Stephen Brenkley: My chair collapsed – as did the press conference, into giggles


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The Independent Online

All was right with the world. Three weeks at home following the final debacle of England's winter in Bangladesh had refreshed the tubes and led to a sense of tingling anticipation. The drive up to Aberdeen from Barnard Castle the day before had been extremely pleasant.

Upon entering Mannofield this morning the tingle only increased. The sun was out and the ground was putting on its party clothes. Old reporting chums arrived with a similar sense of expectation and then the England players, some old, some new, turned up. Affability was the order of the day.

But how this chipper start was soon to be disrupted. The time had arrived for the captain's statutory press conference. My tape recorder, I gathered as I put it down, had ceased to function. I decided to rely on the trusty shorthand when in walked England's captain.

Stranded at the front of the conference, unable to resume my seat, I grabbed a chair from beside where he was to sit and rushed with it to the side of the briefing tent about five yards away.

Tim Abraham of Sky Sports began the interrogation as he often does and I sat down, slumping casually as usual (I like to imagine Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday, others see only Shrek in Shrek 1, 2 and 3). The plastic chair suddenly fell from underneath me, two legs splintering, and I was prone on the ground.

The press conference also collapsed, into fits of giggles, led by the England captain, who was presumably merely stifling his grave concern at this unfortunate turn of events. Two young colleagues helped me to my feet. Abraham busked it as did the captain, beautifully. "I hope we can start with a crash, bang, wallop," he said. For England and The Independent's cricket correspondent the summer can only get better.