Monday, November 20, 2006

Old VHS still stands the test

Surrey's announcement on Friday that Australian Matthew Nicholson would be one of the club's overseas players next year left me wondering where I had heard the name before. Okay, he played for Northants last season but it was something more long-term than that.

It's frantic times in the Nutley household at the moment. Moving house just before an Ashes trip has meant boxes everywhere, keeping tabs on the passport and... and then it hit me. Just as a bunch of old VHS tapes were about to get the chop, I saw one marked 'Eng/Aus '98 Melbourne, 3 Musketeers, You Only Live Twice'. It had to be Christmas.

That 4th Test is one of the great Ashes games. With Channel 9's "Got 'im, amaaazing" commentary it had everything: tons from Stewie and Steve Waugh; a blinding Mark Ramprakash catch with warpath celebration to match; Alan Mullaly hitting Glenn McGrath for consecutive boundaries; an inspired Darren Gough and Dean Headley's finest moment in an England shirt (6 for 60).

It boiled down to Australia needing just 175 to win and the now-fading VHS quality still shows the tension of that last session. Steve Waugh kept running out of partners but you knew, even with a raucous Barmy Army, the home side could still creep home. That is until until Deadly Headley gave England a 12-run victory.

Oh, and Nicholson took four wickets in the match. Unfortunately it was his only Test but he had played his part in a thriller.