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Nightmare in Valentine’s Park

1994 – Evening Standard Cup vs Ilford

Blackheath’s fortunes last season swung on one game ...one over of one game to be more accurate. Displaying here the courage of a batsman facing the West Indian bowling attack, Omar Khan digs deep and recalls that horrific day.

It had all the markings of a great day. Dressed in blazers and ties we were focussed on the task in hand: to beat Ilford. It was Kent v Essex at Valentine’s Park. Top three in the Kent League and close to the last 32 in the Evening Standard Cup. After four years as captain I scented success.

Our band of supporters – Justine and Theresa and Charlotte – munched on chicken drumsticks, crisps, strawberries and cream, while watching their beloved boyfriends Badgers, Fiery Frithers and I, who were batting for the club in the midday sun.

Chasing 234 – ish Badger and Frithers batting superbly, putting on close to 150 in even time. Having lost Swaddy and Frithers, both Frithers and Badger gave thier wickets away looking set for centuries a piece. I strolled out with an air of confidence: five wickets in hand, 40 runs to win in around 10 overs.

Little did we know what was to happen in the last over. With the scores level I could have blocked that last over to win with fewer wickets down. But the series of events in this disastrous over defied belief.

1st Ball              Khan bowled Khan – Not the greatest shot I have ever played !

2nd Ball             Dot...Blocked by Milroy (Cruze), the great smiler. Milroy keeps smiling.

3rd Ball             Weasel run out – Weasel not smiling !

4th Ball             Watty run out – Out by yards. Enter Gilly, the Erith dinosaur. Milroy keeps smiling.

5th Ball             Dot...Gilly blocks his first ball. At this stage everyone was bewildered and shocked.

6th Ball             Gilly swings his Gray Nicholls wardrobe to no avail...Milroy kept smiling.

The Ilford team went spare. They had won an incredible game. A chap called Gul Khan bowled the last over. How I wish I had been the victorious Khan that day.....It was a complete nightmare.....

(Written by Omar Khan - reproduced from the 1995 Cricket Week Programme – ed)