As a 14-year-old, I remember captaining my school cricket team. One evening, we played a cup game at Great Horton CC in Bradford. I can’t recall which school we played against, but I remember the match for two different reasons. Our team bowled first, and it was the only time I ever took a hat-trick. All three wickets were caught by the same player fielding at deep mid-off, so I’m not sure if I can claim a significant amount of credit as a feat of bowling knowing that I had been whacked to the edge of the field on three separate occasions. That is not, however, the main reason why I remembered this match.
I was one of the two opening batsmen, and I played a wild shot that resulted in my dismissal for a very low score. I trudged back to the clubhouse where the rest of the team were sitting outside watching the match. There was no applause, no words of consolation and barely even an acknowledgement of my short-lived innings. As I walked past my teammates and headed for the changing room, the teacher in charge said, “Where do you think you’re going?” I replied that I was just going to take my pads off and change my shoes.
Feeling rather dejected and a little embarrassed at my poor performance with the bat, I sat myself down in an empty changing room. Something caught my eye. Underneath the bench opposite me, I saw a rolled up magazine. I wandered over to investigate further and unfurled it to reveal the title “Razzle”. Yes, it was the first time I had ever encountered a ‘porno’ magazine. I had honestly never seen any images like those I saw that evening. This was already starting to feel like a more exciting world. My eyes opened ever-wider in wonderment as I (literally) peeled open each page in the magazine.
It’s amazing how quickly 20 minutes go by, and I quickly came to my senses. I rolled the magazine up and returned it exactly where I had found it before leaving the clubhouse and joining my teammates outside. The teacher shouted across, “What have you been doing?” I shouted back, “Taking my pads off!” He replied, and I quote, “You’re still fuckin’ wearing ‘em!!”