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Howzat for a day out Dad?

12 October 2018

HAD supporter Chris Riley proved to be the perfect Dad when he donated two test match tickets to his son James.

Chris bid for tickets to see England play India at the Oval at last year's HAD charity golf day at Stocks. Here's James' report of his special September day out...

I had the pleasure of receiving two tickets to the final England versus India test at the Oval from my father, Chris.

When I first looked up the test I thought I may have the chance to witness the first day of a deciding test in a competitive series against one of the world’s best teams. However despite each of the four previous matches having opportunities for both sides to win England had been ruthless in taking advantage of their chances.

Despite this I was very much looking forward to seeing a competitive game but at the end of the fourth test match an announcement made the final test much more significant in the history of English cricket. It was to be Alastair Cook’s last test. He had played 158 consecutive tests, made 32 centuries and is England’s highest ever run scorer with 12,254.

A legend was exiting the game and I was lucky enough to witness part of it. With a stroke of luck England won the toss and I was able to join the whole ground in a standing ovation as Cook walked through a guard of honour to the wicket. The sun shone and as seen in the picture a functional souvenir had to be purchased to avoid being red faced from the sun.

India bowled incredibly tightly limiting the runs scored by England but a partnership between Cook and Moeen Ali blossomed but eventually Cook fell for 71, not quite the dream test to leave on but he was to get his wish in the second innings. The runs may not have flowed but the beers certainly did!

The Indian fans began to find their voice in the evening sessions and rightly so as they took a flurry of late wickets to leave England 198-7 at close, India were in a strong position going into day two. My friend Joe Gardner came down from Manchester to watch the match and we had a brilliant time!

I am so glad the money was raised for such an excellent cause. Many thanks to Nick Gilbert for kindly providing the tickets.