“ARE them thine?”
So enquired Fred Trueman of the 19-year-old Geoff Cope before Cope’s first-class debut for Yorkshire against Hampshire at Bradford in 1966.
Cope, who had got to the ground before anyone else, had got changed and left his suit, shirt and tie all rolled up and scattered in the dressing room, along with a pair of shoes.
“Yes, they are, Mr Trueman,” he said.
Trueman continued: “Tha sees that up there, lad… It’s been my peg for the last 15 years and, if tha think I’m changing for thee, tha’s another think comin’. You may borrow Raymond’s for this match.’”
“I was bricking myself,” recalls Cope in his new book packed with wonderful anecdotes.
“I went to pick my clothes up… I started hanging them up on the peg and, as I turned round, Fred’s stood there, and he put his arm round me: ‘Don’t you worry, little sunshine, your Uncle Fred will look after you’.”
It was not finished yet...
In walked Brian Close.
Espying Cope, he observed: “Ah, so you’re with us today.”
“Right,” said Close. “I know you can bat a bit and I know you can bowl a bit, but can you bloody well field?”
“I’ll do my best.”
“You’ll do more than that.”
As Trueman might have said: “Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Yorkshire cricket, sunshine.”