Cricket: The day when Atherton bowled over the French
Friday 03 October 1997
Henry Blofeld, in Reims, witnessed the upset.
While it may not have been a victory to rank with those enjoyed by the England rugby union team at the Parc des Princes in recent years, a win over the French in any circumstances is a treasured moment for any English captain. For Michael Atherton, whose successes overseas with his England cricketers have been rather limited, it must have been a very special occasion.
Atherton was leading a team of six England players past and present in a friendly match here. If it had been cricket, Atherton's side would no doubt have been favourites, but this was the quintessentially French sport of boules - and the host team included their national captain.
The match had been organised in aid of Atherton's benefit year. His team comprised Graham Gooch, Nasser Hussain, Mark Ilott, John Stephenson and Derek Pringle, the Independent's cricket correspondent.
The outcome of a tight contest rested on a final throw by England's captain. Atherton walked up to the throwing line, his face marked by that characteristic nervous smile, and confidently delivered his final boule. It landed within three inches of the jack to earn his team a famous victory.
Latest in Sport
Chelsea victory parade: Chelsea mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
Liverpool's 2005 Champions League-winning side: From Jerzy Dudek to Vladimir Smicer - where are they now?
Jack Wilshere's final-day strike wins Match of the Day's Goal of the Season award after Arsenal fans hijack vote
Jurgen Klopp favourite to replace Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool if he's sacked
Young Preston fan has play-off hero Jermaine Beckford's shirt stolen from him at Wembley - which then appears for sale on Gumtree
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...