Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Heroes of the Jessop Tavern: The original Monte. Monte Lynch

I know what you're thinking. How can a man who made 3 England one day appearances, long before he joined Gloucestershire to wind down his career, count as a hero. Well, quite simply, because, in a nutshell, Monte Lynch summed up Gloucestershire in the mid 1990's. A player signed with no pretensions of developing. A  man signed to do a job for a couple of years, happy to steer a steady course through the mediocrity that was the bottom of half of the county championship.

But we loved Monte Lynch, a man who won England caps because when captain Mike Gatting was asked what he thought of Lynch, he thought that they had said lunch and thus gave a hearty, 'yes'!

Monte Lynch joined Gloucestershire the same year that I became a member for the first time, 1995. One of my first memories of going down to Nevil road was of Monte wandering around the boundary boards during the interval of a one day game and asking me and and some of mates to give him a couple of chuck downs. It wouldn't happen these days, although if captain Gidders is reading this, I am available to chuck down a few with a windball if he wants to get some confidence back.

His record for Gloucestershire was mediocre to say the least. 2000 runs, at 32, over 3 seasons. Good enough for many of the current team, granted, but for a man who spent most of his career scoring a thousand runs a season at Surrey, pretty poor.

Despite this the Jessop Tavern View has come to realise, in its slightly older age, that Monte represented the glory years of county cricket. The 1980's. The years when the very best players in the world played week in, week out on the county circuit. The years when Desmond Haynes could be heard bantering through the dressing room wall that he was going to give Malcolm Marshall "some drives, boy". Only for Marshall to chunter back that he had better bring a step ladder. These were the glorious years that the jessop Tavern View never got to see. Yet our memories of Monte scoring a quickfire 50 at Cheltenham batting on one leg, refusing to run, makes us realise that this was what it was like in the 80's. Great characters. Great cricket. Great fun.

For giving us a taste of this, Monte is our hero.

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