendly” in the late 90’s. I turned up with Alan Harris and quickly got introduced to the then “Sunday Captain”, a chap about my age with ludicrously spiked blond hair. If I was wondering why he was wearing sunglasses on a dank, overcast day, it soon became clear… in his hand was a can of Red Bull (or equivalent) and he could barely open his eyes. “Alright mate… I’m Dan… I hear you bowl some comedy leg spin!?”… Dan, and the rest of Cogenhoe Sunday Team would later learn I also didn’t like hitting the ball too hard and couldn’t throw. I enjoyed playing for this club, and a few Sundays later I found myself going out to bat with a kindred spirit, someone who shared my gnarly attitude to batsmanship. Returning fresh-faced from another highly academic year at University (his football medals go to prove this) was a chap called Goddard. What followed was something of a farce, designed entirely to wind-up Captain McLaughlin… We decided to have a “leaving competition”… The person with the best “leave” of a delivery would win (no prizes, just satisfaction of a job well done). I remember leaving something of a beauty which missed my off stump by a fag paper… Goddard nodded in appreciation from the other end. Not to be outdone, the next over he left a ball hitting middle stump half way up. To the confusion of the celebrating fielding side, Gareth left the field with bat raised and fist clenched – triumphant! “I’ve won… I’ve won!!!” He had won. And since that day he’s been one of my best mates.

Coming from a small community in Cornwall, I’ve always felt there is something special about representing a village. It was not something I expected to encounter when I arrived in Northampton, but representing Cogenhoe gave me as much pride and satisfaction as playing for my boyhood village club. I’m not from Cogenhoe, but men like Terry Tarpley and Roy Quennell are. Tarps, a true gent, and one of the first people to welcome me to the club, epitomises everything that is great and good about Cogenhoe. Then there’s the tireless Roy, his work for the club makes it possible to run out of superlatives… especially when it comes to his cake-making skills! Chaz and Pete on the ground, who consistently produce excellent wickets, the envy of many clubs, especially at our level. Without the efforts of off-field individuals who care deeply about the club there would be no cricket on a Saturday, we all know that, but I for one have perhaps shamefully always taken it for granted.

Mainly, it’s been about the players I’ve shared my Saturday afternoons with. For any team to be successful it’s important to enjoy each others company. Cogenhoe, like many other clubs I imagine, has an eclectic bunch of individuals who are brought together every summer in a shared love of cricket. The difference with Cogenhoe is that we share our winters together too! I’ve witnessed some performances from incredibly talented individuals. Jason Roberts, the finest of all batsmen. Dan McLauglin, definitely the most determined player I’ve ever known, supremely confident in his own abilities and with an enviously fantastic eye for the ball. Swanny, with his dual ability of hospitalising batsmen with the ball and then changing the game in a few overs with the bat. And not forgetting Gareth Goddard… who slid into a pile of dog s*** at Loddington! There are many more… too many to mention… you all know you’re brilliant! It will be strange to play a game of cricket next year and not have the umpire enquire how many times I’d used the lavatory that morning… or to report the latest goings-on in Plymouth… or simply to confirm I’m boring him to tears. It’s been a pleasure to bore you Malc! Only one wrong decision to me over all those years… caught behind against Wellingborough Town… I didn’t hit it… You’re adamant I did! Umpire’s decision is final.

To everyone who attended my surprise “Clearing Off” barbeque at Chateau Goddard, I thank you all. I’m not the most emotional of blokes, not many Cornishmen are, but to see so many people gathered for one evening is truly touching and a great honour. Thanks must mainly go to Gareth for hosting. I’m not sure I’m happy Northampton’s next generation are being tutored by a man who finds lying so easy, but he did an excellent job! Thanks to Roy for the framed reproduction of my maiden century scorecard. A lovely thought and now a constant momento of a day when I managed to hit it off the square occasionally. Also, many thanks to Matt Golby for producing a magnificent cake! I was batting with Matt when he scored his maiden century for the club… some magnificently powerful shots that day!

On my final game for Cogenhoe I was the oldest player in the team at 32. Most of the game was a leisurely end of season sit down for me, and I spent a large amount of time gazing out the changing room window at the scene before me. Paul Browning was preparing to go into bat, elegantly dressed, rolling his shirt sleeves up, sweeping hair out of his eyes because he’s too vain to wear a hat. Some mighty swipes of the bat and a beautifully clipped six… all the time praying the bowler doesn’t bowl a yorker as it’s “impossible to defend” as a tall man unaccustomed to his own height! Such twaddle. Conversely, it was a pleasure to witness a young man patiently accumilate runs and record his highest score for the club to date in a manner that augers well for the future. Adam’s innings and Ashley’s bowling show much promise of a bright future for Cogenhoe Cricket Club. If Brownbags can one day come to terms with his height, he might not be too bad either!

It’s been a pleasure to play at Cogenhoe and I will treasure the many memories for years to come.

If anyone wishes to brave the dark depths of Cornwall anytime, please look me up.

I wish everyone all the very best for the future,

Fondest farewell….

PJ

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