Paul Collingwood excelled at all those aspects of cricket which are undervalued; all the ones that are hard to measure; stuff like fielding and unearthing singles that have no right to be taken.
Because of this, he was one of our heroes when he retired from international cricket and he’s not exactly dropped in our estimation since then, playing on for Durham through thick and thin and thinner and thinner still. Now he’s retiring completely.
We’ve nothing left to say about Colly’s cricket. We instead want to quickly talk about a photo that has gnawed away at us ever since it was taken back in 2016. There is something about the scene that is so perfect it almost brings us to tears.
After playing a game against Lancashire at Southport and Birkdale CC, Collingwood’s Durham stayed behind for a bit and played a knockabout game with a tennis ball with a few kids on the outfield. Colly was umpire.
The players had a few beers, the wicket was a chair, the kids got Ben Stokes out and the whole thing took place on the kind of long summer evening you can only ever really get in the UK.
It is, to our eyes, idyllic, and it will have meant THE WORLD to the kids involved. “It was quite difficult to get them to sleep that night,” one of the boys’ dads told the Southport Visiter at the time.
We don’t think it’s a coincidence that Paul Collingwood was involved in this and while we can’t really put what that means into words, in many ways it seems to sum up the man so we’re just going to leave it at that.
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