David Gower, Severn Theatre, Shrewsbury - review
Never meet your heroes, the saying goes. Really?
Even one who continues to deliver with style and eloquence more than 25 years on from the end of his career as an international cricketer?
David Gower batted in an easy, apparently effortless manner and displayed the same traits in entertaining a sell-out audience at Shrewsbury’s Severn Theatre on Wednesday.
No need with him for a trusted aide to be there feeding rehearsed questions. Gower walked on stage alone, walked off to rousing applause and had us in the palms of those talented hands for two hours in between.
The ‘journey’ – born in Kent, formative years in East Africa, signed by Leicestershire, capped by England, long-time front-man on Sky Sports cricket coverage – was modestly and humorously told.
But it’s the anecdotes that make or break such renditions and Gower reminded us that only some of what goes on on tour stays on tour.
The man who once responded to criticism about his appearance by turning up on match day in a dinner suit, gave a little up about – among many others – Shane Warne, Malcolm Marshall, Graham Gooch, Allan Lamb and Sir Ian Botham, or Sirr Hosis as his commentary box colleagues call him in light of his refuelling habits.
There was also full disclosure about the time Gower and team-mate John Morris were fined the maximum £1,000 after donning Biggles gear in Queensland and flying low over the ground where England were playing a warm-up match.
“117 Tests, 8,231 runs….and all you get remembered for is a flight in a bloody Tiger Moth,” he smiled.
The left-hander recalled, in character, how John Arlott had used the phrase ‘A princely entrance to Test cricket’ to describe how he pulled the first ball of his debut in 1978 for four.
His run total, including Ashes success as a skipper and home and away victories as a player, briefly made him the country’s all-time time leading scorer in Tests but always there was the feeling in the game that he might have achieved even more with his gifts.
He is nevertheless still touring and still pleasing the crowds.
By David Instone