This Cricket World Cup Final was the greatest of all time, and we’ll all remember where we were that day - but for the Woodpeckers Cricket Club, and from some of our players’ perspective, it was particularly poignant.
Gavin Scovell holds numerous Woodpecker batting records including Most Hundreds (28) and Highest Score (184*). Gav was the TV director for the pictures going out to the entire world at Lord’s, his country’s HQ and his MCC club. England being in the final turned his lifetime experience into a dream and the subsequent drama into a fantasy of which he could have only dreamed. It was all the more poignant that our surprise opponents were New Zealand where Gav had lived and worked: setting up a business with Martin Crowe, the legendary Kiwi bat and inventor of Twenty20’s ancestor “Cricket Max”. Many of his best friends come from New Zealand too. His international crew made few mistakes, and in the semi and final, Gav and his team nailed the coverage, with no missed-cuts, and a brilliant programme going out to the world of cricket lovers. They gave a fantastic shot-by-shot 360 degree depiction of the drama unfolding to viewers all over the world.
Gav is a product of two amazing and dedicated people from very disparate industries. His father, Brian is the only man to be chairman of both the Football and Cricket Writers’ association and a dedicated journalist and writer for sixty years. Gav’s mother Audrey was a passionate and successful artist and Art Teacher, her work exhibited by the Royal Academy of Art for 11 years. She also loving looking after a large family, including her lovely mother-of-nine, Lucy. Gav has broken the mould of Cricket Directing as he is a blend of his parents’ expertise in great sports journalism and wonderful artistic interpretation.
His production partner is Jo Lewis, daughter of England great Tony, and they make a perfect team, working with Sunset + Vine, who won two Baftas for cricket coverage including the greatest series, Ashes 2005. Congratulations Gav on living your dream and to you and the crew for the amazing TV coverage we all enjoyed. In the breathless climax, third umpire Rod Tucker (who had received replays through six sensational weeks) called the booth after the fantastic diving forward catch of Lockie Ferguson, for the final crucial replay: Rather than asking angle by angle, he knew Gav and his team would again deliver, so said..“Just gimme everything you’ve got Gav”.
Gav and my dad worked together at Associated sharing a passion for sports, and Audrey and my mum, Barbara were best friends as their uproarious and hilarious laughter could be heard wherever they went.My greatest memory of my father is a summer’s day in our living room in College Road, Dulwich, when Colin had constructed a tower of televisions. The 28” Sony Trinitron had the Open Golf, the 23 inch from his bedroom had the Ashes Test, and balancing precariously on top of the tower, his 14 inch B&W showing the King George VIII from Ascot. At any point, he would cry ‘Patrick - Volume Racing!!’ and I was required to leap up and adjust the controls accordingly.
So my life and a lot of my family life is partly defined by a shared obsession with sport. England only winning one World Cup in the major team sports of cricket, football and rugby union in my entire lifetime has always been a massive personal regret, and I find it particularly galling that the only time we won a football world cup I was a 6 month foetus…I imagine myself jumping up and down in the womb as Hurst surged forward. My generation and I have endured a lifetime of near-misses for fifty years with only the Rugby World Cup of 2003 occupying the trophy cabinet.
Gav was in the Director’s chair facing a massive bank of Television, and huge team of Cameramen, Commentators, Producers and VT Ops. Treas ( Pecker Treasurer - aka Meddy/Chips) and I were together in the Upper Tier of the Tavern Stand, with a fantastic view of the action and cousin Doby (Pecker multiple centurion and reliable Mid-Off) a few rows in front. As Treas sat down, he reminded me we had watched the glorious 2003 RWC Final triumph together, and on that occasion, only two men scored points for England: ‘Jonny’ Wilkinson and ‘Jason’ Robinson… and who was opening the batting for us today? ‘Jonny’ Bairstow and ‘Jason’ Roy…the omens seemed strong. though a ten wicket victory seemed unlikely.
Sadiq Khan was very excited just behind us, and in his party was Seb Salter, useful leg-spinner and old school-mate of Doby’s, who had also worked with me. England bowled and fielded well to restrict the Kiwis to 241, Woakes opening well again with Archer, north-eastern legend and team mascot Liam ‘Plunky’ Plunkett chipping in again with three wickets. It was nice that two 27 year old batters who’d struggled through the tournament Henry Nichols and Tom Latham stood up with solid scores for the Kiwis
At lunch our group of Peckers met on the Nursery Lawn and there was an air of optimism. Charlie ’Shylock’ Young, and Motty and Gemotty, Jeffers and Shazadi were also there and we watched on the big screen as the first ball of our inning thudded into Roy’s pads, what looked to me plumb in front. Umpire’s call saved us and we hurried back to the seats. As I’d stayed sober for the semi-final due to my impending MC duties for Treas’ wedding the next day - literally Sober in a Blazer in the noisiest part of the Hollies stand with Horse hammered next to me and the crowd going more berserk than any crowd I’d ever experienced. So at Lords I was rather thirsty for some Ale, Viognier and Pimms. The crowd around us were mainly Indian with some English and a few other internationals, and it became eerily quiet as wickets fell and runs dried up, though some groups of Kiwis were making a lot of noise, cheering dot ball after dot ball as England struggled to get back in the game. Myself and another chap tried to get the support going (some Hindi phrases helping) and Ben Stokes rewarded us by playing a fantastic and disciplined innings to get us back in the game, much like he had when we’d been in trouble against Sri Lanka and Australia
The last few overs and super overs were spent in a dreamlike state, knowing you are in the middle of one of the greatest sporting occasions of all-time . We needed 15 off four balls…and chances looked bleakn and then a massive six, a deflection for six .. That over, and both super overs went for exactly 15 runs, and the game was tied twice,…as that final throw came in we surged forward and I found myself at the front of the stand going crazy in celebration, embracing the London Mayor. (There’s a paragraph I never imagined writing)
One tinge of regret was that I would have loved it to not be New Zealand: they are a great bunch of people, who have (like us) suffered gallant World Cup failures over the years. On Sunday they bowled and fielded in Herculean fashion with two courageous diving-forward catches, and suffered bad luck through random tie-break rules, lbws, deflections, overthrow interpretations and man of the match being a Kiwi. They bore it with the humility you would expect from the Kiwis and got a nice consolation winning the Netball World Cup in Liverpool this weekend. England were rewarded for the hard work and investment over the last four years, and for being the best and most exciting England one-day team in living history. For that and our long-suffering World Cup past, we all really deserve this magnificent achievement.