I believe the adverts on the TV and radio say something along the lines of ‘Those who can, teach’. What those adverts might not tell you though is that not all those teachers can do absolutely everything but when that’s the case, they give it a good go anyway. This couldn’t be more true of the Copthorne staff cricket team on Tuesday evening as they put in a thrilling performance to beat arch rivals Cottesmore in Mr Coulson’s last game after a 22 year stint. He was to be sent off in style.

As always, Copthorne took to the field first and opened the bowling with the school’s cricket supremo, Mr Glaysher. His pace caused early problems for Cottesmore’s opening pair but sometimes you can be just ‘too good’ and the ball was edged or missed the stumps by a matter of centimetres. From the other end an entirely different proposition. Chef Mike, perhaps playing in his first cricket game in a fair while and after serving up a few pies, would take the first wicket of the day. I’ve heard teaching being described as ‘like having a hundred balls thrown at you at once and someone just saying ‘Catch’!’  For Mr Gallagher however, he only had to concentrate on one hard cricket ball being hit at hit at a fair pace. Whilst his knees trembled in fear he somehow clung on to the opportunity much to the delight (and surprise!) of the rest of the team.

Mr Minnikin, after having his pockets checked for rogue pieces of sandpaper, was next to try his luck at bowling. After a few looseners, he picked up his first wicket of an eventual three during the evening. A straight delivery was missed and cleaned up the stumps to leave Cottesmore two down. The opposition opener played the ball around nicely and was eventually retired for 25 which brought in Cottesmore’s head honcho, The Headmaster. Whilst he played some nice shots, Mr Minnikin would get his second wicket as the ball was hit in the air, Mr Coulson glided across the turf like a (a much younger) gazelle to take the catch. His final wicket would be another catch as Cottesmore started to struggle a little.

Mr Coulson would try and show the rest of his colleagues how it’s done but would have his afternoon slightly ruined by Mr Clark as the ball was sent high into the sky. The feet were set, the hands were out, the foot slipped, the body fell to the floor and the ball plonked to the floor next to the body in an inelegant mess as the Cottesmore Headsmaster would retire on 25. Mr Smith bowled well with his tricky left armers as the next batsmen struggled to score runs. Mr Carrick, next year’s new Geography teacher, did his chances no harm of getting a recall next year as he bowled nicely but without success as the innings drew to a close with Mr Clark bowling the final over to leave Cottesmore with a total of 99 leaving Copthorne a nice round target of 100 to win the game.

Copthorne have had a variety of gap students showing off their cricket skills over the past few years. Some good, some bad and some who will hopefully never have the chance to grace a cricket field ever again. Mr Minnikin however, will most certainly be given the opportunity to play again. After a fantastic innings were he had to retire on 25, he perhaps should be brought back from Australia once a year for this very game. Mr Lloyd played well before injury struck and he was soon bowled out, the only real blip of the evening. Mr Gallagher, with his hands still stinging from his earlier wonder catch, showed that he has some skill with a bat in his hand. Like Mr Minnikin, he too hit the ball to all areas of the ground before eventually being dismissed after trying to hit one too many shots to the boundary.

Mr B was next to bat and he would remain unbeaten at the end of the game in what could only  be described as a somewhat stubborn innings. Mr Pinnock, one of the few Copthorne staff to play any sort of cricket, showed us all how it should be done as he played some nice shots before retiring himself to give Copthorne’s cricket supremo, Mr Glaysher, a go at winning the game as 25 were needed off just three more overs.

After hearing air raid sirens at Copthorne this week as Year 6 had a World War Two day they were needed again on Tuesday evening as Mr Glaysher deposited three or four cricket ball bombs onto the Pre Prep roof. With just one needed off the final over Mr Glaysher won the game in style as yet another ball was smashed back over the bowler’s head for a huge six.

After the game, Mr Coulson was presented with a school cricket cap with his initials embroidered into the back. A just reward for all his years working tirelessly for Copthorne cricket and something he can treasure forever.

Well done to all the Copthorne staff who played as we proved that perhaps we can play cricket after all!

Team: Mr Coulson, Mr Glaysher, Mr Clark, Mr Minnikin, Mr Gallagher, Mr B, Chef Mike, Mr Lloyd, Mr Carrick, Mr Pinnock, Mr Smith.

Chris Clark