CHUMS, being what they are, seized the opportunity last week to recount to Alamgir Sheriyar the cautionary tale of one Herbert Amos Sedgwick. Until last Saturday, Sheriyar could have been expected to go through his career unaware of Sedgwick's existence.
Then, on his Championship debut for Leicestershire, Sheriyar took a hat-trick and the pair became everlastingly connected. Back in 1906 Bert Sedgwick had done likewise, playing for Yorkshire against Worcestershire at Hull.
Hardly had Sheriyar finished ripping through the Durham tail than the story was related. The cautionary bit followed. After that magnificent debut Sedgwick went on to play precisely two more matches for Yorkshire. He was only 23 at the time and although he appeared for Staffordshire from 1910 until 1931 he never played first-class cricket after 1906.
'Bert, oh yes, I've been told about him,' Sheriyar said last week, still somewhat dumbfounded by his own achievement. 'I'd like to think it won't happen to me. Who knows, it might be an inspiration to make sure it doesn't'
Sheriyar - he never uses his first name - is 20 and has put on hold an engineering degree course at Oxford Brookes University to pursue his cricketing career. He bowls left-arm at a lively pace and when he learns to produce consistent in-swing will certainly prove more incisive.
Durham may think him incisive enough, thank you. The first victim of his hat-trick was caught at the wicket after being knocked up by first slip, the second - 'I wasn't thinking of getting him out, just putting the ball in the right spot' - was also caught behind and the third clean bowled.
It was notable too, of course, for being the second hat-trick of the match, Vince Wells having got the first. Matches have had two hat-tricks before. Most famously, Albert Trott got two in the same innings for Middlesex in 1907. Five other bowlers have done it in both innings, though the game at Durham University seems to be the first in which two bowlers have managed it.
Sheriyar, it should perhaps be pointed out, did not entirely emulate Sedgwick. The Yorkshireman was making his first-class debut while the Leicestershire bowler had already played one match against Oxford University this season.
Neither matched Tony Pigott. He did not perform the hat-trick until his third match for Sussex in 1978. They were, however, his first wickets. 'You never think of things like this happening,' said Sheriyar. 'It's a dream come true. Now I've got to learn to bowl better.'
BEFORE the occasion became soiled, the talk during the Lord's Test was of minor but more pleasant matters, like which schools the players attended. The subject arose because both Michael Atherton and John Crawley were at Manchester Grammar. This led on to the last school to provide two England players (Willesden High School - Chris Lewis and Phillip DeFreitas) and from there all conversational routes led to Millfield School, Somerset.
It has yet to supply its second Test cricketer but it continues to produce county players at a rate more prolific than the West Indian fast-bowling factory.
The first was Graham Burgess in the mid-Sixties and there are no fewer than 17 old Millfield boys on the books of nine different counties this summer. The most successful of them has perhaps been Paul Terry, the school's only Test player, whose benefit is this season.
'It just has a very good reputation for sport. They have very good facilities and it's very competitive,' said the Hampshire batsman. 'You play high-class fixtures and it's a good way of coming through the system.'
Gerry Wilson, the coach at Millfield since 1959 (the school was founded in 1947 by the former Somerset captain R J O Meyer) confirmed that parents often sent children to Millfield because of their sporting prowess and its sporting reputation.
He still got a frisson of excitement when one of the former pupils joined the county circuit, thought most of them had gone as far in the game as they could but suspected that Peter Roebuck was unlucky to be uncapped. Millfield and the counties should continue to have a close bond. Wilson named three players from this year's side he thinks will play first-class cricket.
A LONG time ago a respected England captain was involved in an unsavoury incident in which he was seen to wag a finger at an umpire during a Test match.
The captain would later write in his autobiography: 'Everyone took a photograph of that little scene with a telescopic lens. Television recorded it for posterity and everyone, it seemed, said afterwards, 'You shouldn't talk to an umpire like that'. Like what?
'No one took the trouble to ask if, perhaps, a different interpretation could be placed upon the incident than the one which everyone seemed to assume was the obvious one.' Last week he might just have recalled that sentence and the enduring ability of cameras not to reveal the whole truth. The match was at Sydney in 1971, the apparently finger-wagging captain was one Raymond Illingworth.
MOST determined attempt of the week to mention the story of the moment despite its complete lack of relevance came in the television coverage of the NatWest Trophy tie between Glamorgan and Surrey. 'Well, ball-tampering is in the news but Tony Murphy has got those figures entirely by his own efforts.'
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