Test Match Cricket

Chris Owen – Test Match Cricket (Peter Pan Playthings, 1980)

Chris OwenChris is a PR bod specialising in technology and media companies, with a passion for storytelling. Outside of work he writes for CALMzine, a leading charity magazine which aims to tackle the taboo around male mental health. He also writes for the Telegraph Blogs and has done a few pieces for Wired.co.uk.

Chris has also worked with Bletchley Park for a few years and is a passionate supporter of the Trust – most recently co-creating the Alan Turing Monopoly Board. In his toy story Chris recalls how his dream of playing at Lords was realised, albeit in miniature.

Test Match Cricket by Chris Owen

Test Match Cricket

Not Just Any Old Test Match

I initially spent the first half of my youth playing Subbuteo, albeit badly and as I was to find out, wrongly – my brother and I didn’t ‘flick to kick’ and instead held the players’ heads and scooped the ball forward; tell you what, you can get a cracking five inch screamer into the top corner that way. It did lend itself to power and style, if also to the players’ heads snapping off and legs breaking quicker than Casiraghi’s.

In a radical move away from football, I picked up Test Match Cricket and a new passion was born.

Being a piss poor cricketer in real life, (ducking, screaming away from anything vaguely close to pace while in bat; bowling like a marmoset; and unable to catch if it’s sunny), TMC was a boon to my hopes and dreams of playing at Lords – albeit Lords on the Landing.

My best friend Nathan and I took the ‘Test Match’ element seriously. We had squads, with individual names and abilities, be it Kylie Minogue and her fierce off-drive, Peter Purvis and his devilish spin, or Transit Van Morrison and his ability to get a wicket shattering late swing to his deliveries. The players on the teamsheet (and their individual skillsets and nuances) got inside our heads and once Purvis came to the other end, well my batsmen went to jelly – even the usually reliable Shep, and he’d let loose a cover drive into the grateful arms (or rather, ‘grateful open wide legs’) of someone in the outfield.

We managed to create different bowling techniques through dropping the ball higher into the bowler’s arm at the top of the shute, or by spinning it before dropping it – thus resulting in either batsman-beating spin or an enormous wide. We played for hours – clocking up batting averages, bowling figures and even a hall of fame. Tears were almost shed when Nathan decided to retire Purvis and he bowled his last over – a wicket maiden if memory serves.

Nathan is now a proud father and one who, I hope, will one day instil the fear of a late leg break from David Bowie into his youngest son. My TMC is in the loft awaiting its re-emergence to a rapturous welcome, and my own role at Ultra Competitive Dad.

You can follow Chris on Twitter and if you would like to share your toy story, let me know @stuartwitts.

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