Everyone needs something to get them through the working day. For some it is simply the satisfaction of knowing that they are the best at what they do. For others, it is the thought of the illicit moments that they can snatch with another member of staff, doing something that they shouldn’t. And then there are sporting events. These assume a disproportionate importance within the humdrum routine of the workplace. They may only be the same football match that everyone else in the country is getting excited over, but more often they are a ‘grudge’ match against an important client, supplier or whatever you wish to call them.
Oddbins was no different. There was one big match per year, against Westons Cider in Much Marcle, Gloucestershire. For weeks in our store there was talk of little else. I was keen to play, Hal the store manager also wanted to take part and even Paul, the manager of the Wilmslow store and someone we thought of as a bit of an old woman not only wanted to go, but offered to drive us.
And so it was that, early one Sunday morning, I found myself travelling with two people I didn’t think much of to play in a cricket match many miles from where I lived and worked.
Imagine my surprise, then, when we parked and the next car to pull up contained two people I had worked with in my McDonald’s days – one of whom I had been at school with since the age of 11, too. Oddly enough, I’ve not seen Marc or Dave since that day.
As for the game, well, we were quite badly sabotaged by the large barrel of cider that our hosts had so kindly provided and placed by the boundary edge. I can honestly say that it is the only time that I have been batting and seen three balls coming towards me (often I can’t even see one). We were so badly thrashed that, in order to fill up the time, we played a second game. We almost won that one. I remember running Hal out in the last over in order to get Marc in to bat, as we needed nine to win off about three balls. That didn’t work, either.
Even so, it was a fun day out, I got to catch up with a couple of old friends. And then all hell let loose at work a couple of days later.