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
Phil Jagielka: I may never win back England place, says Everton defender
Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
Rio Ferdinand mocks Jamie Carragher's Liverpudlian accent... but Liverpool man hits back at Londoner
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Comment: Alan Pardew is just a stooge for Mike Ashley who runs Newcastle like his shops – cheap foreign imports and a tame manager
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...